After a two-year hiatus, Sedaye Marg is back to inaugurate Coup d'Etat Communications with Frashogard, the first official CD release for the label. Frashogard has a literal meaning of "renewal" in Zoroastrian lore and the whole strident, clanging, groaning soundtrack has a "laying down a thick layer of napalm across the ruined landscape" sort of cleansing ritual feel to it.
Now I'm no stranger to the sort of Persian-influenced, industrialized soundtrack that is an acerbic commentary on the continuing struggles between the peoples of the Middle East (though, with Sedaye Marg, we're talking Iran), but I have to admit to some ignorance to the details of the events to which Sedaye Marg is referring with this caustic noise-laden soundtrack. The accompaniment to military coups, failed treaties, sudden betrayals, and endless conflict, Frashogard sounds like Muslimgauze re-transmitted through dust-riddled equipment with a PA system that is overdriven in an attempt to hide the fact that most of the mid-range speakers have already been ruptured. "Every Day Is Ashura" hums with such vibrant incessancy and heavy static that the traditional instrumentation is nearly lost in the haze, while the recorded voices are but muffled cries in the distance.
It begins with the lurching monolith of "Lion and Sun," a groaning, creaking monster which drags itself across the floor towards you. Filled with processed synthesizes and discordant metallic tones, "Lion and Sun" is a lurching revenant which you can't be rid of; it follows you, never quite out of reach, never quite out of earshot. It is a track which reminds me of the shuffling insistence of some of Scorn's work, though with a thousand times more metallic bite and not as much sonic rumble. "The Guard of the Immortals" bleeds away into silence, as if we are caught in the trailing wake of the juggernaut as it passes.
While "Betrayal of an Architect" continues with a more gentle susurration of sound, "Governed By Fear" explodes again, sounding like a throw down match between two ancient monsters in the center square of a stone city which has been part of human culture for thousands of years. In the space between songs and in the ambient swell of "Exile," I can feel my head swelling and bubbling from the wicked thrashing I have been giving it. Sedaye Marg's Frashogard is a purifying noise. Not as relentless as some harder proponents of rhythmic noise would cry out for, but Sedaye Marg certainly has the intensity to capture your attention. Passion for music makes for passionate sounds. They aren't all pretty, these sounds, but they certainly tell a story.