First off, I must note that including a Braille sheet with the vinyl edition of Aosoth’s fourth full-length album was / is a fucking ridiculous idea. Seriously, what in fuck’s name is the point of that? I cannot see (no pun intended) why any band would want to do this. A proper inlay card with lyrics, pictures etc. would make much more sense seeing as the vast majority of Black Metal fans are not blind (I confidently assume).
A really, really dumb decision, that one. Stupid and pretentious in the extreme. Products for blind people are WORTHLESS to able-bodied individuals. What next – a hearing aid with the fifth Aosoth album? Or a discount voucher offering money off a wheelchair? As you can tell, I was more than a little pissed when I pulled that sheet out of the gatefold cover!
Thankfully, the actual album itself is fantastic. Musically (which is what really counts, of course), it’s impossible to go wrong with Aosoth, who rarely put a foot wrong and have banged out yet another addictive brew of harsh blackness and wicked melody. There’s a welcome degree of variety at work across the full duration of ‘IV: Arrow In Heart’, a release which is by and large captivating.
The infuriatingly catchy songs are very cleverly constructed and executed, while the inclusion of a thoroughly-cool, ambient, droning bonus track on Side D (as opposed to nothing at all or, worse still, a damned etching…) scoops back the brownie points lost over that silly sheet of blind man’s paper that 99% of you surely will not want or appreciate. All in all, though, this is great stuff and the sprawling extra track pushes the already-generous running time well past the hour mark. Kudos.