Welcome and congratulations for your third and last album. What’s your impression about this release not that some time has passed ? How has it been received ?
BST : Hails. We’re satisfied with this album, even if there’s always some details that we see as elements that could have been improved. Anyways, there’s no regrets, this record sets a mark in the evolution of Aosoth, and it’s probably a defining album for what’s to come. It has been received very well, the press has been globally positive, and I’ve had some good feedback from close musicians that I respect, which is the kind of feedback I consider the most flattering.
Before digging deeper into your new album, I’d like to know how do you feel as a band with the release of « III », with a stronger and more stable position than even for Aosoth. Don’t you have the impression that you’re finally regarded as a true independent creative and personal force now and not as only another project from MkM or parallel to Antaeus ?
BST : We all have our point of view on this question in Aosoth. From mine, even if MkM aura is a key element for this project, the difference with Antaeus was already clear since the first split 7 » with Temple of Baal. But the fact that some persons have persisted comparing both projects or calling them similar simply proves that the scene is polluted by a certain number of people who do not understand the music and are here for the gossiping. I particularly think about all those persons without a real existence who live in certain forums on the Internet.
MkM : Indeed, it’s very tiring to always have this parallel. But it’s an understandable shortcut given the fact that I’m “visually” put in front and I answered all interview. Now I put myself staying more and more in the background and all is getting more simple.
“III”, and your precedent split with VI, set a very deep point in the progression for your band in my opinion, apart of the inclusion of Mr. VI in Aosoth. A heavier and oppressive style, marked by bigger Death Metal influences. Am I wrong about this? This makes me think about an old report from the French version of Hard Rock Magazine about the tour Antaeus did with Immolation, Marduk and some other Black Metal bands, where MkM commented he felt closed to Immolation than the rest of bands.
BST : The Death Metal touch has always been present since the first Aosoth album, but we’ve increased the suffocating side of it by the use of very specific and extremely low chords for what is usually done in Black Metal, and the search for bulky and dissonant riffs, which were already a part of ‘Ashes of Angels’. We’ve only pushed this a bit further, with also a partial influences of bands such as Amenra.
Do you feel like your line-up is now stronger with the third position VI took?Does he contribute in the writing process?
BST : INRVI has a very particular place in AOSOTH. He has been a musician for the band since a few years ago and his total devotion for the project made us think it was natural to leet him in as a permanent member. He brings his personal touch with his low parts, and he’s also involved in decisions of the band in which a session musician wouldn’t be. However, the writing process of the band remains as it was: MkM for the lyrics and visuals, and I take care of the music.
Going back to that density and depth the album has, was this a point you really wanted to accomplish in the context of the sound of Aosoth? Isn’t important to accompany the message and feelings with a right sound? Sometimes I have the impression that some Black Metal bands tend too much to the former and do not think that much about their music.
BST : The goal is obviously to create a certain kind of music and sound that generates a big state of unease to the listener. The production of this record is far from being perfect or clean, but it allows a total immersion of the listener. I think it’s important to isolate oneself to listen to ‘III’, preferably to be in a room with little light, and concentrate on the crushing emotions of negativity the music is loaded with.
The title of this album references one of the most magickal numbers for humanity, full of religious and esotheric references. But it’s also your third album. Which one of these two explanations is closer to the reason why you chose it?
BST : There are several reasons. But, indeed, the title means above all ‘AOSOTH – Third Chapter’. And it’s like an ensemble, as almost one only song, as thid album should be perceived, thus the titles of the songs “III-1, III-2 ...”.
The record sub-title is ‘Violence and Variation’, which brings us to the domains of chaos, change and evolution. In which context should we place these words and concepts? Should these adjective be inherent to Black Metal?
MkM : This subtitle could be in fact the title of this third chapter. And yes, they represent an aspect of Black Metal too. The instrumental album is entitled ‘Variations of Violence’, given the alternative listen of the record it allows the listener.
We can see in Black Metal some sort of opposition between the conservative and progressive ways of thinking, as it’s always been a style that was trying to look back to the past while walking onwards the future. Do you find yourselves in this situation when you’re writing new songs and trying to evolve Aosoth’s sound? How much limited do you feel because of this?
MkM : We’re not an experimental band, and we do not have a projection and planning over our compositions. Having our past in different Black and Death Metal bands since the beginning of the nineties and given the amount of releases we’re on, be it in the context of Aosoth or Antaeus, there’s no reason to expect a deviation over different or more electronic fields or whatever other thing.
It’s not a matter of limiting ourselves, we do what corresponds to us and we stay upright to our desires and aspirations. The only main change will have been to considerably slow down the tempo on some of our songs.
Without any doubt, the term “ritual” is one of the most frequently used in the last times of we speak of Death and Black Metal, but it’s still the best adjective to speak about ‘III’. To which level does your music represent a ritual or a jump to the other side, to other planes of existence for you? Is it only a way to escape this world or more of a confrontation to it?
MkM : III is introspective and liberating on a personal level; the lyrics and the recording were done on one take for the vocals and at a precise moment. It should be taken as an artistic performance captured and put on audio format. And this should be felt once listening to it.
I’m quite curious to see how well we’ll be able to transpose this atmosphere on the live context … but given the rehearsals we’ve had with our new drummer and the second guitar player, this will probably be quite interesting.
These days what is currently called “Orthodox Black Metal” is not exclusive anymore to certain bands who gave a more spiritual and ceremonial view of Black Metal, but a real sub-genre of the style, mainly driven by the image. Do you feel that Aosoth takes part of this movement or its thought basis, or do you prefer to stay apart from every organised movement?
MkM : I do not share this point of view. The orthodox Black Metal term pushed forward the fact that Black Metal had to be afiliated with Satanism. Effectively, now we can see how people use the term Orthodox Black Metal to gather Swedish Black Metal bands with their easily identifiable melodies.
When it comes to our ideology, the need to speak about it over and over is tiring. I think it’s quite obvious to know which side we take if you’ve followed our band.
Recently you released another album entitled ‘Variations of Violence’, but this recording is just an instrumental version of ‘III’ with a different mix, if I’m not wrong. Can you please clarify a bit the details of this release and the reasons to spread it? Are there any other differences apart of the vocals?
MkM : This is a vinyl only release, limited to 250 pieces. It offers an alternative listen to the ‘III’ album. Another approach … I released it as a self-release under my label, SpikeKult. The decision was taken by listening to the pre-mix of the record, without vocals (before placing them). The atmopshere is different, the added vocals give a more personal touch, but I prefer to listen to the intrumental version. It sounds close to Ritual Ambient in some way. As the mix is different, and not having vocals, the album sounds heavier and the guitars are way more present, more dynamic. The artwork has been done by Benjamin Vierling and I’m very satisfied by his job. Agonia will probably release shirts and hsws with this artwork.
Aosoth is a band that has played live quite a lot in the last years. What do you think about that phenomenon that was so common in the nineties by which a big part of the Black Metal bands didn’t want to play live and claimed authenticity from this?
BST : In fact, we try to be as selective as possible when we receive proposals to play concerts. We limit ourselves to line-ups containing band we respect, and try as much as possible to only play the dates offering enough conditions to have a professional setting, making us able to reproduce the music correctly. Playing live actually an optional thing; we have indeed not given any concert since ‘III’ was released. The first one will be next February.
The French Black Metal scene is nowadays an absolute reference around the world, something that was inconceivable in the mid nineties, when no one was interested in a few bands from a country only re-known for a few second rank Thrash/Death bands, which were only starting to release their demos and records but were way too noisy. How have you seen this change and how much have things changed for a band like Aosoth? Is there a real scene or unity of bands in the Parisian Black Metal scene (Antaeus, Aosoth, Arkhon Infaustus, Temple Of Baal, Vorkreist, Hell Militia, Merrimack...) as we have the impresion from the outside?
BST : Clearly, all the members from the bands you mention know each other. Some of them are friends, others are not. There’s a relative unity, on the attitude level, in some way, but I wouldn’t say there’s a systematic mutual aid or anything similar.
MkM : Effectively, that vision is false; if we’ve met and shared concerts with those bands, it’s that and nothing else. And Antaeus is even more distant from those bands and any other French band (except DSO).
Give me your opinion about the following bands, if you know them and don’t matter sharing it:
- Deathspell Omega:
BST: They have brought a huge change to the whole Black Metal scene by doing something unique, musically, lyrically ….
MkM : I appreciate everything after SMRC. Up to all levels, the ‘Mass Grave ...’ track is their most memorable track for me.
- Blut Aus Nord:
BST : Very avantgardist band too, and certainly a big influence in the use of extreme dissonances.
BST : Very good band, and people 100% devoted to their cause. They have my respect.
MkM : Upright personalities that I have esteem for, even if I’m not specially a client of their musical style. I’m very proud to have released their first EP years ago, and their “My Fists Are Him” track is still one of my favourites to listen to live.
- Arkhon Infaustus:
BST : A pitty that they stopped, I really liked the orientation they took on the last albums. On the last tour with Angelcorpse they were amazing.
- Glorior Belli:
BST : I only know their old Black Metal albums. Very well done but maybe not very personal. Apparently their new sound is quite peculiar, but I haven’t approached it more than this.
BST : I don’t know them too much, but I liked what I’ve listened to.
MkM : I’m impatient to listen to their new released on NED.
- Clandestine Blaze:
BST : The little I’ve listened seemed very good too.
- Cult Of Erinyes:
MkM : I’m very curiours to see them live in February if the scheduled concert happens.
Finally, and before ending my questions, can you please give us some news about Aosoth, be it on the release side or possible concert dates? I’ve read something about a new EP that will be released by Inferna Profundus Records.
BST : the Inferna Profundus EP should already be out. We slowly start working on our fourth album, that will be out through Agonia Records. On the concerts side, we will play on February 4th in Namur (Belgium) with Infinity and Gorath. And we’ll be present at the Hellfest in France and the Deathkul Open Air in Germany.
Thanks a lot for your time and best wishes for the future of Aosoth, that looks quite brilliant. Add whatever you want before closing this interview. See you soon.
BST : Thanks for the interview.
MkM : AMSG.
Gia Thanatos is a webzine dedicated to music for the apocalyptic times. No matter the scene or genre it comes from, and mainly chosen according to its author's taste.