From The Vastland

Album Title: 
Release Date: 
Monday, September 26, 2016
Review Type: 

If you believe it or not (not that I do care about what you believe), but there sort of is a small and hidden yet highly impressive scene in Iran. Personally I owe (and appreciate) stuff from ‘out there’ within several of my favourite aural genres, like Drone / Dark Ambient (such as Xerxes The Dark, Alphaxone, Porya Hatami) and (different kinds of) Black Metal (Ekove Efrits, Margg, Silent Path, Aras, Nathorg, …), amongst others. When talking about the latter genre, Black Metal, well, I do follow From The Vastland for quite some time now. Temple Of Daevas (Non Serviam Records) sort of blew me away (but I’m a fearless guy so I stood up quite soon after…), but after the Blackhearts album I knew that this project was something that could not be ignored. In case you’re interested: the review on that Blackhearts recording, which was released via Sphera Noctis Records, Hexenreich Records and Symbol Of Domination Productions, had been posted on December 25th 2015. Oh yes, just for informational purposes: since then, the project resides in Norway, more specifically in Trondheim (there is something like a Black Metal scene right there, I guess – oops, I was about to add a smiley…).

Sina, the human being behind From The Vastland, then wrote some new material, which he eventually recorded himself (he took care of production, mix, engineering and mastering himself, besides the writing of lyrics, music and arrangements) with session assistance of members involved with e.g. Den Saakaldte and Horizon Ablaze (both Spektre and Tjalve co-operated on Sina’s live performances in Norway, amongst some others – here drums and bass respectively). The result lasts for forty-three minutes and comes in a digital way, as well as on CD in an edition of 1,000 copies – 12-paged booklet with sober yet quite cool artwork and English lyrics included.

There is quite a lot to like on this album, and it already starts with the opening riffs of the first track, Wizarsh. As from the very first moments you will notice the greatness of the Nordic scene (once again: keep in mind that the master brain of this project is a Persian person!): four seconds of stormy sounds before blasting with extreme, gorgorothian and enthroned riffs, epic melodic structures and, quite immediately, sulphur-breathing screams, nastily supported by a devastating and merciless rhythm section. Everything sounds quite correct: melodious riffage, unstoppable drum patterns, fine bass melodies, you know, the essence of the Second Wave majesty. After almost two minutes, there’s a first deceleration with semi-spoken words, just for a couple of seconds, but it simply shows the excellence of Sina’s song writing. At 2:44 there’s a sudden stop-and-back-again – I know, I am just going into small details – but I want to make a point about, once again, a fabulous approach of a trend that lacks of originality, but that has, at the same time, not reached its peak yet! As from four minutes, the harshness and fastness gets replaced by a doomier passage, being at least as intense and grim as the fast opening sequences, before ending, finally, in a sphere of post-apocalyptic nothingness (cf. the very short yet suffocating outro on this track). What a fabulous opener, but believe me: the destruction has just started to begin. The Malkusan Witch, the next composition, starts with a very epic state of mind, creating a glorious and victorious atmosphere in the vein of, indeed, the Scandinavian scene from twenty-five years ago. Here too the focus lies on mainly fast parts with that raspy throat, those superb rhythmic elements and these proud riff melodies. But here too, once again, the equilibrium, the injection of slower pieces is nothing but a surplus in every single aspect: atmosphere, attitude, experience. Actually, all seven compositions on Chamrosh are comparable in structure and persuasion (!), with quite a lot of variety in structure or tempo, and with that modest yet, at the same time, prominent conviction and professional play-attitude going on. Personally I cannot really point a ‘favourite’ track (for what that might give an added value whatsoever).

Despite the lack of originality, I appreciate the variety, for example within the vocal lines, the changes in tempo, as well as the addition of acoustic or semi-acoustic passages (listen to the one in I & My Serpents, for example, to understand what I mean with all things I did just sum up). Do not expect any ‘progressive’ continuation, but focus on a global interpretation of the essence of pure Black Metal.

Lyric-wise, it might not be that strange that mythology, the ancient Middle-Eastern / Zoroastrian way, is the main influence on the textual side, and I cannot end this review with at least writing a word on the qualitative side of the sound: hail and praise! Seriously, the production equals the Nordic one, being well-balancing in between roughness and professional. The sound is just superb, with a grandiose mix of all instrumental elements involved, but it lacks of the sickness called ‘clinical stupidity’. Do not expect an über-clean pathetic sound, nor a wet-dungeon or empty-container sound whatsoever; the production on Chamrosh is a highlight, focusing on the essence of how this kind of material must sound like.

Is there anything wrong on this album, something negative I can say? Well, let’s conclude with the confirmation of the opposite, for I am truly impressed with this album. Sina seems to ‘grow’ each time, again and again, with each release, and despite the marvellous result of the former From The Vastland releases (or at least the ones I know – I haven’t heard -honestly- all of them (yet)), I like this one even more than any former one (note: this isn’t but a personal opinion, but this is my review, so accept or f***).

Thanks to Immortal Frost Productions for your patience, and your excellent musical taste!