Review: From the Vastland “The Haft Khan” [Iron, Blood and Death Corporation / Satanath Records]

Review: From the Vastland “The Haft Khan” [Iron, Blood and Death Corporation / Satanath Records]

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From the Vastland is one of the most popular black metal bands from Iran (with Aras and Nazhand). They grew famous after the “Blackhearts” documentary, where their founder Sina told about difficulties, creating such an exceptionally dark and heavy music in Islamic republic. He started to write and play black metal in his native Teheran, but after the participation at Inferno Festival in Norway, he decided to stay in Trondheim. The music of From the Vastland is relatively close to Norwegian pure black metal, so no wonder, Sina moved in right there, where everyone can create art without restrictions.

The band releases intense and professional albums for ten years, drawing inspiration from Scandinavian black metal. But Sina didn’t forget about his roots too, so every album of his band is based on Persian mythology, specifically emphasizing its dark side. So, there’s a good opportunity to learn something new about the Persian demonology, just from the band’s lyrics.

The album mostly varies from mid to fast tempo, but during speeding pace, the crazy blast beats and increased emotional screaming make “The Half Khan” even more aggressive. The voice of Sina is monotonous, but since most of the songs are based on one primitive guitar riff, the drab singing ideally fits into chosen musical concept. So, no tricks and quirks on this album, it’s canonical and conservative European black metal with Asian mythology-inspired lyrics. But generally, it is dark and sounds almost desperately, without even glimpse of melancholy.

There are some march-like introductions on some of the songs, and then starts uncompromising evil rapid black metal. But even if the song starts aggressively and fast (like “Khan e Panjom”), there will always be the slowing pace, and sometimes with deep-voiced recitals (like on the last song “Khan e Haftom”). Acoustic elements throughout the album are not too long, but there is a temporary reprieve from the brutish violence on the song “Khan e Dovom”, but the acoustic guitar on the song “Khan e Sheshom” sounds almost gentle and sad. There’re no more experiments on “The Haft Khan”, breaking the classical metal stereotypes, From the Vastland follows true black metal rules with high-quality attitude.

Previously Sina recorded all instruments by himself, because it’s not so easy to find competent and brave allies for such brutal music in Islamic countries. Now he invites a bunch of musicians from other black metal bands to record the drums and bass (from Svartelder or Horizon Ablaze). From the Vastland released six full-length albums during ten years of existence without visible stylistic changes, although their music sounds even now relevantly pertinent.

Release date: June 1st, 2020

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