Epic of Sorrow

Ragnarok Records 2008

From the isolation of a extreme land, the perfect breeding ground for a deep pit of musical despair and hatred, comes this 4 song EP from long-running Iranian black metal band Aras.  As I understand it this was originally recorded in 2006 but later released on CD in 2008.  The opening track, Sholehaye Sard, dwells in similar fields as middle era Burzum, simplistic synths adding layers of atmosphere to slowly shifting and a somewhat repetitive set of riffs.  The Vocals are as grim and dry as the desert sands.   Even more reminiscent of Burzum is the next song, Rakhte Khak.  The keyboards form a melancholy backdrop to midtempo, fuzzed out riffs.  A synth break instantly calls to mind Gehenna's First Spell album with its swirling mysticism.  Speaking of First Spell, an even stronger reference is summoned by the magically triumphant keys on Nefrine Rood.  Thicker guitars and a bouncy rhythm solidify this link though it does not sound like a clone.  The EP closes out with my favorite track, Raghse Baad.  Fuzzy guitars and flowing keyboards lend the song an almost Transilvanian Hunger styled melody and paints a landscape that is cold and barren.  Not surprisingly a drum machine is used on this release and at times it can be somewhat distracting.  I understand the need for secrecy and such with a band from Iran but hopefully future releases have a more natural sound to the drums.  Not an amazing release, but a solid EP of Nordic infused black metal which is imbued with an even stronger quality of dedication being as the artist behind this bleak darkness is in Iran.