By this point anybody who knows anything at all about Black Metal should be more than familiar with the workings of France’s, “Aosoth.” With a vocal assault spearheaded by none other than Mr. MkM (also of Antaeus) it’s easy to expect an all-out assault. Not necessarily so. If you’ve paid attention to the band as of late, they’ve taken a deliberately more technical and complex approach to their art. This tends to sink a lot of bands in the genre. Aosoth manages to not only keep their head above the water, but to levitate above it and look down upon it’s endless and monotonous depths with scorn. The production is high just like it was on “III.” The lyrical content is steeped in left-hand path ideology which forms the very foundation of the band. “Arrow in Heart” has a total of seven brand new tracks. Five of these are rather lengthy songs clocking in at a minimum of six minutes. The other two are atmospheric breaks strategically placed before the closing track, “Ritual Marks of Penitence,” a punishing fourteen minute trip to the very gates of hell and beyond.

In terms of the audial presentation of “IV” it feels a lot like a combination of the more aggressive aspects showcased on “Ashes of Angels” with the musical depth of “III.” You can see the lengthier and more complex musical composures now melded with the ferocity of “Ashes of Angels.” This is perhaps what makes “IV” my favorite Aosoth recording to date. There is a select group of elite artists circulating within the underground right now. Aosoth and some of their other French compatriots are among them. This is music that was developed based upon the personal and spiritual journeys of the artists. I do believe their reason for sharing it was not for the purpose of gaining notoriety or trying to “stay relevant.” Bands like Aosoth exist to stimulate portions of the mind that are normally not used by the average inferior and sheep like masses of mankind. I’ve often theorized that this can be done subliminally or in an overt fashion.

While Antaeus often brought forth feelings of misery and helplessness, I think Aosoth conjures destructive yet inspirational forces that are often difficult for the mind to comprehend. It is for that reason that I strongly recommend you give this album a bit of time to sink in. Then again in order to make it through the entire album you’d be forced to give it awhile seeing as it clocks in at almost an hour in length. At no point however does it feel tiresome. If you find yourself fatigued listening to this record it’s because you’ve either closed your mind or you just aren’t the target of this kind of music. I think this is an album that I’ll be picking apart for years to come. I really don’t have anything negative to say about it. Aosoth is simply continuing where they left off with their previous works.

Absorb the complexity of this material at maximum volume, in maximum darkness!