Hailing from France, Aosoth play deep black metal with death-metal-driven guitars. The band’s latest full-length studio CD is titled IV: Arrow in Heart, released by Agonia Records. Take Five spoke with BST, who discussed the new album and how its development and production affected the band members.
What does the term “black metal” mean to you, and would you say it applies to the music performed by Aosoth? And if you can, tell the readers a little about the band and its members.
BST: “Each person would probably have something different to say in order to define what black metal is. I guess the closest I can get would be something like ‘heavy-metal-based music with Satanic lyrical and visual content.’ I believe it applies to us, yes.
“Aosoth was created in 2002. Originally, it was a side-project made by the line-up of Antaeus, with the exception of their drummer. It wasn’t really active, apart from a couple split releases, until I was asked to join by MKM (vocalist and lyricist) to write music for a couple 7” records, and maybe later an album. The collaboration worked out, and we ended up recording four albums.
“Aosoth is now composed of MKM, INRVI (bass), and myself taking care of guitars, drum programming, music writing, and production. We also have two live members for the second guitar and the drums.”
Tell me about your new full-length studio CD, IV: Arrow in Heart. What can listeners expect to hear?
BST: “Those who already know us from our previous releases probably won’t be shocked, as it sounds to me like a natural step forward, after what we’ve done so far. For those who have not heard us before, you could say we play very deep black metal, with a death-metal-oriented guitar tone, meaning a pretty low tuning, and a sound that gives priority to low-mid frequencies as opposed to high-pitched hisses. Our music also contains a fair amount of atmospheric and ambient parts, including percussion, samples, and other f*cked up sounds. That’s how I would describe it, but I guess it’s really up to the listener to make his/her opinion. It’s pretty easy to hear our music on youtube or Bandcamp nowadays.”
What were the events or situations, if any, that inspired the track “Under the Nails and Fingertips”? Do you have any particular preparations when it comes to writing songs, or does the process come spontaneously to you?
BST: “It always is a very spontaneous process, and I would even say it is what makes us sound the way we do. There are two independent creative forces in the band, and music and lyrics are created separately. As for the true meaning of MKM’s lyrics, that’s not something he likes to discuss. The lyrics are available on the double LP, in Braille, so one will have to find a way to read them and then make his or her own interpretation.”
You’ve mentioned that IV: Arrow in Heart holds a bigger spiritual value, and that as a band you have spent “a huge amount of time on defining a darker identity.” Would you please expand, if possible, on the essence of a “bigger spiritual value” and what constitutes a darker identity for the band?
BST: “That is not exactly how that statement was phrased. To be more specific, what was meant was that the fact that it was a very stressful and demanding recording, both physically and emotionally, gave it a sacrificial quality, if you will. It felt as we were giving something up, losing something, in order for this to happen. Although the writing process was short, a lot of time was spent on the production, finding the right guitar tone, the right bass tone, the right overall tone, how to make the vocals stand out perfectly while still being hidden in some ways, and the use of samples and distorted sounds.”
Looking back, what would you say is your greatest achievement (in terms of music) to date? What would you say is your biggest regret (in terms of music)?
BST: “I think at the moment, as cliché as it sounds, this new album is the achievement I am the proudest of. I still feel there is a long path to take, though, and I’m sure we can create something that will make us even prouder. I don’t really have regrets when it comes to music, every mistake I have made has taught me something, and made me progress.”