Aosoth: Ashes of Angels

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Aosoth: Ashes of Angels
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Aosoth: Ashes of Angels
Black Metal
Agonia Records
October 19th, 2009
Release length: 45:37
Myspace
Finally making it’s way Stateside in 2010 is the second full-length release by French Black Metal band Aosoth entitled Ashes Of Angels. While this release isn’t too far from the standard structure of Black Metal releases, there’s just some elements about the music presented on here that really causes this release to stand out amongst the cluster of recent offerings of this style in the past year, giving off more of a professional feel then that of a band who just wants to sound as cold and grim as possible while recording in what could possibly be one of the band member’s mother’s bathroom. But, still, there are some gripes to be found throughout this release.

Musically, the album is phenomenal. While keeping with the standards of Black Metal, much of the music on here seems to be a little on the Ambient, and even Groove side of Metal. This all becomes pretty obvious around the track “Path of Twisted Light”, which really gives off a feel as if this were a Meshuggah inspired band performing Black Metal, and it is really an interesting combination to listen to. This sound carries over throughout various tracks, but isn’t all there is to it. Plenty of the material on here is blistering and grim, such as “Embrace And Enlightment” and “Summon The Dead”, which feature some intense blast beats mixed in with moments of atmospheric Groove guitar chords, or just your average Black Metal sounds that just hammer away at your skull.

But, the real problem with the album is the recording quality. Given the label the band is on happens to be a smaller, newer label, you can’t expect much, but there are times where you can seriously hear some issues. The vocals come off a bit too low, almost as if they are done by a background vocalist because the main vocalist failed to show to the recording sessions. They become even harder to hear when they go from being shouted throughout the album, to being changed to a different, more confirmed Black Metal rhaspy tone with an echo, just making them sound as if they are noise. This is mostly noticed on the track “Cries Out Of Heaven”, which has the music so loud over these vocals that sometimes you won’t even pick up on them unless you actually pay attention. The drum’s qualities in the recording are also a little rough, as some cymbols crash right in, and other’s seem to be washed out when they are played for extended period of time.

Had there been a better production job on Ashes Of Angels, this album really would have been a lot better then what it is. Musically, the album is amazing and really stands out against the surge of releases in the Black Metal field, and offers something a little different for fans to check out. If you can look past some of the errors that appear through the release thanks to the production used on the album, then you’ll find this an album you can listen to from start to finish without it getting old or repetative, as well as play it plenty of times before it even starts to collect the slightest trace of dust, making this a great album to end 2009 with in some areas, and a very welcome kick off to the States in 2010.

01. Songs Without Lungs – 3:20
02. Ashes of Angels – 4:32
03. Path of Twisted Light – 5:46
04. Embrace and Enlightment – 3:51
05. Teaching/Erasing – 4:36
06. Summon the Dead – 4:37
07. Cries Out the Heaven – 5:28
08. Communion Through Pain – 4:19
09. Banished – 4:57
10. Inner War (Antaeus cover) – 4:11
Overall Score: 5.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Agonia Records.