Molten reviews: Aosoth, Cough/Windhand

The following two reviews were intended for publication in Molten Magazine but haven’t seen the light of day. Enjoy them here.

Aosoth – IV: Arrow In Heart
Is there anything else we can say about French black metal? Our Gallic friends have graced us with many an enthralling black metal record over the last few years, whether it’s Blut Aus Nord and Deathspell Omega or Peste Noire, or hell, you could include Alcest in that list, given Neige’s musical background.

Aosoth, from Paris, are a band that have been skulking in the shadows for a number of years, releasing intriguing records of doom-imbued black metal, like their III: Violence & Variation opus in 2011.

IV: Arrow In Heart is the band’s next endeavour that’s every bit as ambitious as before. Clocking in at 56 minutes, the Frenchmen shove in a great deal of atmosphere and equal measures of bludgeoning with this record. In the past, they’ve successfully meshed the trudge of death/doom with caustic mid-paced black metal to degrees of excellence, and even added moments of searing velocity for good measure.

While Aosoth’s music is one that can be quite challenging to sit through, it is often a challenge more than accepted, but with IV: Arrow In Heart, the band fall a little short of truly upping the ante like before. Still jamming in as many of their trademarks as possible, one couldn’t call this record anything less than genuine and ruthless but it doesn’t quite set ablaze like we know the band are capable of and can be a slog to get through from start to finish.

Regardless, mediocre Aosoth is still nothing to turn your nose up at and IV: Arrow In Heart has its stellar moments to make up for it too like the brooding and equally unforgiving ‘Under Nails and Fingertips’. It’s not a triumph but certainly not a failure.

Cough / Windhand – Reflection of the Negative

Usually there are one or two things in common between bands that drive them to doing a split record together. Generally, it’s occupying the same musical vein, or maybe it’s a similar aesthetic or even just being from the same town. What’s interesting about the Relapse Records released split, Reflection of the Negative, is that it combines all of these traits from Cough and Windhand but the two bands easily create their own unique identities at the same time. 

Both hailing from Richmond, Virginia and both from the doom metal school of thought, albeit from different pockets, Reflection of the Negative is a split that just makes sense in every way.

Cough are more versed in devastating sickly doom, with a 19 minute slow paced dirge that makes up their side of this record. ‘Athame’ is crawling howl of caustic sludged-out doom, with the pollution of Noothgrush and Thou.

Windhand meanwhile are more au fait with the sounds of traditional doom, with wailing eerie vocals from Dorthia Cottrell, which are her most ethereal yet, and the trudging riffs are lovingly plucked from the Iommi playbook and glossed with some modernity for good measure. Where Cough are more concerned with despair, Windhand provide the hypnotism.

Two bands and three tracks make up this release. Perhaps the bands’ respective albums are better introductions to their music, and while a little inessential this split is still quality doom of different shades.

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