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 Haft 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.
The releasing labels strongly recommend The Haft Khan for fans of Marduk, Gorgoroth, 1349, Immortal, and Belenos. The album’s cover art was painted by Kjell Åge Meland. For more info about the album and how to acquire it, visit the links below. And also check out the album’s previously released third track, “Khan e Sevom”, which you’ll also find below.
FROM THE VASTLAND:
01. Khan e Aval
02. Khan e Dovom
03. Khan e Sevom
04. Khan e Chaharom
05. Khan e Panjom
06. Khan e Sheshom
07. Khan e Haftom
Length – 45:51
album title is The *Haft Khan
Thanks. Now corrected. The perils of being my own editor.