AKVAN - Esfandiyar
Released September 13/18 (Bandcamp)
Exotic Iranian black folk metal on tap here with this two-tracker from one-man band Akvan. Dominus Vizaresa, who was originally born in the U.S.A., but subsequently moved to Iran in his youth, takes the listener here on an auditory trip that will most likely be previously unheard. Taking the rhythms of Iran and utilizing non-traditional heavy metal instruments like setar and tar (along with the traditional bass/guitar/drum format), this is most definitely a unique listening experience.
The title track opener immediately transports you to southwestern Asia, the rhythms and sounds meshing with foundations of black metal seamlessly. Vizaresa's cackle vox assists in grounding the track, ensuring that fans of the sub-genre have something "traditional" to hold onto while imbibing the unconventional sound. The second track ('Barbad's Glory') is a wholly acoustic, short outro that makes it known in no uncertain terms that Vizaresa is not shying away from the sounds of his transplanted country. Intriguing to say the least.