After four long years, the great Aosoth are finally back with V: The Inside Scriptures. And I have been waiting very eagerly for them.
With their fourth album, IV: An Arrow in Heart (thank god Satan for bands who number their albums), these stalwarts of the French Black Metal scene created quite possibly one of the top Black Metal albums, let alone Heavy Metal albums of 2013. And the album still sounds fresh four years on. So with an album cover, depicting another arrow in the heart of another angel (albeit with less nipples and now blonde hair), were we getting a continuation?
The answer is no, not really. V is clearly Aosoth, and if you’ve been listening to them for some time now, from the first riff of A Heart to Judge you will know it is them. But the album is weird, and it is mixed and mastered differently from its predecessor. But there’s something else. There’s more ferocity, but in an odd way less heaviness than its predecessor IV. But don’t think for a moment that darkness has dissipated.
While IV felt like you being submerged in the depths of hell, its successor V feels more like the purgatory you experience before you’re plunged into hell. Then add to that a large swarm of bees constantly buzzing and stinging you. One might even argue the purgatory might be scarier than the end place. The feeling unknowingness, loss and desolation is well and truly established on this album. For a very clear example of what I mean, listen to the 2nd track Her Feet Upon The Earth, Blooming The Fruits Of Blood.
V also veers slightly further away from the thrash- and death-metal influences found on IV, and their newer sound is clearly established by the 3rd and title track The Inside Scriptures. It’s a slower, more brooding track, but really stands out in album with 6 depressingly good songs. The track also introduces that weird whinging/whining/bees stinging you to death riff, which is in bits on the other tracks. The final 3 tracks also pull the album as far away from the hit that was its predecessor, without compromising on the quality. Contaminating All Tongues is a roller coaster of the typical Aosoth riffing, bile-spewing vocals and head-bashing drumming that changes pace all over.
I never thought Aosoth could top IV: An Arrow in Heart, and I did think the same upon the first few spins. But as with all great, genre-pushing releases, it takes a while to really appreciate it. It is still growing on me, but V is absolutely killer. Even if I were to be stuck in purgatory, tortured till the end of days, the one respite would be this album playing in loop in the background.
Standout tracks: Her Feet Upon The Earth, Blooming The Fruits Of Blood, The Inside Scriptures, and Contaminating All Tongues
*V: The Inside Scriptures releases on November 17th, 2017, on Agonia Records. Pre-order at: https://agoniarecords.bandcamp.com/album/v-the-inside-scriptures