Here's a fairly interesting black metal release. Interesting can be a relative term when it comes to black metal, but "Ashes of Angels" isn't a one-man bedroom project, for starters. Aosoth does follow BM "guidelines" pretty closely, really, and they're only a shade apart from your average group of low-fi warriors. But that shade? Counts for a lot.
Apart from the usual black metal trappings, there are a few things Aosoth put down that are actually worth talking about. They aren't overly reliant on blazingly fast tremolo picking, as some fairly rocking riffage makes an appearance not halfway into opener "Songs Without Lungs." These flirtations with more headbang-inducing forms of metal pop up throughout the album, as does a surprising willingness to slow down to a punishing stomp. "Teaching/Eraser" and "Cries out of Heaven" crawl through fields of unholy magma, while "Path of Twisted Light" is impressively close to a dirge for a band of this nature. Apart from those flourishes, "Ashes of Angels" does the usual black metal thing, although efficiently and effectively.
Look, not every black metal band out there is going to pull a Nachtmystium and write some straight up synth-pop songs. Not every album is going to be experimental, and not every album needs to be. Some bands have to hold it down for meat and potatoes, middle of the road type material that is surprisingly easy to screw up. All we ask is that they not be boring, not be clones of better material, and not be creatively lobotomized. Aosoth is none of those things, and neither is "Ashes of Angels."