(In this post Andy Synn reviews the second album, released earlier this year, by Iranian one-man project From the Vastland.)
When it comes to writing about albums from further afield – in particular those somewhat removed from the terrifying hegemony of Western imperialism (cue scary music) – there’s an occasional tendency for reviews to offer up the sort of opinions that are ultimately damning with faint praise, in the guise of being positive and supportive.
All too often I’ve seen reviewers focus on the “hardships” or “difficulties” of being a metal band from a country where the political or religious climate is far from conducive to it, to the extent that the actual quality of the musical output is considered only as a secondary factor.
Now I’m not saying that Metal should be a genre confined solely to the privileged few of the First World, but what I am saying is that excusing an album’s lack of quality because of its creators’ circumstances is akin to saying “that was good, for a girl” – condescending and ultimately unhelpful. You shouldn’t write a review if you have to lower your standards to give it a positive appraisal. It does everyone involved a disservice.
Thankfully, there’s no such issue with Kamarikan, which is a nasty little phenomenon in its own right. I just felt it was something to bear in mind for the future.