An invidious black consumption to ravage and douse any well -lit emotional template and hope fuelled presence, IV: Arrow In Heart the new album from French metallers Aosoth is a threatening and deeply rewarding violation. Viciously intimidating and at times almost too much of a challenge to listen to, the caustic and vengeful nineties death metal cored sounds of the band leave no sense, emotion, or synapse free of brutal provocation, and a thoroughly pleasing and rewarding experience it is.
The band was formed in 2002 as a side project of black metal grinders Antaeus, which took on stronger purpose when the main band stepped back from performing live. Through their previous three albums the band has earned an immense recognition and acclaim for their invasive sounds and within the previous year has played selected shows with the likes of Watain, Shining, Ondskapt, Nehëmah, Farsot, Enthroned, Hell Militia, Blacklodge, Heretic, and more, their fourth album now stepping forth via Agonia Records to lay waste to senses and emotive bodies. It is a darker more virulent malevolence from Aosoth which the band itself commented on with “We’ve spent such a huge amount of time on defining a darker identity, yet open to a wider range of influences. Those tracks still haunt us, as delivering them was a painful and excruciating experience, and left some of us even physically wounded… which gives that album even more of a spiritual value, as it involved a form of sacrifice. This fourth full-length release is without a doubt a great step forward for us in term of music writing, and sound.” Listening to its hateful beauty it is ready to receive the same sacrifice from the listener, something which is deserved and more than generous in return.
An Arrow in Heart erodes the senses from its first insidious note, the track alone raising the threshold of endurance and passion. It is a visceral encounter, though that applies across the whole release, which twists the senses into a wasted defenceless recipient of the decayed breath and light extinguishing punishment. The sonic veining is a groove to ignite ardour and sear flesh whilst the roaming soon ravaging black course of the song, is a torrent of aural spite and crafted violent invention.
Through the following One With The Prince With A Thousand Enemies and Temple of Knowledge, the band increase the desolation overwhelming the emotions with an intrusive air whilst mutually igniting greater ardour and addictive appetite for their contagious rabid grooves and acid coated melodic maliciousness. The first of the pair shifts and exposes every weakness in the psyche and emotions through continually twisting intensity and gait whilst the second finds a further furnace of intense ferocity and invention to crave and obliterate the senses with. Each song on the album, is rife with riveting imagination and equally mesmeric enterprise but Aosoth make you work and suffer for it with only numerous journeys through its mordant intent the only way to devour it all.
Under The Nails and Fingertips continues the testing nasty transgressions with again the guitars and bass painting a plaintive narrative to extinguish any lingering corner of light or peace whilst the two parts of Broken Dialogue offer an individual confrontation which is cinematic in their make-up and carnally greedy in their creativity. The first part sets a debris strewn emotive collapse whilst the second is a toxic corruption, the droning and exhausting severity placed upon the ear permanently scarring.
Ritual Marks Of Penitence closes off the album with its finest moment, the again drone driven sounds and chaining rhythms demanding subservience whilst they feed and suck senses and passions dry yet leave them desperate for much more of the insurgent beauty and magnetic invention. With a production as throughout the album, which allows the skilled craft of the members to stake their claim on the listener within the ferocious intensity, song and album is a masterful piece of mental and physical cruelty and very deeply satisfying.
Whether you can actually truly enjoy an album like IV: Arrow In Heart is debatable but the desire to frequently allow its blistering hellacious touch upon the body is undoubted.
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