HistoryThis black metal act was founded by Sina in Tehran the capital of Iran in 2010. The man soon moved to Norway to spread his wings and began using session musicians to deliver the goods. The band appeared at the Inferno Metal Festival in Norway in 2013. Part of the band was Vegar "Vyl" Larsen (Keep Of Kalessin and Gorgoroth) and André "Tjalve" Kvebek (1349, Pantheon I and Den Saakaldte). The man had visited Norway on a visa, but ended up permanently moving there in 2014.
The lyrics often point at Persian history and the native religion of Zoroastrianism. The band was part of the Blackhearts documentary.
FROM THE VASTLAND - DAEVAYASNA – SATANATH
Spoiler alert: Daevayasna has admirably powerful and pure metal running through it. More on that further down.
Somewhere along the lines metal was perverted from being a global unifier helping and allowing its fans, adherers and producers to come together in support and unanimity against tradition and weakness to mainstream and conventional thinking. In lieu of fighting the power and pushing back against elitism metal was subverted to be what mainstream art forms often are, which is perpetuating divisions, ethnicities, creeds and embracing pre-existing divisions. This wholly betrayed for what heavy metal stood.
Metal fans started identifying by their nationalities instead of as a united force (Anatolian metal! Cascadian black metal!! Suomi metal!!) and even made a good buck out of something called ‘folk metal.’ Think cold fire, jumbo shrimp, dark light or Christian black metal. It may have been the rubbish that is Amorphis’ Tales Of A Thousand who cares? that did it or Skyclad adding a fiddle to its routine to announce publicly the main member has wimped out. Whatever it was metal, and its sub-genres, became as mainstream as Big Mac by following conventions of the fat by taking their place in the drive-thru of the proverbial McDonald. Having yielded the moral high ground and its soul, things like a ‘metal god’ openly brandishing a platinum record in a metal video or clamouring for a Grammy or lust for inclusion in the Rock & Roll Hall Of barf, etc. became normal. Whether leading or following the pack’s mentality, miscellaneous ‘fans’ dominated the press and Internet singing the praises of bad joke bands like Ensiferum and sell-out records like Roots Bloody Roots and did not even, for example, notice the irony of a Brazilian band breaking out of its environment to worldwide acclaim and then going back to its ‘roots.’
Enter From The Vastland. The band helmed by an Iranian national residing in Norway has this writer ironically often reliving Swedish bands like Dawn, Marduk and Dissection. Jon Of Dissection coincidentally had called me years ago and spoke of Norwegian bands singing of “Norwegian weather reports.” Fascism and homophobia aside for a moment and, sticking strictly to music for a second, being compared to Dawn, Marduk and Dissection is a badge of honour and as glorious as any association. From The Vastland and its Daevayasna is an almost impeccable album played with speed and fury by the sole member and collaborators Tjalve formerly of 1349 and Spektre of Horizon Ablaze who to their credit set the speakers on fire delivering high precision extreme metal. The man/band does slow down on occasion – as say Dissection did – like on the closing track As The Gray Clouds Rain, but it is difficult to find a major problem on the album a less than clear production aside. The main man Sina’s vocals are harsh and steadfast. Perhaps the main melody on Sinful Oblivion and the crushing assault of the title track are points to recall here as well. This latter track borrows heavily from Storm Of The Light’s Bane. Luckily, this is a top favourite album here at Metallian Towers.
Coming back to From The Vastland, which according to its website is “influenced by Persian history and mythology” and whose main man wears a ‘farvahar’ Zoroastrian pendant, which is a religious and nationalistic symbol, while incorporating the tendency in its titles and lyrics, this website can only impart one advice to the band and metal fans in general. You have already broken free once by adopting the music of the superlative. It is time now to leave the rest of it behind and reject the past you were born into. – Ali “The Metallian”
FROM THE VASTLAND – THE HAFT KHAN – SATANATH
Vicious, energetic, fast, crushing and full of heavy harmonies. That is The Haft Khan, the new album by From The Vastland founded and run by Iranian expatriate Sina out of Norway with help from Tjalve (1349) and Spektre (Gaahls Wyrd). This band and album become even more of an achievement were one to consider how the singer and multi-instrumentalist probably be hung by the Iranian regime were he to be identified and arrested.
The cumulative effect of this album is akin to the rush of seeing a horde of horsemen spill down the mountains and onto the lands galloping hard and mowing anything that stands before them. The album begins with a crackle akin to listening to a vinyl as if the music was taped onto the CD from the record original. It is a very good start that follows. It is a take-no-prisoners’ approach that puts the listener in the mood with both the screamed and lower pitch vocals interchanging for feeling of death, lore and haunting. With speed and heaviness checked, a heavy skin sound courtesy of an actual drummer who can play and a full sound and production The Haft Khan is as convincing as they come.
The Haft Khan references an Iranian legend dating back over one thousand years. ‘The Seven Tasks’ are attributed to an Iranian mythical hero called Roustam and his horse Raksh as narrated in a grand work of poetry called Shahnameh by the poet Ferdowsi. This implies two things: Firstly - no matter how much little kiddies insist and parrot otherwise – this is not black metal. Heck, this is a tribute to good defeating evil. This is hero metal telling tales of folklore with power and hierarchy re-established when a powerful king is restored to the throne and the demons are defeated. Secondly, as much as patriotism is chauvinism and is embarrassing, one has to acknowledge main man Sina’s surely conscious decision to stay away from silly non-metal instrumentation. This folk metal CD could easily have descended into the mire of Iranian melodies and tacky Iranian instrumentation. It does not and the album is so very much better and more credible for it. Even better, despite the album being a concept, it is not held up in boredom. Perhaps the guys in Judas ‘Nostradamus’ Priest could contact Sina and request lessons in album construction from him?
The album is divided into seven tasks and hence seven tracks. Khan E Aval betrays a Mayhem influence and then blasts forth. It has a warm and strong bass sound. Khan E Chahrom features an occult voice-over and a dark aura. It has a few effects to tell the story, but the song is not allowed to be weighed down by these. Think Sabbat’s History Of A Time To Come album. Khan E Panjom has a powerful drum roll, but fades like a pop song. Khan E Sheshom incorporates brief effects and spoken word to tell the story, but is neck breaking fast and Haftom (or seventh) cruises at hypersonic speeds. The only thing these songs are lacking are hypersonic metal guitar solos.
This is one of the better albums of recent months and an excellent choice for fans of Marduk, Mayhem and Dissection and comparable in quality to better newer releases like The Spirit’s Cosmic Terror or Czort’s Apostol. – Ali “The Metallian”