There is a lot of excellent Extreme Metal out there and I am privileged to cross paths with it on a daily basis but there are some places where this level of musical freedom is neither permitted nor enjoyed. This, however, doesn't stop it being produced in secret but at great risk to those involved. One of the best examples it has been my privilege and joy to hear is 'Kamarikan' by 'From The Vastland', a one man Black Metal project from Iranian musician, Sina. After ten years in the Iranian underground Black Metal scene his debut album 'Darkness vs. Light, The Perpetual Battle' was released in 2011 through a Ukrainian label, now with a Norwegian label, 'Kamarikan' is his follow up album.
All seven tracks are written and performed from start to finish by Sina who, whilst creating a very classic Norwegian style Black Metal, takes his inspiration from the Mythology of Persia and Mesopotamia. The album has taken a year to create, something that reflects in the finished product. From the opening chords of the first track 'The Ahriman Wizard' everything is tight precise and well constructed and such is the effective placing of the reflective, quiet segments on this track, they not only break up the intense blackened overview, they also amplify the intensity. This level of quality and attention to detail is maintained throughout all the tracks.
The thunderous sound-bite that opens 'Call of the Mountain Battle' gives a darkened ominous atmosphere before the intense guitar work even begins and the solitary pounding drum beat adds a feel of a battle march, tied together with venomous vocals. 'Darkness All Over the World' opens on a terrifying, devilish, gurgling scream, just one aspect of the impressive vocal range achieved across the album by Sina, consisting of growls, screams, dark spoken and more, all executed to perfection.
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Title track 'Kamarikan (Daevas Corps)'has a dark terrifying opener of evil distorted vocalisations, followed by dirty distorted riffs that rise and fall alongside more harrowing vocals. Gentle opening guitar work builds with ominous intensity on 'Night Sentinel ', the initial phrasing of the ominous pauses adds much to the dark atmosphere that is building within the sound. A great track that is much like a journey, given the different atmospheres created with the different tempo and directional changes, fading away gently in the same manner that it arrived.
'Realm of Cadaver Sovereign' arrives at maximum intensity from the offset, some great segments ranging from the very epic, with spoken lyrics and waves of chugging guitars, to slow reflective ones always returning to the dirty, intensity with which it began.
Final track 'Vortex of Empty Cosmos' has a haunting windblown intro before the spiralling dirty guitars and gut wrenchingly acidic vocals tear into you for one last time. The track trails away in the second half, seemingly putting a growing, virtual distance between the listener and the album.
'Kamarikan 'is one of the best Black Metal albums I have heard in a while and one hell of an achievement given the circumstances and the journey undertaken to get to this point. It is also well produced without being over produced, therefore still maintaining that raw Black Metal edge. It is released on the Norwegian label, Indie Recordings, through the “Freedom of Speech – Music Builds bridges” foundation and originally just for sale at Norway's Inferno Festival but was in such high demand it is now being released worldwide and when you listen you will understand why.