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Working alone (or mostly so), Sina began writing and recording black metal in Iran many years ago under the name From the Vastland, indulging his love of old school Scandinavian black metal in a place where the performance of such music was banned by the government. From the beginning, he has made the culture of his homeland a part of his creations, writing lyrical themes that draw upon ancient Persian mythology and history — epic tales of battles between darkness and light, good and evil, gods and devils — and weaving touches of Persian melody into the fabric of his songs.


Life for Sina took an unexpected turn when he was contacted by the Norwegian producer of the black metal documentary Blackhearts (eventually released in 2017) and became a part of that film, which in turn led to the opportunity in 2013 to perform at the Inferno Festival in Oslo. There he was joined for the performance by a backing band that included such luminaries as bassist Tjalve (Horizon Ablaze, Svartelder, ex-1349, ex-Den Saakaldte) guitarist Destructhor (Nordjevel, Myrkskog, ex-Morbid Angel), and drummer Vyl (Whoredome Rife, ex-Keep of Kalessin, Gorgoroth). And that in turn led to the opportunity for Sina to move to Norway, which he did in 2014.


From his new home in the cradle of black metal, Sina has continued to record and to perform at both Norwegian events and international festivals. His newest album, The Hath Khan, will be jointly released on April 30 by Satanath Records and Iron, Blood And Death Corporation — and today we present a lyric video for the new album’s opening track, “Khan e Aval“.


The Haft Khan is a concept album based on one of the stories from Shahnameh (The Book of Kings), a great epic masterpiece poem, and the most notable piece of Persian literature, which was written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between c. 977 and 1010 CE.


The Haft Khan narrates seven difficult challenges confronted by Rostam, the greatest of the Persian heroes, as he and his legendary horse Rakhsh journey toward the land of Mazandaran — the land of all demons — to save and free the king (Kei Kavus) and his army, who have been captured and blinded by the spell of the White Demon. The tale culminates in a final battle between Rostam and the White Demon, with the fate of the king and his army hanging in the balance.


The song we’re premiering today, as the one that launches the album, thus begins the epic story as it is narrated through the lyrics and the music of The Haft Khan. The lyrics of this track quickly set the stage, recounting the White Demon’s blinding and capture of the king and his army, imprisoning them in Mazandaran. We are also introduced to the hero Rostam and his horse Rakhsh, who together ride like the wind toward Mazandaran in an effort  to free the king.


As night falls in a forest, Rostam faces his first test. After lying down to get some sleep, with his sword close by, Rostam is awakened when a fierce lion attacks Rakhsh, who quickly puts an end to the assailant. Rostam tends to his wounded horse and then remounts at sunrise to continue the journey toward the White Demon and his legion of demons.


On the new album Sina is again joined by Tjalve on bass, and by the drummer Spektre (Gaahls Wyrd, Svartelder, Horizon Ablaze), both of whom make vital contributions to the music. Musically, “Khan e Aval” is an electrifying experience. With only a single diversion that coincides with the narration of what happens to the hero and his horse during the night in the forest, the song is a ferocious conflagration of sound, a breathtaking combination of wild, incendiary riffing, frantic bass notes, blistering drumwork, and scalding, serrated-edge snarls. The feverish whirling riffs burn with searing emotional intensity but also have an “epic” quality, a feeling of heroic grandeur that’s in line with the nature of the narrative, and the drumming is riveting throughout the song.


The one digression comes at the center of the song, as night falls in the narrative. The pacing slows, the bass rises in prominence, the voice drops to a low growl, and a mysterious arpeggio conjures both moonlight and menace. The song’s finale is a momentous symphonic piece that’s clearly leading us into the album’s second chapter, and thus ends abruptly — and surely will leave listeners eager to experience what happens next.





Shame on me for not having any idea that this band existed up until now! Upon discovering that it was spearheaded by a fellow Iranian named Sina who has since relocated to Norway and teamed up with Tjalve of prior 1349 fame on bass and Kevin Kvåle  from Gaahls Wyrd going by "Spektre" (both are also from Horizon Ablaze), I said to myself that I had to give this band a fair shake, and also stayed complete unbiased with the cultural connection. Although I am a human being so having a little bias is only natural, but for the sake of being professional, I decided to keep it squashed.


"The Haft Khan" translates to "The Seven Khans", a title of the utmost high nobility, and in The West Genghis Khan is the most well-known reference point for this sublime moniker. The songs titles play out indeed from one to seven, each one a trial and tribulation for the mythical hero Rostam, who is a creation of the mind of the legendary poet Ferdowsi and His "Shahnameh (Book of Kings)", Iran's national poem and an archive of Persian native vocabulary which had sadly been subdued by centuries of Arab occupation and conversion of the national religion from Zoroastrianism to Islam. Sina has told the tale of Rostam through lengthy yet captivating tracks of very melodic black metal and even some Middle Eastern and Southwest Asian style riffing comes into play, adding to the mythical and folkloric ambiance of what is exhibit here. Everything screams of black metal orthodoxy and even a good bit of heavy metal feelings are interlaced throughout the record, indicating to us that Sina means serious business about both his heritage and his music. And the lengthy tracks only do his agenda right, pushing the legend of Rostam and what pain and strife he must endure to even greater heights. This is black metal, this is Ancient Iran, and this is they glory of a culture that has been around since time immemorial meshing with a music style that will surely be with us faithful for all eternity!


Sina did a fantastic job capturing the spirit of The Shahnameh and the essence and soul of ancient Iranian culture. Commissioning a pair of Norway's finest to assist it the storytelling was also a most wise maneuver, for they have added great to the atmosphere and overall presentation of the package with and assured certainly that adheres to Sina's vision, I have no doubt. Now all I want to do is explore further into From The Vastland's discography, and trust me, I am about to indulge in all of the rest of the arsenal right now!





Iranian-Norwegian black metallers From The Vastland have unleashed a brand new track from their forthcoming album, The Haft Khan. The song, entitled "Khan e Sheshom", is one of the finest examples of a contemporary black metal band showing honor and reverence to the very best of the second wave of Norwegian black metal.


Not since Whoredom Rife's Nid – Hymner Av Hat has a Norwegian band captured the most vital and fundemental elements that form to create the blackened art of black metal proper.


Now based in Oslo, From The Vastland features Iranian-born songwriter/vocalist/guitarist, Sina Winter. Joining Sina are two of Norway's finest in Tjalve (ex-1349/Den Saakaldte – bass), and Spektre (Gaahl's WYRD – drums). Through their combined efforts, The Haft Khan hits every nerve throughout its seven tracks – much in the same way early Satyricon, Emperor, and Gorgoroth could effortlessly erect the hairs on the back of one's neck.


The Haft Khan is a concept album based on one of the stories from the great epic masterpiece poem, Shahnameh (The Book Of Kings – one of the world's oldest epic poems). This writing was penned by the Persian poet Ferdowsi (between c. 977 and 1010 CE). The story of The Haft Khan is chock full of metaphors and symbols that represent some of the most important characters, legends and myths in ancient Persian mythology and history.


The Haft Khan drops on April 30th via Satanath Records, and features the stunningly-dark artwork of Kjell Åge Meland. Mixing and mastering of the album was handled by Marius Strand (Svartjern, Borknagar, Abyssic, etc).



To the surprise of no one, From the Vastland continues to provide the world with top-notch black metal. Sina, originally from Iran and now residing in Norway, is a modern master of riffs, and knows how to perfectly recapture that second-wave glory while still retaining his own sound.




Mit ihrem sechsten Album THE HAFT KHAN legt die iranisch – norwegische Black Metal Band FROM THE VASTLAND ein Konzeptabum vor, das sich mit einem großen Stück persischer Literatur beschäftigt, “Shahnameh (The Book of Kings – One of the world’s longest epic poems)”. Somit verwundert es auch nicht, dass sich im doch meist relativ Old School klingenden Sound ein paar orientalische Verweise wiederfinden.


Mit ihrem 2018er Album “Daevayasna” konnten mich die Black Metaller wie aus dem Nichts überraschen, sind sie aber in Norwegen ein recht bekannter und erfolgreicher Act. Unter anderem wurden sie 2014 für den Metal Hammer Golden Gods Award nominiert.


Für den iransichen Bandkopf Sina ist das neue Werk schon etwas besonderes und spezielles, erzählt das Album doch die Geschichte des größten persischen Helden “Rostam” und beschreibt in den sieben Songs die sieben schweren Aufgaben die der Protagonist auf dem Weg zur Befreiung des Königs “Kei Kavuis” bestreiten musste.


Das hört sich erst mal recht wenig nach Black Metal an, doch klingen FROM THE VASTLAND auch hier nach wie vor, so wie guter, alter, norwegischer Black Metal zu klingen hat. Doch andererseits kommt beim Hören aber nie wirklich die “orientalische” Stimmung auf, die auf die eigentliche Geschichte schließen lassen würde. Die wenigen, eingangs erwähnten Verweise sind dann doch zu spärlich.


Nimmt man das mal aus dem Fokus, bieten FROM THE VASTLAND nichts desto Trotz sauberen, mehr als anständigen Black Metal, der seinen großen Vorbildern selten nachsteht. Als Highlight bietet sich neben der Schlussnummer Khan e Haftom vor allem Khan e Chaharom an. Nach einem geheimnisvollen und spannenden Intro legt das Trio ganz im Stile von ‘Dissection’ los wie die Feuerwehr. Tempowechsel, geniale Riffs und abwechslungsreicher Gesang prägen das Stück. Für mich mit Abstand die stärkste Nummer auf der Platte.


Auch der Rest kann sich hören lassen. Immer wieder blitzen starke (wenn auch hier und da vielleicht bekannte oder wiederholende) Riffs auf, der Beginn von Khan e Sheshom ist ein wahrer Leckerbissen für Freunde des nordisch-eisigen Black Metals. FROM THE VASTLAND verstehen es aber auch durch geschickte Tempounterbrechungen die Spannung stets aufrecht zu halten.


Ich kenne die Geschichte nicht, um die es sich laut eigenen Aussagen auf THE HAFT KHAN dreht. Um so schwerer fällt es mir, mich in die persische Geschichte hineinzuversetzen. Würde es sich um einen nordischen Gott oder Helden drehen, klänge die Nummer um einiges authentischer. So bleibt doch ein kleinen Fragezeichen. An der musikalischen Darbietung an sich habe ich aber wenig auszusetzen.




Questi ultimi tempi, che noi tutti sappiamo essere stati difficili, hanno avuto dei tenui risvolti positivi. Innanzitutto, chi era subissato di lavoro, ha forse potuto prendersi una pausa e ascoltare molta più musica del solito, in una monotona quotidianità dal retrogusto amaro. Ma un risvolto negativo di questo risvolto positivo è stato l’accorgersi della banalità imperante che serpeggia tra le release, una banalità che va spesso a braccetto con le formule ripetitive diventate ormai degli standard per alcuni generi e sottogeneri. Ci sono però delle eccezioni, delle band che producono album fedeli alla linea, studiati e curati, band che un tempo avremmo definito “da acquistare a scatola chiusa”. Per il sottoscritto, i From The Vastland sono una di queste.


Sono passati soltanto due anni dall’ultimo ‘Daevayasna’ e quel disco, se non ci fossero i file digitali, ormai sarebbe massacrato, una costellazione di graffi e strisci degni dell’action painting pollockiano. E adesso, in questo funesto 2020, la band iraniana di nascita ma norvegese d’adozione si ripresenta con ‘The Haft Khan’. Sapete, la cosa più bella degli album dei From The Vastland è andare a leggersi le informazioni che accompagnano il pacchetto promozionale. Parliamoci chiaro, di solito questi foglietti illustrativi dei dischi valgono poco più dei bugiardini dei medicinali, non interessano pressoché a nessuno e quando li apri cominci a fare gli scongiuri perché dentro ci siano se non altro la line-up e la tracklist scritte correttamente. Sì, perché di solito è tutta una solfa di “il più grande album della band”, “qualcosa di rivoluzionario”, “da dopo questo disco il metal non sarà più lo stesso”, e via dicendo. Banalità e formule ripetitive, si diceva poc’anzi.

Invece, coi From The Vastland, si va sempre al sodo. Si scopre che stavolta Sina Winter, fondatore e mente del gruppo, ha voluto lanciarsi in un concept album, prendendo in prestito una delle storie dal Shāh-Nāmeh, antichissima opera poetica di Firdusi ed epica dei paesi di lingua persiana. ‘The Haft Khan’ narra infatti delle sette fatiche di Rostam, il coraggioso tra i coraggiosi, in sella allo stallone Rakhsh vaga nelle lande di Mazandaran per salvare il sovrano Kay Kāvus e il suo esercito, catturati e accecati da un sortilegio del Demone Bianco. Sette, un numero che a noi occidentali riporta alla mente le fatiche di Ercole. Sette, come le tracce presenti sul disco.


Insomma, ci troviamo di fronte a una storia che, come sempre, è tutto tranne che scontata. Il marchio di fabbrica dei From The Vastland. Una solidità di contenuto che va a integrarsi con la consueta corposità e decisione sonora, che non si discosta un millimetro dal sound che la band ha mostrato sin dallo stupendo esordio di ‘Darkness vs. Light, The Perpetual Battle’, risalente ormai al 2011. Lo stesso ‘The Haft Khan’ si presenta come un affresco di un paesaggio rovente dipinto con un pennello di ghiaccio. Il calore delle leggende nei testi in contrasto all’algida possanza della musica. Il torrido cuore persiano contenuto nello scrigno di ghiaccio del metallo nero norvegese. E così, affrontiamo le fatiche assieme a Rostam, cullati dalla furia del cantato e dei riff di Sina, coadiuvato dalla sezione ritmica composta ancora da Tjalve (basso, ex-1349) e Spektre (batteria, fresco vincitore dello Spellemann con i Gaahls Wyrd). Un racconto che vorremmo non finisse mai, per rimanere ad assistere alle oniriche imprese di ‘The Haft Khan’.




From the Vastland is a one man Iranian/Norwegian black metal band and this is his sixth album.


We’re familiar with From the Vastland’s work – both 2016’s Chamrosh and 2018’s Daevayasna were enjoyable examples of classic blackened fury. The Haft Khan provides us with another seven songs in a similar vein; 46 minutes of new material to enjoy.


And enjoy we do.


I find From the Vastland’s work effortlessly enjoyable, and always look forward to some new material from this reliable act, (once again rounded out by members of bands such as Horizon Ablaze and Gaahl’s Wyrd).


The songs are easy to absorb if you’re a fan of the style. Influenced by the second wave, yet featuring enough modern elements to keep itself relevant, this is a collection of tracks that spit venom and breathe fire. The release is a concept album, and Persian influences are used well across the running time.


Based on an underpinning framework of fiery speed and engaging melodies, the songs are well-written and combine aggression and atmosphere well. When the music slows down the quality levels don’t, with spiky riffs leading the way like barbed harbingers of destruction. Occasional lighter or more atmospheric sections add texture, and overall the album flows very nicely.


The vocals sound exactly as you’d want them to, viciously tearing out of the music with high screams and deeper roars. The singer sounds better than ever.


There’s nothing here not to like as far as I’m concerned. In fact, I’d probably go as far as to say that this is better than the previous two releases, (which themselves were no slackers in the quality department). Another strong, (strongest?), album from an underrated band. Make sure you check out The Haft Khan.




Με Ιρανικό διαβατήριο, το Νορβηγικό σχήμα των From The Vastland κυκλοφορεί φέτος την έκτη του κυκλοφορία. Με ενεργό δράση στη σύγχρονη σκηνή της Σκανδιναβίας και με βοηθητικά μέλη από τους Gaahl's Wyrd και τους Horizon Ablaze, η μπάντα του Sina, έπειτα από μόλις ενάμιση χρόνο φέρνει το "The Haft Khan".



To εναρκτήριο "Khan E Aval" καταφέρνει με τους ψυχρούς του ήχους να δώσει και κάτι πιο μυστηριακό, σε ένα σχετικά παλιομοδίτικο ηχητικό μοτίβο που θυμίζει τους πρώιμους DHG. Τα καταιγιστικά του riffs ποικίλουν ενώ δε λείπουν και μερικά πιο heavy περάσματα, δίνοντας έτσι πάσα στο "Khan E Dovom" με το βαρύ και ωμό του ύφος που σπάει λίγο στη μέση με μερικά ατμοσφαιρικά περάσματα που σπάνε τη μονοτονία.


Το "Khan E Sevom" μέσα στους σφυροκοπημένους του ρυθμούς δίνει και μερικά groove-ατα στοιχεία για να ζεστάνει το κλίμα, τιμώντας την Περσική Κουλτούρα, αν και το "Khan E Chacharom" δίνοντας περισσότερη έμφαση κάνει με τους ήχους και τις εικόνες του πιο πολεμικό το όλο σκηνικό. Στο "Khan E Panjom" τα πράγματα δε δίνουν κάποια νέα τροπή, αλλά ακολουθεί πιστά την μοχθηρή και διαολεμένη πεπατημένη του δεύτερου κύματος του μαυρομεταλλικού ήχου με πατημένα τα γκάζια γεμάτα δυσαρμονίες.


Χωρίς δραστικές αλλαγές αλλά με ανατολίτικες φόρμες σε αυτό το ταυτόσημο με τη Νορβηγία ήχο, το "Khan E Sheshom", λίγο πριν το τέλος κάνει αμείωτο το ενδιαφέρον, αφού αυτά τα ιδιαίτερα ethnic στοιχεία πλάι σε μερικές ακουστικές κιθάρες δημιουργούν κάτι μοναδικό και σχεδόν ασυνήθιστο με το κλασικό black metal κάνοντας και το ίδιο το σύνολο πιο ποικίλο. Τέλος, το "Khan E Haftom" κλείνει το άλμπουμ με συρτά riffs και βασανισιτκές διαθέσεις, σε ένα μυστηριακό περίβλημα γεμάτο ψυχοτρόπες κλιμακώσεις και ατμοσφαιρικές πινελιές που σε ζαλίζουν.


Χαίρομαι που ξαναβλέπω τους From The Vastland να δίνουν στοιχεία από την παράδοση του ιθύνοντος νου τους, μπλέκοντας με όμορφο και ιδιαίτερα αριστοτεχνικό τρόπο την Περσική παράδοση με τα μοτίβα του ντεμπούτου τους και το παγωμένο μουσικό ύφος της Σκανδιναβίας. Αν με λίγα λόγια μπορούσε γενικευμένα να χαρακτηριστεί ο ήχος του εν λόγω δίσκου, θα ήταν ένα μπλέξιμο των Darkthrone με τους Melechesh. Κλείνοντας, όλα όσα συμβαίνουν στο "The Haft Khan" δείχνουν πως μιλάμε για την πιο ώριμη δουλειά της μπάντας, αφού κάνει το black metal να "χαμαιλεοντίζει'' πίσω από διάφορα πράγματα χωρίς να αντιγράφει κάτι.








Shāhnāmé de Ferdousí es la gran obra de la poesía persa, en ésta, el poeta Ferdousí relata la historia de Irán y sus religiones antiguas “zoroastrismo”, y éste escrito es precisamente la inspiración del álbum The Haft Khan (2020); no es de extrañar que la banda From The Vastland enfoque sus baterías hacia este poema; ya que su líder y fundador Sina es iraní.


From The Vastland ya nos había enviado un mensaje claro en sus álbumes Darkness vs. Light, the Perpetual Battle (2011) y Kamarikan (2013), con letras enfocadas a recordar la cultura persa, la mitología y la raíz religiosa más antigua del Persia; el zoroastrismo. Sina en esta ocasión se rodea de músicos reconocidos de la escena del metal noruego, Tjalve (Horizon Ablaze, Pantheon I, entre otras) ataca el bajo, Tjalve acompaña a Sina como músico de sesión desde el álbum Temple of Daevas (2014), Kevin  Kvåle (como ”Spekte” en Gaahls Wyrd, Harm, Horizon Ablaze) en la batería, está con From The Vastland desde el álbum Chamrosh (2016).


Sina en este 2020 termina de consagrar a From The Vastland con su sexto álbum The Haft Khan, editado el 30 de abril por Satanath Records. Es un álbum pletórico, rico en sonidos old school con pinceladas orientales, rodeando de las ya épicas historias del Shāhnāmé.


The Haft Khan nos adentra en un viaje sonoro con el track No. 1 ”Khan e Aval”, ¡por el mismo Zoroastro, que brutalidad!, guitarras aplastantes crean un estado de hipnosis caótico del que sólo la batería de ”Spekte” nos logra sacar; Sina nos ofrece toda una plegaria vocal con su color de voz peculiar, en algunos pasajes Sina deja de cantar para simplemente narrar, lo que hace de este tema una montaña de emociones, que desciende al finalizar con unas melodías más relajantes y tranquilas, pero no te confíes, segundos después From The Vastland crea una explosión con el tema ”Khan e Dovom”, rayos guitarreros por doquier y el bajo de Tjalve se alinea con los tambores de ”Spekte” con la firme intención de martirizar, cuando crees que ya todo está perdido llega la tranquilidad con una atmósfera que nos hace recordar que estamos frente a un trabajo genuinamente original; éste tema Khan e Dovom es la prueba fehaciente que el sonido del Black Metal actual aún tiene mucho que dar.


Como si esto fuera poco, From The Vastland continua glorificando este álbum con el tema ”Khan e Sevom”, una marcha abismal que nos conduce al terreno más brutal de From The Vastland, con un sonido a la vieja usanza del Black Metal, mezcla de agresividad y rapidez; Sina nos entrega una versión rabiosa de su voz, mientras que las cuerdas y los cueros de la banda se entregan a toda una atronadora descarga; en este preciso momento, en el minuto 17:41 la batería de ”Spekte” inicia el camino para el tema ”Khan e Chaharom” con unos redobles tipo marcha de guerra. Sina y Tjalve nos traen uno de los momentos más memorables de todo el álbum, un tema que me hace recordar a los temerarios noruegos 1349; no en vano Tjalve fue el guitarrista (1997-2006) de 1349; puro y físico Black Metal en un estado superlativo. No exagero al decir que el tema Khan e Chaharom puede ser el mejor referente del sonido From The Vasltland.


”Khan e Panjom”, quinto track del álbum, no es la excepción en esta constante de The Haft Khan; Sina nos conduce con su voz a los terrenos de Persia y sus historias, un canto sentido, rabioso; acompañado de unas cuerdas difíciles de olvidar, Sina consagra su hacha con unos riffs dignos de admiración.


Los seguidores más acérrimos de la escuela Black Metal van a encontrar el oasis con  ”Khan e Sheshom”, From The Vastland arremete con todo su poder para que no quede la menor duda que nos encontramos frente a una gran banda; guitarras filosas y agudas devoran nuestras mentes, bajo y batería en su estado de caos del más puro; ”Spekte”, para mi concepto logra las baterías más rápidas y brutales de todo el álbum.


El séptimo y último himno que nos trae From The Vastland en su álbum The Haft Khan,  ”Khan e Haftom”, Sina decide relatar de manera pausada el epílogo de este trabajo conceptual, pero no logra llegar al final del mismo cuando es interrumpido de manera abrupta por el ensordecedor sonido de guitarra, bajo y batería que se enfrascan en un diluvio de riffs, golpes de tambor y cuatro cuerdas desesperadas; Sina contraataca nuevamente en su relato, toda una muestra de creatividad compositiva; es lo último que nos deja From The Vastland; 45:52 minutos es el tiempo total de duración del álbum The Haft Khan. From The Vastland rebasan los límites, podría decirse que es una obra maestra lo que han logrado con este álbum.


La temática, la música, la creación, la intencionalidad; el remolino de relatos épicos, históricos, religiosos y emocionales conjugados con la música de From The Vasltand hacen de The Haft Khan uno de los mejores álbumes lanzados este 2020, sin lugar a dudas.




Since moving from Tehran to Trondheim From the Vastland mainman Sina has put his obvious talents – aided and abetted by some of Norway’s most (in)famous – to good use by taking up the baton of 2nd/3rd wave Black Metal, even as many of the bands who first epitomised the scene have died off, burned out, or transformed beyond all recognition.


On the one hand this means that From the Vastland (and The Haft Khan is no exception) doesn’t really offer any amazingly original twists or surprises, and if you’re at all familiar with the Norwegian Black Metal scene of the late ’90s and early 2000s – think Mayhem, Keep of Kalessin, 1349, and, particularly, Gorgoroth – then you’ll likely recognise a lot of the tools and musical motifs which Sina uses to create his pleasingly raw, yet mercilessly melodic, sound.


But, that being said, the man clearly isn’t trying to be a trailblazer. He’s a torchbearer, dedicated to (almost) single-handedly keeping the spark of Black Metal, of a certain time and a certain era, alive.


And, you know what? There are far worse goals to have in life, especially when you’re this good at it.


Ultimately there’s a lot to love here. Some great riffs. Some hideously infectious grooves. And some bold, bombastic hooks which, nevertheless, absolutely bristle with blackened menace. But, more than anything else, it’s the man’s obvious passion for this style of music which shines through on every single track, and which proves you don’t have to innovate in order to impress.





Iran/Norway's  From  The  Vastland  have  returned  with  a  new  recording  which  continues  the  raw  and  melodic  style of  black  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2020  album  "The  Haft  Khan"  which  will  be  released  on  April  30th  as  a  joint  effort  between  Satanath  Records  and  Iron,  Blood  And  Death  Corporation.


  A  very  dark,  heavy  and  melodic  sound  starts  off  the  album  before  going  into  a  very  fast  and  raw  musical  direction  which  also  uses  a  great  amount  of  tremolo  picking  and  blast  beats.  Vocals  are  mostly  grim  sounding  black  metal  screams  and  the  music  also  adds  in  a  decent  amount  of  90's  influences  but  keeps  it  modern  at  the  same  time.


  Throughout  the  recording  you  can  also  hear  a  decent  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  while  all  of  the  musical  instruments  also  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.  Some  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  while  one  song  introduces  clean  playing  onto  the  recording.


  Spoken  word  pars  can  also  be  heard  briefly  on  a  couple  of  tracks  along  with  the  solos  and  leads  being  done  in  a  very  melodic  style as  well  as  one  track  also  adding  in  a  small  amount  of  militant  beats  and  dark  soundscapes  before  returning  back  to  a  heavier  direction,  some  tracks  also  add  in  some  rain  and  thunder  sounds  and  classical  guitars  can  also  be  heard  briefly  on  the  closing  songs.  The  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the lyrics  cover  Zoroastrianism  and  the  mythologies  of  Persia  and  Mesopotamia.


  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  album  from  From  The  Vastland  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  raw  and  melodic  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  recording.




With a bloodthirsty Persian army in tow, Sina Winter has stepped onto the windswept battlegrounds of Norway. Originally from Tehran, Iran, From the Vastland commander Sina left his homeland on a pilgrimage to Norway, the birthplace of modern black metal. Sina’s consummation with Norwegian extreme metal spawned an incubus: From the Vastland was born. Their sinister creation blends ancient Persian mythology and modern black metal blasphemy into a destructive force of unnatural chaos.


I had the tremendous fortune to meet Sina when living in Trondheim: we attended a film screening of the black metal documentary Blackhearts (starring him) in the mountains of western Norway in August 2016. He, and co-writer and co-director of Blackhearts Christian Falch, related an essential piece of knowledge to me: black metal is about the mindset first and the music merely supports it. I have carried this concept with me since that day. Sina, and the rest of From the Vastland, embody this meaning more than many of the contemporary acts with whom they compete, and they have delivered an inspired and meaningful force in The Haft Khan.



Sina Winter, right, (From the Vastland) and Christian Falch, left, (Blackhearts) in August, 2016, east of Hell, Norway. Photo credit Andrew Keene.

Haft Khān-e Rostam (Persian: هفت خوان رستم ) translates to The Seven Labors of Rostam, and tells the story of epic Persian hero, Rostam, who engages the evil Mazandarani daevas of the north after they have captured the Shah and imprisoned his army. Through these seven labors (for which the songs on The Haft Khan are named), Rostam and his mighty horse, Rakhsh, succeed in bringing the Mazandaranis and their leader, the White Demon, to justice. From the Vastland blast through the gates with vengeance: the first tracks rip at the eardrums just as Rostam slashes mythical lions and dragons at the start of his journey. His gore-covered hilt is quickly cleansed with ominous melodies, as they duel with Sina’s dripping growls in a down-tuned slow passage of thoughtfulness. Deep, throaty sermons channel an inner manifest destiny, as Rostam receives divine guidance to continue his quest. The fourth track, “Khan e Chaharom,” showcases Sina’s growls as slower and less frenetic than before, contrasting with searing riffs layered on top of each other to form an inverted escalator to hell. This track highlights the varied expertise of Spektre (also of Gaahlswyrd) on drums: transitioning from pummeling blast-beats to soulful interludes, this kit-basher nails his wicked resume to the White Demon’s forehead with every vicious strike.


Rostam’s quest pivots for its most rewarding stages with the fourth labor. He trades lengthy travel and mythical creatures for the undeniable pleasure of setting his people free and destroying their captors. In parallel, The Haft Khan‘s most insatiable moments come in these final three tracks. Sina seethes with enraged, belabored snarls behind searing distorted riffs, combing the black heavens and unleashing unrivaled rath. “Khan e Panjom” comes to a crushing halt when a static-laden deluge flash floods the scene, infused with early Watain-inspired guitar-work of despair and Tjalve’s (ex-1349) crushing bass lines. A disembodied voice urges Rostam on the path of calculated murder: he kills the Mazandarani champion Olad and the demon chief Arzhang Div as narrated by Sina’s piercing calls from beyond.


Standout track, “Khan e Sheshom,” blisters onto the scene with a melody from the far-east on speed. Blinded by the curses of the demons he has slain, Rostam has entered the mythical city of Mazanderan to free the Shah and his army, marching to the confident beat of From the Vastland‘s chorus of carnage. A galloping staccato of clean notes carries some of Sina’s deepest menace on the entire album, while blast-beats take a back seat for a moment to allow it to shine. The listener is straitjacketed by the entanglement of pace and production, until the divine words are spoken: “the seventh labor is about to begin.” At this moment, volcanic fire is extinguished in a beautiful acoustic outro, reminiscent of Dissection‘s “Crimson Towers.” The seventh labor is structured with chugging, churning, crushing chords that belie the impending slaughter: Rostam begins his final approach towards the White Demon, scarlet-stained sword in hand. This track brings a decisive conclusion to The Haft Khan, as Sina’s final growls dissipate into the wind as a discomforting quiet disseminates across the valley of the vanquished White Demon.


From the Vastland boldly conquers Norway’s steely landscape with resolute armies of Persian myth. Intertwining elements of aggressive, raw black metal with progressive, melodic passages, The Haft Khan confidently racks an emblazoned weapon into From the Vastland‘s growing repertoire of sharpened blades. Sina does not go softly into the night: he has an entire catalog of Persian mythology for inspiration, and some of Norway’s most bloodied brothers-in-arms backing him up. Await with trepidation From the Vastland‘s future spawn.