For sure being one of my favourite bands from the Middle-East, From The Vastland actually hail from Iran, although band leader Sina lives in Norway nowadays. The guy started this outfit in 2010 and throughout almost a decade of existence, he wrote and recorded some very nice stuff. From The Vastland debuted in 2011 with Darkness Vs. Light, The Perpetual Battle (Arx Productions), followed in 2013 by Kamarikan (Indie Recordings, reviewed for this site by a former Concreteweb member; see http://www.concreteweb.be/reviews/vastland), Temple Of Daevas (Non Serviam Records, 2014), Blackhearts (Symbol Of Domination Productions, Hexenreich Records and Sphera Noctis Records; 2015 – see: http://www.concreteweb.be/reviews/vastland-0), and Chamrosh (in 2016 via Immortal Frost Productions; http://www.concreteweb.be/reviews/vastland-1).
For his newest creation, Sina signed to Satanath Records and The Eastern Front, and once again he worked together with bassist Tjalve and drummer Spektre (both of them notorious musicians from Norwegian soil, as you know) (and I read somewhere that also Destructhor assisted this time). Sina wrote all music and lyrics, like usually, and took care of recording, mix and mastering himself. Even quite some of the artwork has been done by the guy himself. Daevayasna (a Zoroastrian definition that has to do with anti-religion or demonism, if I am not mistaken) comes in an edition of 500 copies, including a twelve-page booklet with the lyrics, and with mysterious and ominous front cover artwork. The seven tracks last all about six to seven minutes, clocking forty-seven minutes in totality.
Daevayasna continues the heroic path of the past. I can be quite short and to the point when reviewing this newest collection of epic hymns, for it stands for firm and melodic Nordic-styled Second Wave Black Metal. Voila, it’s that simple… Seriously, I am not kidding, for this album brings a pure form of what made Scandinavia in general, and Norway more specifically, that attractive during the first half of the Nineties (and before that era, and afterwards as well, of course; but that’s another story). There is a lot of variation in speed, with everything in between slow passages, faster excerpts, up to aggressive outbursts. And all this does happen within each single composition on Daevayasna. Take the opening track Fall Into Duzakh, for example, with all these different chapters when it comes to tempo, yet with much more to experience too. It goes for all pieces, this diversity in tempo, the variation in melodic structure, the additional elements (spoken words, acoustics etc.) (not always as inventive, yet pure and honest)
I do feel the honesty, the emotional identity of this album. It is a way to express himself, Sina, the guy behind From The Vastland, to deal with his feelings, ideas and memories. And that’s something that impresses me (once more), because, you know, it is fabulous to notice the combination of great writing skills + performance, and that expression of deep-true emotions, fused within the sonic part. Besides, the sound quality strengthens the whole concept. At the one hand, the production is like this was recorded in the Nineties (cf. that guitar sound, for instance), just more professional and less noisy. Great! On top of it, the mix is top-notch: a perfect balance for each element, never exaggerating, leaving room for all ingredients: both electric and acoustic guitars, the whole rhythm section (Tjalve and Spectre are great musicians, and they are not just ‘background musicians’ within this story, but full-fledged members for sure!), the vocal parts… The latter, by the way, the vocals, are quite diverse, mostly in a blackened tradition, yet also deeply grunting from time to time, spoken (also through different tongues) or whispered.
Anyway, fuck originality, and praise the greatness of the purity of Old! Do not expect anything renewing or progressive, for this album pays tribute to tradition. And hey, with such mighty quality (song writing, performance and sound), this isn’t but a recommendation in case you adore timeless (it surely is) old styled Black Metal with a Nordic twist!
Personal favourite, for what it’s worth: the monumental yet horrifying track The Cadavers Tower…