If you need proof that black metal isn’t dead in 2011, look no further than Aosoth’s III. The French trio have released a queasy, droning, suffocating beast of an album that easily tops their already impressive body of work. I spoke with guitarist BST via e-mail to gain some insight into one of the year’s best black metal albums.
THKD: III is much heavier than prior Aosoth albums. Was this intentional or merely a natural part of the band’s evolution?
B.S.T. : It does sound heavier and I’m guessing there are several reasons for that : the tuning we used is lower, which gives this really muddy effect, I thought it would be interesting to experiment in that area in a black metal context. Also the gear we used (amplifiers and instruments) and the recording process was different, as we were aiming for a very organic sound. But I’d say the main reason for this heavier aspect is that we have opened our compositions to new influences, outside of black metal, some bands like Amenra for example…
THKD: When and where was III recorded? What were the circumstances surrounding the conception of the new album? What were you looking to achieve?
B.S.T. : Like the two previous full length, it was recorded at the Bst Studios. Under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and depression. I consider that we did achieve something, and that’s producing something nasty, oppressing, difficult to listen to, but a true experience in darkness and death through art.
THKD: My review copy of III does not include lyrics. Can you discuss what sorts of lyrical themes are being explored on the new album?
B.S.T. : Mkm’s lyrics on this album were pretty introspective and could be compared to his work on Antaeus’s “Blood libels”. They do appear on the CD and the LP, so people can make their own interpretation .
THKD: There is an eerie, droning quality to parts of III that is quite unique when compared to most modern black metal. How was this achieved and was it intentional? Are you at all influenced by drone music?
B.S.T. : I wouldn’t say we are, but we did use the talents of an industrial/ambient artist named HostiS for all the interludes and some samples within the songs, which may give that effect.
THKD: Is Aosoth a Satanic band? Is black metal an inherently Satanic form of music? What does Satan mean to you on a personal/spiritual level?
B.S.T. : Aosoth is satanic, and yes black metal is by definition satanic as well. All three members have their own conception of what Satan represents, and we do not share or even talk about it that much. Even though we are different individuals, we do complete each other in more than one way, and that’s what unites us. As far as I’m concerned, I see Satan, and the whole notion of evil, as something linked to human interpretation. I am a believer, but I therefore deny the idea of an absolute form of good and evil. I do believe in higher powers amongst us, and above us. However each person sees a demon or an angel into them according to what his own soul contains. Like said earlier, the two other people involved in Aosoth most certainly have a different perspective on that issue.
THKD: The name Aosoth comes from The Order of Nine Angles. Can you elaborate on the significance of the name and what importance it holds for you personally?
B.S.T. : The link between this band and the O.N.A. is our singer. I am in no position to speak of it. From the readings that were made available to me, though, I must say I felt a connection to quite a few principles of their philosophy.
THKD: Aosoth works as a trio. Your new/third album is called simply III. Does the number three hold any special significance for Aosoth or is this merely coincidental?
B.S.T. : It just happened to be the time when we decided to include a third member. Was is a mere coincidence? I wouldn’t know. It probably was meant to be, and probably has a meaning.
THKD: What does each member of Aosoth bring to the band? Would you ever consider adding more members?
B.S.T. : The way the band works is quite simple. Mkm is in charge of the lyrics, the visual aspect, the ideology. He is linked to the band as he is the image of the band, the spokesman. I write all the music, and produce the albums, I also recruit the mercenaries who play with us on stage. Inr, our newest member has been involved in the arrangements of the songs. Although his role seems lesser than ours, he has been involved in the project for a long time now, first as a session musician, and his dedication did inject a lot of new blood into Aosoth. If we do find the right person, I’m guessing we might hire a full time drummer some day, but they are quite hard to come by. And we’ll have a second guitar player for concerts, but that person will remain a session member.
THKD: How would you compare your current work with Aosoth to your past with Antaeus? Are the two bands opposite sides of the same coin?
B.S.T. : I will answer for Mkm from what I know of that matter. Aosoth has a very different musical approach. As far as the ideology goes their is a certain link between the too, but saying they are opposite sides to the same coin is stretching it, in my opinion.
THKD: France seems to have a very strong and diverse black metal scene. What is it about life there that is conducive to this music? Are you in any way influenced/inspired by your surroundings?
B.S.T. : This country is grey, bitter, and our cultural heritage is falling apart. We have lost faith in our nation and feel betrayed. There is no unity in our community. I’m guessing that would be a cause…
THKD: What are your thoughts on the current state of French black metal? Who do you consider to be your peers? Are there any other French BM hordes we should be listening to?
B.S.T. : I have a lot of respect for bands such as Hell Militia, Vorkreist, Blacklodge, DSO (obviously), Spektr, Ritualization, Temple of Baal, Haemoth… And a few others… Those bands are those I consider to be my peers and I would advise you to listen to.
THKD: Will you be playing live in support of III? What would the ultimate live Aosoth experience entail?
B.S.T. : We will play shows according to what we are offered. A live performance is not something we need or seek. Releasing albums is satisfactory enough to us.
THKD: Are you or any of the other members of Aosoth currently involved in other bands/projects that we should be aware of? What can you tell us about them?
B.S.T. : Mkm is still in Antaeus, the band is still a bit active as they are to play a couple shows. Can’t really say if a new album is meant to happen or not, not my place to say anyway… Inr plays in VI, which is supposed to release its first full length by the end of the year I guess, he also will be appearing as a session live bass player in Antaeus. I play in The Order of Apollyon, black death metal band which released its first album “The Flesh” on Listenable records last year. I also will be joining Antaeus as a session guitar player for the few shows to come.
THKD: Are there any final thoughts you’d like to add?
B.S.T. : Thanks for the interview. 616