AOSOTH, Our Crown of Sins (2012, Inferna Profundus)

The skull:
I guess it doesn’t quite work to call a simple picture of a massively deformed skull “classy,” but the longer I do these reviews, the less language seems to mean anything anymore. It’s a bit hard to tell up from down on this skull, which looks almost like a photorealistic painting, but is probably just a very nicely done Photoshop job. In any case, the artist surely just concocted in his imagination the contours of this unfortunate skull, and the effect is pleasingly jarring. At first glance, you just see a skull, but on closer inspection you realize this skull is completely fucked up. Unsurprisingly, “Aosoth” seems to have some occult meaning, so maybe this skull represents some figure in the made-up evil mysticism the band (probably) claims to endorse, but regardless, it’s genuinely creepy, and a job well done.

The music:
Pretty typical French black metal, a little like early Deathspell Omega (that is, pre-Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice), although not even that good. The pace is almost totally unrelenting (although there is some respite from the blasting on side B of this single), and while the expected French quirk is there, it (sadly) rears its head so rarely that you’d be forgiven for thinking these guys were Swedish. The playing is tight, at least, and the production clean enough to not totally annoy. There’s nothing happening in either of these songs to make me want to investigate the band further, but they have the surface qualities of a black metal band who might NOT suck, so if you’re really into this sort of thing, perhaps further investigation is required. Me, I’ll pass.
— Friar Johnsen