Locked & suffocating in a steel box with Aosoth

Created by Antaenus mastermind MkM in 2002 Aosoth was another outlet for hateful, dark black metal. With their third release "III" which will be released this month. Aosoth "III" is brutal relentless assault of cult black metal from France. Along with Blut Aus Nord, Merrimack and Moonreich, France is no longer the ugly stepchild of the black metal. But France was the spearhead of the black metal when Osmose Records and now Seasons Of Mist with a keen sense of seeing talent signed bands like Absu, Immortal and Enslaved. France has to be the most underrated black metal scene. Fresh from support fellow black metal brethen Watain (which Erik Dannelson drew the band's logo). Aosoth is planning to do a special release to celebrate the band ten years existance. I recently caught up with MkM to talk about the band's new album and their tour with the black metal wolves Watain.

Hellish greetings from Texas. It's brutally hot down here, how it get in France during the summer?
Hails, a summer I cannot wait to get rid of....  Easier to cope than the one you must have in Texas, but just awaiting the fall.

I don't know much about the band, can you give an brief history of the band?
Not much to know apart from the fact we’ve been around since 2002, we had various demos and split vinyls out, with Antaeus, Temple Of Baal, Malhkebre, VI. Our first album came out on Total Holocaust in sweden, lp version out on Ajna Offensive (USA) and that got us the deal with Agonia Records. III is the last album we did on them since our deal was for two recordings. Now that I’ll be mostly session in the band and not involved as much as before, I do not know if Bst will resign or not, but it seems like if there will be another Aosoth album, it shall be on Agonia! Gig wise, we did perform with Sargeist, Celestial Bloodshed, Nehemah, Hell Militia, Blacklodge, Watain, Shining, Baptism, Enthroned, Nox...

How's this band different from your band Antaeus?
Both of them are Black metal, but approaching a different aspect of it. While Antaeus is mostly satanic audio violence, Aosoth is more introspective and expose a different aura. Also the fact that the main guitar players have very different background has its impact on the composition and the experimentation we do.

You also toured with Watain and Shining. How many dates the band had to do on that tour?
17 gigs in Europe, mostly Uk, France & Portugal, spain, belgium, holland, germany, switzerland. Was an interesting tour but difficult conditions for us. Unlike most tour where there is a sound engineer for the whole package, we had none ourselves and had to deal with the local guy – when there would be a local sound guy... Since most wouldnt care about it or showing up since only one band would request their attention and we were the opening band: thus the act no one cares about. Was great to have Set Teitan to perform with us on the very last day for the cover of “Inner War”. Also very interesting to see them perform each night, with their set list which had earlier tracks featured. “My fists Are Him” was a blast for instance.
But touring is not something that gets my interest anyway, having to perform 17 days without ever hearing what is going on, getting reviews on how lame or inexistant the sound was for the audience, what’s the point really?! At least out of those 17 days, maybe 4/5 people did seem to get into what we were performing, so better than no one right?
Hard to compete with swedish headliners when you’re a french metal band.

Out of curiousity, how do you guys get used to the smell? Did you guys shared the same bus?
Most of the blood & rotten animals were stocked in the trailer, so it’s not like we had it near us non stop. Smell wise, I cannot say much, did loose nearly all senses as a kid, I usually don’t notice it much or so, but that did seem very easy to cope with for the others. Did notice on some gigs the repulsive reactions from some individuals, audience or local promoters, from the morons doing security in Birmingham, to the staff in Glasgow who refused to serve any alcohol with such stench in the air, or people leaving the front of the stage in venue where both fire & blood would make them will to throw up... And at the same time, you’d always end up having some fucked up die hard fans who would do anything to get rotten blood thrown at them... the taste I cannot cope so far now would be Jack Daniels, just had too much on the tour and got sick of it. Vodka is still perfect to end the night.

What have the reactions been from the USA side so far?
Hardly any? But those I’ve been in contact with for some years did seem to consider our latest work as our biggest achievement and we had interesting exchange about that album. Some had too much of the impression to have an “antaeus”-bis on the previous recording and would see a more clearly detached entity within Aosoth now with III being more mature and personal. Since we’re on an european based label and there is no license in the USA, the rate between usd/euro is somehow making it impossible for us to be available there I guess. There is always the fact that nowadays most people are not really waiting to hold the release but would download it, easier faster.... and you don’t risk being ripped off or having to wait two months for a cd to reach your mailbox...
RDO in the USA will do a limited protape version of III. And it should be available when Antaeus will perform in your Texas area that coming december !!!!

The reason for the decision to let Erik of Watain to come up with the band logo?
I’ve been in touch with Erik for quite some years, did release through my label Spikekult an ep of the band around 2002 as well if I recall correctly. Also wrote lyrics for one track on their second album “puzzles ov flesh”... Both his band & my previous main act were on the same label – Norma Evangelium Diaboli. Sharing numerous commun interests and knew his art from the design he did on Hellish Massacre, his fanzine back then... I asked him if he could come up with a logo & the result was perfect. He also did a shirt design for an Antaeus release that has been very limited, managed to find back my copy lately – had forgotten about that one. Now I do see his work & he did progress a lot, having his own touch and you easily spot any flyer or artwork he would have designed. And already some are copying his style...

You did the artwork for the album cover. Can you tell me about the cover and how long you are drawing?
The cover is mostly done through InDesign and Photoshop, which is my “everyday” work more or less. This artwork is mostly a lay out fixed more than art drawn. Best result would be the lp version, which is very “elegant” & cold so to speak. We did put more inpout on the concept visually, from the flesh column, to the size of the logo, how everything would be place. While the cd has a black dominance, the lp version is all white & the logo is in varnish print. Of course the flesh/scars are present in both version – since they would be my only presence in the lay out – not being featured on the band picture there...
We had to fix this artwork also a bit in a hurry since all had to be finished prior to us joining the watain/shining european tour. But am very satisfied with the turn out, the print on the vinyl is just perfect !!!
Just finished the alternative cover for the instrumental lp version I’ll release through Spikekult (my label). Only 100 copies done & since no vocals of mine in there, the scars are gone & replaced with a death aura.

Has there been an offer for a USA tour as a support band?
No and I don’t think that would happen. Even Antaeus never had such an opportunity in the past. So don’t think we could do that. Also, the Watain/Shining tour conditions left us bankrupt or so – and labels nowadays cannot really support a band with sales as low as ours. Even touring again in Europa for this album is very unlikely.
Not even a gig in our own country is planned.

Can you give a brief summary of the songs on the album?
For those who do own the album, they’ll notice that this is one chapter divided in six scenes. Thus the compact feel out of the whole album, not like it’s meant to be perceived as “songs” after “songs” or one you could pick up out of the whole. They are as “one”
Somehow should have been listed as “chapter III, scene 1” or “III-1”.  Lyrical content is close to the work I did with Antaeus, thus personal, introspective and somehow like a “performance”. Mixed feeling about it, I cannot listen to myself for instance, the processus of having it all out was fullfilling, but having to relive it through listening is a problem.

I've been listen to your album lately and it's brutal as this fucking Texas heat.
If my souvenir from Houston are accurate, then it’s nearly impossible to bear then...
Just like our current summer switching from heavy rain to impossible to avoid Sun.
Guess the feeling I get out of the album would be the one you’d get while locked & suffocating in a steel box, left in a burning sun. You know it’s hellish out there but yet you cannot cope being in the dark anymore, either way : you’re fucked.

Are there any death/death metal bands you listen too?
Death metal, a lot, most of my demo collections consists of death metal bands from the early 90s. Rottrevore, Traumatic, Demilich, God macabre, Incantation, Immolation, Sadistic Intent, Nuclear death... also acts like Kaamos, Dead Congregation, Necros Christos... Am not too found of technical death metal though... not at all even, good musicians often, but am not getting a kick out of their work, to each its own. Lately among new bands that really impressed me, Thorybos from Germany (somehow the german answer to Black witchery) & Necroblood from France.

You have any new material ready for the next album? Will it be as violent as this album?
Nothing has been composed so far. That album had us fully devoted to it and, right now, it’s like we gave it all and we are just dead out of it. All got expressed.... Also we had to tour right away the recording, had to face some more problems. And since march I’ve been answering interviews and trying to push Aosoth out there a bit more. We’ve been talking inside the band of having a second guitar member to join us as live session – to allow us to perform some tracks that cannot be done with only one guitar player... but we also have to find again a new drummer... A spiral of problems as you can see. But since Summer is a dead period, we’ll see better in september what the future would provide us.
For the tenth anniversary of the band, we were thinking of having a limited vinyl out... Time shall tell.
Hails to you for having us featured on your zine.
Interviewer: Paul Lewis
Aug 8, 2011

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