Metal Chick of the Month – Başak Ylva

Between love and hate… I’m waiting for you daydreamer…

There’s nothing better than celebrating any type of anniversary with some classy metal music, and here at The Headbanging Moose it couldn’t be any different than that as we celebrate eight years of existence supporting the underground by paying a humble tribute to our beyond amazing metal chick of the month of October. Owner of a stunningly operatic voice, she’s the singer, songwriter and founder of a fantastic Symphonic Metal act that goes by the poetic name of Dream Ocean, as well as a professional Opera singer. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the multi-talented Başak Ylva, also known as Başak C., a woman that will surely put you in a trance with her powerful vocals and stylish music. Are you ready to join Basak and The Headbanging Moose on a very pleasant symphonic journey?

Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, but currently residing in Cologne, the largest city in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Başak began her singing career at the age of seven encouraged by her parents (although they were hoping she would sing traditional Turkish music) in the children’s choir of the TRT (Turkish Radio and Television) and continued it in 2003 as a soprano in the youth classical choir of the TRT. During her high school years, she initially pursued a scientific focus, which she followed in 2004 with a degree in business administration at the University of Istanbul, which she completed in 2008 as a bachelor’s degree. On the advice of her professors, she decided in 2008 to make music her profession and at the age of 23 she started her first bachelor’s degree for her operatic career with Prof. Ayşe Sezerman in Opera singing at the Music Conservatory of Istanbul University as a mezzosoprano. During her studies, she sang as a choir singer in various Opera projects such as Die Opernprobe and Dido and Aeneas, while in 2012 she sang for the first time in Europe at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival under the direction of Rolf Beck, later making her solo debut in 2013 as Susanna in La Nozze di Figaro.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in 2014 in the role of Giovanna Seymour from Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, she began her master’s degree at the University of Music and Dance in Cologne with Professor Mechthild Georg in 2015, where she sang in many different Opera projects such as the literary Opera of the HfMT Cologne, AscheMOND or The Fairy Queen (choir, Opera Wuppertal), Hansel and Gretel (witch, Opera studio of the HfMT Cologne), Dido and Aeneas (Sorceress, Festival of Early Music Knechtsteden) and The Clever Little Fox (Forester and Owl at the Theater Aachen). In addition to her operatic activities, she also performs musicals and film and crossover music with event orchestras. Furthermore, as a choir and solo singer, she was able to gain further experience with conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Helmuth Rilling, Tan Dun and E. Oronzo Estrada in countries such as Brazil, China, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Poland and South Korea.

An accomplished mezzosoprano and vocal coach, an admirer of makeup, interior design, fashion, movies and video games, and a huge supporter of female freedom and empowerment, Başak started her metal music career with Dream Ocean in Turkey in 2009, having “moved” the band to Germany in 2015 to pursue her career as an Opera singer. As she’s the creative mind, lyricist and composer behind the band, it was becoming really hard for her to fly all the time back to Turkey due to the fact she had been working in Germany for three years already. Currently comprised of our beloved diva together with Oz Khan and Borna Matosic on the guitars, Sebastian Heuckmann on bass, Nils Kessen on drums and Sebastian Plück on the keyboards, the band has been on a roll for the past ten years, having already released the EP Daydreamer, in 2012, and the full-length albums Lost Love Symphony, in 2018, and The Missing Stone, now in 2021. Before that, the band was “just a name” according to Başak herself, as they were just entertaining themselves without investing into anything more serious at first. In other words, Dream Ocean was a hobby band where they tried some covers with friends every now and then in the studio, and then she started to write her own songs and got encouraged to take things a lot more serious due to all the positive feedback received. As they were all working in different jobs or studying, and due to their their limited financial situation, they couldn’t record and album and the band was put on hold from 2011 to 2016. In between that they still did concerts and wrote songs, until they were finally able to record their debut album. If you want to have a very good taste of the music by Dream Ocean, you can enjoy several of their official videos on YouTube including Eterna Espera, Uyan, Daydreamer, The Great Silence, Somewhere Untouched, Everstorm, Forever and Beyond The Greed, or you can also stream all of their creations on Spotify.

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As aforementioned, Başak is also a professional Opera singer, using even a different name for her metal career (Başak Ylva, instead of Başak C.) due to the prejudice that still exists in classical music. “I actually try to hide it. Because in the past, I was told that I am dressing too much femme fatale-like, very extravagant. Or that my hair was too red for singing in a church. Or I should not make my hair blond because I am Turkish. Or that I should not wear red lipstick because this was not a job to wear red lipstick. Therefore the classical music branch, especially in Germany, not so much in Sweden or Norway, but in Germany, it is terribly backwards and conservative. And several times, I got severely bullied because of that,” commented our diva. Still regarding her career as an Opera singer, she described the dark moments experienced during the COVID-19 lockdown in Germany. “We performed a couple of performances around September and October. But then the next lockdown came, and the theatre decided to not extend the contracts. And when I thought I was just starting my job and was thinking, I landed in a good opera house, and I could slowly build up my career. And now I was jobless! Like from top to zero. Of course, for me, this is another thing. When I don’t have a job, I am at risk to lose my visa. And I am also helping my brother in Turkey. So everything went down. And I got a big depression. I could not go out for 6 months. I did not sing for 6 months. And I just started to have therapy. Because everything was falling apart in my life. I mean, in everybody’s life, in Sebastian’s too. But for me, my visa and everything is depending on my job. I thought something like, my career has ended. I’m done. They will throw me out of the country.”

Although she doesn’t have any side projects aside from Dream Ocean, Başak mentioned in one of her interviews that she would love to do her own solo crossover project with folk and Celtic touches. However, due to her very busy agenda with Dream Ocean and her career as an Opera singer, she said it will be really tough to actually pursue that. Let’s say that she already does A LOT with both Dream Ocean and her classical career (as you can see in her beautiful repertoire), and that we’re all more than fine with “just” those two projects. And lastly, regarding her influences and idols in music and what inspires her the most to compose her stunning creations, Başak said her introduction to Symphonic Metal happened with Nightwish, plus a local Turkish band called Almôra (which unfortunately split up in 2009). She said she used to listen to those bands and sing along with them, and the final result was so good that later on Almôra found her recordings online and invited her to sing with them in front of a real audience. Moreover, she also expressed her passion for Opera as well, saying that in the end her distinct influences end up complementing each other. “I love Opera because it has another challenging side and gives another satisfaction such as learning very hard, complicated music and then singing it with perfect technique. One is for technicality and the other is for my creativity.” Having said all that, how about we stop right here and go listen to the amazing creations by our metal diva and her Dream Ocean, and also enjoy her awesome performances as an Opera singer? I’m sure you’ll love every single second of her music and get addicted to her distinguished voice.

Başak Ylva’s Official Facebook page
Başak Ylva’s Official Instagram
Başak Ylva’s Official YouTube channel
Dream Ocean’s Official Facebook page
Dream Ocean’s Official Instagram
Dream Ocean’s Official Twitter
Dream Ocean’s Official YouTube channel

“I just want people to know that musicians and the audience – we complete a whole and we’re the same. Having the same struggles and happiness, the same problems and same solutions – one may find the way easier while the other needs to take a second look. But in the end, we meet at the same place, which is the concert hall. There we want to reach them, get to know them, and for them to get to know us. To see that we mean what we play and sing with our words, and while we do this we want to be speaking their words. Things maybe they could never say out loud. We just want people to know that we desire to tell stories and meet with people who ARE the heroes of those stories. We hope we can do this.” – Başak Ylva

Album Review – Diabolizer / Khalkedonian Death (2021)

Turkish torchbearers of diabolical abomination return with their first-ever full-length opus, blasting our souls with eight tracks of unrelenting and savage Death Metal raids that will just leave you mouth-watering for more.

4.0rating

diabolizer-khalkedonian-death-2021Turkish torchbearers of diabolical abomination Diabolizer are finally back with their debut album Khalkedonian Death, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed EP’s Shadows Of Impending Decimation (2012) and Apokalypse (2016), offering fans of bands the likes of Sinister, Hate Eternal and Deicide eight tracks of unrelenting and savage Death Metal raids that will just leave you mouth-watering for more. Recorded, mixed, mastered by Ozan Yıldırım (Deadhouse Studio) and displaying a sick, demonic cover painting by Jon Zig, Khalkedonian Death is by far the most pulverizing and complete effort by this Kadıköy, Istanbul-based horde comprised of Abomination on vocals, Mustafa and Can on the guitars, Malik on bass and Aberranton drums, not only positioning the band as one of the driving forces of the extreme music scene in their homeland, but also helping spread the burning fires of Turkish metal to all four corner of the earth.

The opening track Dawn Of Obliteration is absolutely infernal and devastating from the very first second, with Aberrant being merciless behind his drums while Abomination arises from the pits of hell with his trademark roars. Put differently, this is Turkish Death Metal at its finest, which is also the case in Maelstroms Of Abhorrence, where Abomination manically growls the song’s wicked lyrics (“As if trapped in singularity / Countless relics I behold / Seconds are aeons / My mind is drifting”) while Mustafa and Can extract sheer malignancy and hatred from their stringed weapons; and it’s time to bang your fuckin’ heads to the demented Cloaked In An Aura Of Madness, a lesson in Death Metal by the quintet where Malik’s rumbling bass and Aberrant’s classic beats bring the groove to the band’s usual demolition for our total delight. Then more of their demented and Stygian music invades our ears in the steamroller tune Mayhemic Darkness And Possessed Visions, living up to the legacy of old school Death Metal, and with the band’s guitar duo delivering sick Cannibal Corpse-inspired riffs nonstop.

And there’s no sign of slowing down for those ruthless metallers; quite the contrary, Diabolizer continue to crush our senses in Sulphuric Vengeance, another pulverizing lecture in Turkish Death Metal where Abomination’s gruesome growling walks hand in hand with the vicious drumming by Aberrant, whereas the riffage by Mustafa and Can will penetrate deep inside your putrid skin in Bringers Of Khalkedonian Death, a massive, disruptive tune that invites us all to slam into the circle pit like rabid metal maniacs. Spearfuck The Throes Of Treason, their second to last blast of obscurity and rage, will inspire you to break your neck in half headbanging, with Malik hammering his bass nonstop while Mustafa and Can alternate between sheer savagery and somber moments on the guitars. Lastly, ending such intense and hellish album of death it’s time for the quintet to haunt our souls with Perishing In His Oceans Of Blood, showcasing grim riffs, wicked solos, guttural vociferations and pounding drums, or in other words, everything we love in savage Death Metal.

diabolizer-2021If you consider yourself a true metalhead and are ready to carry the torch of Turkish Death Metal together with the guys from Diabolizer, you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and so on and, of course, above all that, purchase your copy of one of the best Death Metal albums of the year from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Everlasting Spew Records’ BandCamp page or webstore, from the Me Saco Un Ojo Records’ BandCamp page, from the Desiccated Productions’ BandCamp page, and soon from Apple Music and Amazon. Diabolizer have been solidifying and perfecting their sound with each one of their releases, and their first ever full-length opus perfectly summarizes everything the band stands for. As a matter of fact, the band’s hometown Kadıköy used to be called Khalkedonia (which means “the land of the blind”) by the Byzantines, showing Diabolizer’s masterplan with their newborn spawn has always been to warn the entire world Khalkedonian Death Metal is among us to stay.

Best moments of the album: Dawn Of Obliteration, Cloaked In An Aura Of Madness and Bringers Of Khalkedonian Death.

Worst moments of the album: None, of course.

Released in 2021 Everlasting Spew Records / Me Saco Un Ojo Records / Desiccated Productions

Track listing
1. Dawn Of Obliteration 5:17
2. Maelstroms Of Abhorrence 5:23
3. Cloaked In An Aura Of Madness 5:11
4. Mayhemic Darkness And Possessed Visions 7:22
5. Sulphuric Vengeance 4:46
6. Bringers Of Khalkedonian Death 5:50
7. Spearfuck The Throes Of Treason 5:45
8. Perishing In His Oceans Of Blood 6:45

Band members
Abomination – vocals
Mustafa – guitars
Can – guitars
Malik – bass
Aberrant – drums

Album Review – Zifir / Demoniac Ethics (2020)

An unrelenting Turkish horde continues to pave their path of anti-religiousness and nihilism in their brand new and sulfurous album.

“Zifir is a confession about who we are, and who you are.”

Arising from the pits of Istanbul, Turkey (and also hailing from Brno, Czech Republic) with an infernal explosion of putrid Black Metal spiced up with Doom Metal and Blackened Doom nuances, an unrelenting horde that goes by the name of Zifir, which by the way is the Persian-originated Turkish word for “tar” (finding its use in “zifiri karanlık”, an idiom corresponding to “utter darkness”), returns with another blasphemous album titled Demoniac Ethics, the fourth full-length opus since the band’s inception in 2006 in the Turkish city of İzmir. Formed by Onur Önok on vocals and guitars, Ilgar on bass and Nursuz on drums, Zifir continue to pave their path of anti-religiousness and nihilism in Demoniac Ethics, showing religion through a twisted kaleidoscope, exposing the imprisoning religious dogma and tyranny that have occurred throughout history, and taking you right into the innermost sanctum of their anti-religious agenda while delivering one of the strongest and most forward-thinking Black Metal releases of late. Add to all that the disturbing artwork by Ukrainian artist Vergvoktre and there you have a full-bodied ode to darkness made in Turkey.

And cryptic, somber sounds permeate the air in the intro Sûr before Onur begins his primeval sonic attack in Chants For Execution, growling and slashing his guitar strings manically while his bandmates fire sheer obscurity from their rumbling bass and drums, also presenting background ritualistic elements to make the whole experience even more impactful to the listener. Then in Still Reigning austere lyrics are darkly vociferated by Onur (“We are in despair, now and forever / The only truth is just dystopia / Behold the portrait of hell, in the realm of hysteria”) while Ilgar and Nursuz bring a grim Doom Metal touch to the overall sonority, feeling at times like pure Blackened Doom; followed by Empire of Worms, again venturing through the Stygian lands of crushing doom with Nursuz delivering both old school Black Metal beats and ominous, sluggish sounds, while Onur continues his descent into pitch black darkness with his inhumane vocalizations.

Gökyüzü Karanlık (or “the sky is dark” from Turkish), a pure, unfiltered Blackened Doom extravaganza led by the slow and fierce beats by Nursuz, is not recommended for the lighthearted, while Onur and Ilgar extract minimalist and extremely venomous sounds form their stringed axes, whereas the beyond vile bridge An Eerie Moment prepares our senses for Chaos Clouds, a vile and imposing Black Metal feast where Onur sounds more demonic than ever, sounding very atmospheric from start to finish and bringing forward tribal drums and razor-edge, crushing riffs intertwined with the vicious gnarls by Onur. And strident guitars and endless obscurity are the main ingredients in Spirit of Goats, all boosted by its anti-religious, sulfurous words (“Life they pledge / Death of else / Tons of faith / Drowned beneath lies / All shall rot / Tons of faith / Heresy saves / I am the spirit of goats”). Put differently, it couldn’t have sounded more old school and otherworldly that this.

Never tired of spreading blasphemy, rage and darkness, the trio fires the absolutely gruesome A Bleak Portrait, a hybrid between classic Black Metal and contemporary Blackened Doom spearheaded by Onur with his hellish growls and riffs, while Ephemeral Idols leans towards a more classic version of extreme music infused with Black N’ Roll elements. Moreover, Ilgar and his menacing bass lines are effectively complemented by the headbanging beats by Nursuz, resulting in an amazing performance by the trio and ending in the most Mephistophelian way possible. Lastly, closing the album we have the also somber and cryptic Insects as Messengers, a lesson in Black and Doom Metal led by the vicious roars by Onur and the slow and poisonous drums by Nursuz, with the sound of Onur’s guitars cutting your skin deep without a single drop of mercy.

There are several locations where you can purchase your copy of Demoniac Ethics (which is also available for a full listen on YouTube), including the band’s own BandCamp page, the Duplicate Records’ BandCamp page and webstore (in CD and LP formats), Apple Music and Amazon, and of course don’t forget to support the band by following them on Facebook and on Instagram and by subscribing to their YouTube channel, keeping the fires of underground, anti-religious Black Metal burning bright and spreading the blasphemous and utterly incendiary sounds and words of such demented Turkish horde to the four corners of our decaying, condemned world.

Best moments of the album: Chants For Execution, Spirit of Goats and Ephemeral Idols.

Worst moments of the album: Still Reigning.

Released in 2020 Duplicate Records

Track listing
1. Sûr 1:33
2. Chants For Execution 4:20
3. Still Reigning 5:38
4. Empire of Worms 5:04
5. Gökyüzü Karanlık 2:36
6. An Eerie Moment 2:04
7. Chaos Clouds 4:27
8. Spirit of Goats 3:39
9. A Bleak Portrait 3:55
10. Ephemeral Idols 3:53
11. Insects as Messengers 4:32

Band members
Onur Önok – vocals, guitars
Ilgar – bass
Nursuz – drums

Album Review – Hellsodomy / Morbid Cult (2019)

Unleashing their most lethal form of sonic detonation, this Turkish squad is ready to crush with their unrelenting new album of Blackened Deathrash.

Formed in 2011 in Kadıköy, a neighborhood on Istanbul’s Asian shore, in Turkey, the unrelenting Death Metal squad known as Hellsodomy can be considered a study in patience and perseverance, having taken around three years after the band’s inception before the release of their first demo, Masochistic Molestation, in 2014. However, after that demo things started to happen for the band, with the release of the EP Sodomy Is Nigh, in 2015, and their debut full-length opus, titled Chaostorm, in 2016, retaining the rawness of their earlier work with a more finessed expression of such and, therefore, positioning the band as one of the most promising names of the Turkish scene. Now three years later it’s time for the horde comprised of Nekro Kasil on the guitar and vocals, Destroyer D also on the guitar, Necrolepsy on bass and A.D.B on drums to explode our ears once again with their sophomore opus, entitled Morbid Cult, unleashing their most lethal sonic detonation yet in the form of what the band likes to call “Blackened Deathrash”.

An onrush of violent and berserk sounds led by Nekro and Destroyer’s demonic riffs in the instrumental intro Into Perversion warms up our senses for Endless Demise, offering the listener total devastation in the form of Death Metal and bringing a Hardcore feeling that makes it even more aggressive, with the infernal blast beast by A.D.B and the harsh vociferations by Nekro turning it into a must-listen for fans of the genre. Then hitting us hard with their riffage and rhythmic beats, the quartet blasts sheer insanity the likes of Krisiun and Deicide in Pestilence of Black Blood, showcasing a beyond visceral name and the always putrid growls by Nekro, followed by Charged to Kill, where they add elements from our good old Thrash Metal to their core sonority, resulting in a wicked circle pit-generator. Furthermore, while the band’s guitarists slash their strings manically, A.D.B brings groove and devastation at the same time with his unstoppable, visceral drums.

And there’s no time to rest or breathe in From the Seed to the Grave, a classic Death Metal extravaganza that will disturb your peace of mind, with Necrolepsy not only providing great backing vocals, but his bass lines are as metallic and evil as they can be; whereas in Hateclan, perhaps the most devastating of all songs, A.D.B sounds absolutely pulverizing on drums, providing Nekro all he needs to darkly shine with his enraged harsh vocals, being therefore highly recommended for slamming into the pit like a beast. And Divided Souls is another crushing creation by Hellsodomy displaying all elements we love in Death Metal, feeling like Nekro is getting more and more rabid as the album progresses while A.D.B adds endless stamina to the music with his thrashing beats.

Continuing their path of gruesome devastation, Mortem in Comfort presents a well-balanced fusion of sheer aggressiveness with more melodic sounds where Nekro, Destroyer and Necrolepsy can’t stop mutilating their stringed weapons in great fashion, and get ready to headbang like there’s no tomorrow to the frantic hybrid of Death and Thrash Metal by Hellsodomy entitled Dazed Victims, inspired by some of the sickest creations by Death Metal titans Cannibal Corpse. Their second to last breath of ruthless aggression, named Furious Chants, reminds me of the demented sound by Croatian act HerezA, with A.D.B blasting sheer rage through his drums while Nekro keeps growling like a demonic entity and shredding his guitar fiercely. In addition, its ending couldn’t have been more violent and ravenous, building an instant connection with the closing tune Souls Devoured, where all band members generate a thunderous and vile atmosphere with their hellish instruments, smashing our heads and cutting our skin deep until the song’s classic finale, all embraced by a sick guitar solo to make things even more tasteful.

The gates to the underworld have just opened in Turkey thanks to the flammable Morbid Cult, the brand new album of old school Death Metal crafted by the talented musicians from Hellsodomy featuring a Stygian cover art by Turkish artist Zezeah (Big Baboli Print House), and in order to join them in their path of pure devastation and rage go check what they’re up to on Facebook, listen to more of their music from their own BandCamp page, and grab your copy of such sulfurous album from the Saturnal Records’ webstore. Nejro Kasil, Destroyer D, Necrolepsy and A.D.B are eager to welcome you to their blasphemous cult of Death and Thrash Metal, with their new opus perfectly representing all the energy and fire coming from the underworld of their homeland.

Best moments of the album: Endless Demise, Charged to Kill and Hateclan.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Saturnal Records

Track listing
1. Into Perversion 1:26
2. Endless Demise 3:18
3. Pestilence of Black Blood 4:51
4. Charged to Kill 2:58
5. From the Seed to the Grave 3:23
6. Hateclan 3:54
7. Divided Souls 2:57
8. Mortem in Comfort 3:15
9. Dazed Victims 2:49
10. Furious Chants 4:08
11. Souls Devoured 5:41

Band members
Nekro Kasil – guitars, vocals
Destroyer D – guitars
Necrolepsy – bass, backing vocals
A.D.B – drums

Album Review – Engulfed / Engulfed In Obscurity (2017)

Get ready for over 45 minutes of pure Turkish Death Metal darkness that will ruthlessly shatter your skull and rip your spine out.

The arts of death worship and devilry have been executed once again in the madness-filled streets of Kadıköy, a large, cosmopolitan district of Istanbul, Turkey. Engulfed, the notorious Death Metal quartet formed in 2010 and known for their putrid smelling 2012 EP entitled Through The Eternal Damnation, are back with their first full-length album, the crushing Engulfed in Obscurity. Featuring members from other honorable Turkish Metal desecrators such as Decaying Purity, Burial Invocation and Diabolizer, this demonic entity will shatter your skull and rip your spine out in over 45 minutes of visceral extreme music, showing you why whenever a band hails from Turkey, you better be ready for a fantastic devastation.

Two of the members of Engulfed, guitarist Mustafa and drummer Aberrant, were our “guests” at The Headbanging Moose last year with their pulverizing album Apokalypse, from their other band Diabolizer, and if you enjoyed that album you’ll certainly keep banging your head nonstop to the music found in Engulfed In Obscurity, as it’s at the same level of destruction, quality and electricity, showcasing all the talent and passion for Death Metal by those two crusaders. In addition, the classy and grim cover art by renowned New Zealand-based artist Nick Keller brings an additional layer of darkness to Engulfed In Obscurity, strengthening the overall malignancy emanating from the entire album even more.

The ominous Escalation of Darkness opens the gates to the disturbing and violent world ruled by Engulfed in The Halls Of Grim Eternity, and be prepared because, when you enter it, there’s no way out as you’ll be mercilessly smashed by the band’s brutal music. Needless to say how demolishing Aberrant sounds on drums, with lead singer and bassist Serkan violently barking his putrid guttural growls throughout the whole song. Darkened sounds kick off another vile creation by Engulfed named Conqueror From Beyond The Outer Gates, a vile hymn made to crush your spinal cord where Mustafa and Kasil sound beyond gory with their cutting guitar riffs in the best old school Death Metal style imaginable.

The title-track Engulfed In Obscurity begins with a gruesome welcome card by Serkan, almost vomiting the lyrics, while Aberrant is unstoppable on drums just like what he does in Diabolizer. Furthermore, all instruments are roaring like demonic entities, keeping the song’s hellish vibe burning from start to finish. Moving on with the band’s sonic havoc, guitars, bass and drums will smash your senses in the putrid chant of vileness titled Invocation Of Death And Misery, where the cavernous growls by Serkan together with the pounding drums by Aberrant become the epitome of old school Death Metal; whereas Demonic Manifest Of Devastation is a gory Death Metal tune perfect for breaking your neck headbanging or slamming into the pit like a wild beast, with highlights to its rhythmic infernal beats and the truly deep gnarls by Serkan.

A faster and more furious version of Engulfed (if that’s humanly possible) comes in the form of Inseminated With Demon Seed, with its guitar lines reeking of sulfur while Aberrant keeps the musicality as heavy and impactful as it can be. In other words, get ready for six minutes of darkness and demonic sounds from the deepest dungeons of Turkey. If you’re a diehard fan of Death Metal you’ll definitely feel your blood burning listening to the classic tune Mayhemic Flames Of Doom, led by devilish riffs by Mustafa and Kasil until its brutal finale, before the outro The Blackened Skies puts an end to the earthquake named Engulfed In Obscurity, giving a sense of a post-apocalyptic landscape as a conclusion to the album.

After listening to over 45 minutes of the barbaric Death Metal blasted by Engulfed, my respect for underground Turkish Metal only grew in intensity, making me wonder what a fertile country like Turkey could offer the world of heavy music with proper support. You can explore the dark catacombs of Engulfed in more detail through their Facebook page and YouTube channel, and grab your copy of Engulfed In Obscurity (which can be streamed in its entirety HERE or HERE) at Engulfed’s BandCamp page, at the Hellthrasher Productions’ BandCamp page or webshop (as a regular CD or as a two CD bundle containing Engulfed In Obscurity and Through The Eternal Damnation), or at Discogs. But you better be prepared before you descend into the underworld of Engulfed, as you’ll be entrapped in the filthy darkness crafted by this amazing band for all eternity.

Best moments of the album: The Halls Of Grim Eternity, Engulfed In Obscurity and Inseminated With Demon Seed.

Worst moments of the album: Demonic Manifest Of Devastation.

Released in 2017 Hellthrasher Productions/Blood Harvest Records

Track listing
1. Escalation of Darkness 2:17
2. The Halls Of Grim Eternity 5:07
3. Conqueror From Beyond The Outer Gates 6:14
4. Engulfed In Obscurity 7:29
5. Invocation Of Death And Misery 5:32
6. Demonic Manifest Of Devastation 5:04
7. Inseminated With Demon Seed 6:29
8. Mayhemic Flames Of Doom 7:16
9. The Blackened Skies 3:04

Band members
Serkan – vocals, bass
Mustafa – guitars
Kasil – guitar
Aberrant – drums

Album Review – Sülfür Ensemble / I (4 Songs About Dystopia, Satan, Ghouls & Marilyn Monroe) EP (2016)

Four veterans of the Turkish scene united in the names of Satan and Marilyn Monroe, blasting their noisy and heavy Sludge Metal upon humanity.

Rating5

coverWhen four veterans from the underworld of the Turkish metal scene get together to make a lot of noise and write music about Satan, ghouls and, believe it or not, Marilyn Monroe, you already know the final result is going to be very interesting to say the least. That’s what you’re going to get in the extravagant EP entitled I (4 Songs About Dystopia, Satan, Ghouls & Marilyn Monroe), recorded live in only two days by Turkish Sludge/Doom Metal act Sülfür Ensemble, a band that’s more than ready to doom all ears and unleash the noisiest and angriest ghouls upon their audience.

Formed in 2015 in the city of Istanbul, Turkey, Sülfür Ensemble bring forth all the heavy and dissonant elements from old school Sludge, Stoner and Doom Metal with their new EP, which translates into a 25-minute feast of distorted noises, anguished screams and a lot of fun. Featuring a simple but effective cover art by the band’s own lead singer Erdem Çapar, I (4 Songs About Dystopia, Satan, Ghouls & Marilyn Monroe) is not only an enjoyable and professional album by this talented Turkish squad, but also a solid statement informing the world of heavy music Sülfür Ensemble are here to stay.

sulfur-ensembleA slow and steady intro led by the distorted guitar lines by Levent Ersoy builds up the ambience for a grumpy and dark display of Doom Metal entitled Daily Hate, with the low-tuned bass by Burak Özgüney reverberating through our ears during the whole song. Moreover, when Erdem begins screaming the song’s angry lines the whole experience of listening to the music by Sülfür Ensemble gets even more impactful. And if you think the atmosphere would get lighter in the following tune, titled Plea, you’re absolutely wrong, because their feast of anguish and distortions goes on, starting with a wicked intro about Satan and flowing into kick-ass Sludge Metal. Drummer Emre Şahin is very rhythmic and adds a lot of groove to the obscurity crafted by the rest of the band, with Levent firing some soulful Blues-inspired solos whereas the bass lines by Burak sound even more menacing than in the previous track.

The old school sludgy chant Karaçor keeps up with the rest of the album, with the main difference that it’s entirely sung in Turkish instead of English, an extra touch of rawness added to their already thrilling music. Erdem provides some low growls and demented screams perfect for the musicality blasted by the band, turning it into a full-bodied composition that will please all fans of the genre, with highlights to the precise work done by both Levent and Burka with their strings. And their last blast of badass and uncompromised music is beautifully entitled Marilyn, another solid creation by this quartet where Emre keeps smashing his drums while Erdem’s growls continue to disquiet our peace. Thus, the main question left by the band to Marilyn (in the form of some demented screams) is “when will I see you again?”

live-in-kargart

Live In Kargart 30092016

The EP has been released in CD format through Morbid Syndicate Records and can be purchased through the label’s BandCamp page or through the band’s own BandCamp page as well. The band is also offering a free download of their first live EP called Live In Kargart 30092016, recorded at Kargart, one of the coolest venues in İstanbul on September 30, 2016, containing all four songs from I (4 Songs About Dystopia, Satan, Ghouls & Marilyn Monroe), one unnamed song and a cover version of Venom’s all-time classic In League With Satan. You can also check the live video of the last 3 songs of the same concert at their YouTube channel. And if you want to know more about those four Turkish guys who worship Satan and Marilyn Monroe (if not both at the same time), go check their Facebook page and SoudCloud, just being careful not to deafen your neighbors with the heavy noises generated by the band.

Best moments of the album: Karaçor.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Morbid Syndicate Records

Track listing
1. Daily Hate 7:18
2. Plea 4:59
3. Karaçor 8:14
4. Marilyn 4:16

Band members
Erdem Çapar – vocals
Levent Ersoy – guitar
Burak Özgüney – bass
Emre Şahin – drums

Album Review – Diabolizer / Apokalypse MCD (2016)

A short and violent soundtrack to apocalypse delivered by a promising Death Metal band forged in the scorching fires of Turkey.

Rating4

diabolizer_apokalypse_coverThe already scorching fires of Kadıköy, a large cosmopolitan district of Istanbul, Turkey, are about to become even more incandescent due to the release of the excellent MCD entitled Apokalypse, forged in the pits of hell by a relentless Death Metal entity known as Diabolizer. Formed in 2012, this apocalyptic horde is comprised of members from Decaying Purity, Engulfed, Deggial and Godslaying Hellblast, among others, all prominent bands from the Turkish underground scene, with a sole purpose of worshiping destruction and punishing any living creature that dares to confront them with their decimating Death Metal.

This thrilling MCD contains five brand new compositions by the Diabolizer crew and two tracks from their very limited 2012 promo Shadows Of Impending Decimation, as a bonus to all true supporters of good old Death Metal. Not only that, in order to give a proper face to their music, Diabolizer recruited Polish illustrator Robert A. von Ritter (Armagh, Ragehammer) for the artwork and Polish artist Piotr Kurek of Mentalporn (Ulcer, Embrional) to take care of the design of the album, and the final result is obviously amazing, representing in images all the fury and melody found in Apokalypse.

Diabolizer come crushing with their loud and infernal Death Metal from the very first second of the opening track, Process the Void, with lead singer Abomination sounding like a raving bulldozer while drummer Aberrant delivers pure hatred through his drums. After listening to this amazing showcase of Extreme Metal made in Turkey, you’ll start wondering if there’s a way they could sound even more furious than this. Well, those Turkish metallers actually answer that question with the superb Death Metal chant Condemned to Burn in Hell, where they masterfully unleash hell with Mustafa and Ewan pounding their strings and Abomination going from the deepest guttural to enraged high-pitched screams in an solid and demonic way.

And there’s absolutely no sign of Diabolizer slowing down in Temple of Demonic Torments, where Aberrant keeps showing off his tremendous skills as a drummer whereas Mustafa and Ewan once again fire their aggressive but melodious riffs and solos, followed by Blood Aesthetics Dictated,  with Abomination commanding this sonic onslaught by bursting his lungs out. This is brutal Death Metal with highlights to its barbaric rhythm and relentless riffage, and get ready to feel your entire body soaring after banging like a wild beast to this demented tune.

diabolizerInspired by the musicality found in most albums by the iconic Cannibal Corpse and blended with elements of contemporary Black Metal, Hammer of Diabolization (such a beautiful name for a song) offers the listener some interesting tempo changes and lots of variations to its intensity, a breathe of “sulfuric” air that ends up providing a humongous extra dosage of electricity to the overall result. In regards to the two bonus songs taken from their 2012 promo, I bet you can imagine they are as demolishing as the new songs if you haven’t heard them yet. Beneath the Skullthrone and Descend into Desolation are both exceptional Death Metal songs, with the latter being more brutal and, therefore, more gripping.

In order to get in touch with Diabolizer, simply go check their Facebook page, and if you want to purchase a digital copy of Apokalypse you can find it for sale at their BandCamp page. In case you’re an old school metal fan and prefer a physical copy of the album, the MCD is available in two versions: a regular jewel case CD with an 8-page booklet and a limited edition (100 copies) of jewel case CD branded with serigraphy print and patch. If Diabolizer were capable of delivering such a high level of violence and hatred in only a few songs like what we can see in Apokalypse, I wonder what will happen when they finally release their first full-length album upon humanity. Maybe we’ll witness the ultimate “soundtrack to apocalypse”, don’t you think?

Best moments of the album: Condemned to Burn in Hell and Hammer of Diabolization.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Third Eye Temple

Track listing
1. Process the Void 4:57
2. Condemned to Burn in Hell 2:58
3. Temple of Demonic Torments 4:34
4. Blood Aesthetics Dictated 4:37
5. Hammer of Diabolization 5:34

Shadows Of Impending Decimation (Promo 2012) bonus tracks
6. Beneath the Skullthrone 4:34
7. Descend into Desolation 4:57

Band members
Abomination – vocals
Mustafa – guitars
Ewan – guitars
Alican – bass
Aberrant – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Lygbereth

lygbereth01

See her crimson sword… The great queen, holy raven!

Let’s continue our journey through the dark realms of Black Metal by paying a tribute to the talented Turkish musician Duygu Gurcu, sometimes referred to as Naenia Virtus, but most commonly known as Lygbereth, the electrifying bassist for Turkish Black Metal/Epic Pagan Metal band Sirannon. And let me tell you that after knowing more about her life you’ll be amazed by how skillful this woman is, because not only she’s a badass bassist, but also a singer, a songwriter, an editor and, oddly enough for many people but not for millions of headbangers all around the world who have regular jobs just like any non-metal person, a hard working businesswoman committed to success.

Born in the year of 1983 in the city of Istanbul, Turkey, Lygbereth began her path in the world of music at the age of 7, when she started taking west music training (singing and piano) until the age of 12. During that period, she composed her first sonata with her piano teacher at the age of 9, also taking the stage for many recitals. Although that doesn’t sound very “Black Metal” for most of you, let me remind you she was just a little girl starting to carve her personality and experimenting different ways of applying her skills in music, and of course we all know how important an instrument like a piano is for children to expand their music horizons and boost their creativity.

Although she unfortunately had to suspend her musical training due to family issues and her education, it didn’t take too long for her to get back in action and work with her first band, Turkish Black Metal act Pogrom, where under her real name Duygu she did both guttural and clean vocals. When you have a true passion for something it looks like you can’t stay away from it for a long period of time no matter what, and when that passion is music that gets even harder, don’t you agree? Anyway, you can take a good listen at the band’s 2005 demo entitled At the Peak of Toros, where they blast our minds with three songs beautifully entitled Nergal Eyes Has Appeared at the Peak of Toros, Her Cries Echo at My Malice… and A Volcano Become to Extinct. I’m just not sure if Duygu was part of this demo, though.

After Pogrom she was involved with another Turkish Black Metal group called Nefastum as their vocalist, composer, editor and lyricist, playing several concerts with them. This case is no different than Pogrom, as I couldn’t find any reliable source online confirming if Duygu was part of any of Nefastum’s official releases, but you can get a sense of how obscure their music is by listening to the excellent tune Seals of Demogorgon. She was also part of Turkish Black Metal band Serpenta as their vocalist, bassist and songwriter, having recorded with the band a demo entitled Ophiliama in 2004, and an EP named Transformation in 2007. If you’re a diehard Black Metal fan, you can enjoy the gorgeous Duygu kicking ass with Serpenta through her harsh vocals and resonant bass lines in the violent song Masterpiece Of War.

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It was just in 2007 when she joined Sirannon as their bassist, hence becoming Lygbereth, and since then she has been part of the band’s metamorphosis from pure Black Metal in their early days to a more complex Epic Pagan Metal in recent years. Obviously, the lyrics also shifted from themes such as war, pain, darkness and melancholy to topics more suitable to their new sounding like Paganism and mythology. Just out of curiosity, Sirannon was formed in 2005 by drummer Wesretkau (currently known as Thuringwethil) in the city of Izmir, the third most populous city in Turkey (after Istanbul and Ankara) with almost 3 million people, located about 500km southwest of Istanbul. Since joining this amazing Turkish act, she has recorded with them the split album International Black Scene Vol.1 in 2010, the full-length album Semper Caliga in 2011, and more recently an EP entitled Forgotten Laments Of The Forsaken in 2014, when the music direction of the band finally switched to a more melodic and intricate sounding almost completely. In addition to that, her role inside the band has also expanded significantly, from being only their bass player in the beginning to being responsible for the bass guitar, programming and samples in their latest albums.

In case you want to know more about the music by Sirannon, simply visit their YouTube channel or SoundCloud page and you’ll find many brutal compositions such as Ethereal Empire and The Holy Raven, as well as some videos of their live performance on May 18, 2008 at the Dungeon, in Izmir, playing the songs In The Shadow Of The Excommunication, Magna Mater and Children Of The Wolves.

Regarding her favorite bands and artists, Lygbereth provided an extensive list of important names in the world of extreme music as her main influences like Dark Funeral, Carpathian Forest, Ragnarok, Immortal, Satyricon, Emperor, Bathory, Enslaved, Old Man’s Child, among lots of other renowned icons. However, do not expect to find Lygbereth wandering the streets of Istanbul all geared up in leather and spikes and with her corpsepainting on, because as aforementioned our metal chick is also a dexterous working woman in her city. According to her LinkedIn profile, Lygbereth (or in this case Duygu Gurcu) has recently worked as an Import Operations, Senior Executive/Ocean Freight Import Executive at Veritas International Transport Co. Ltd. in Istanbul, an unthinkable position for most black metallers in the world. Well, as Lygbereth means “The Serpent Queen” in Elf Language, can you imagine how awesome it would be to work for a “serpent boss” like her?

Equipment
Ibanez Eurodyn
Behringer 45 watt/Ultrabass BXL450A
Behringer dynamic bass compressor & pre-amp
Shure c 606 microphone

Sirannon’s Official Facebook page
Sirannon’s Official Twitter

Album Review – Inhuman Depravity / Nocturnal Carnage By The Unholy Desecrator (2015)

Let the depraved Death Metal by this Turkish group puncture your ears until your metallic brains splatter with rapture.

Rating4

cover artworkWhen you put the words “inhuman” and “depravity” together in the same sentence, you know the final result is not going to be gracious at all. Add to that the intense sound of vicious Death Metal, and you get as a result Inhuman Depravity, an unstoppable Turkish metal act ideal for diehard fans of Dying Fetus, Morbid Angel, Suffocation and many other old school extreme bands, who will mercilessly crush you like an insect with their disturbing uproar.

Formed in Istanbul, Turkey in late 2013, probably in the depths of a dark and fetid catacomb or at an abandoned slaughterhouse teeming with rotting corpses, and after releasing their first demo a few months later based on the theme that gives the band’s name, “depravity”, it’s now time for those Turkish death metallers to release their debut full-length album, beautifully entitled Nocturnal Carnage By The Unholy Desecrator. And you better get ready, because things are about to get as gory as the most demented slasher movies you might have seen in your life.

With an intro that’s supposed to be a serial killer calling his lawyer and telling him about his killing spree in a mix of fear and madness, Exhuming The Creator For Own Expediency opens this excellent album like a demonic beast unleashed upon humanity, especially due to the deep and infuriated growls by vocalist Yunus Efe. Not only that, it feels like drummer Eren Gursoy wants to kill someone with his beats so sick they are. Do you think you can survive for over 30 minutes of this type of immoral music? Because their gory old school Death Metal attack keeps destroying our souls in Dismembered and Buried Instincts, with highlights to the pulverizing riffs by guitarist Murat Sabuncu while Eren adds lots of interesting breaks amidst his choleric drumming.

The next tune, Condemned To Monotheistics, reminds me of ancient Cannibal Corpse from the Chris Barnes-era due to the metallic bass lines by Kaan Yildar and the gruesome growls by Yunus. Besides, I was trying to find the lyrics to this song just to get more details on the message the band wanted to send to the listener, but unfortunately couldn’t find them anywhere. Well, who cares? Let’s just bark together with Yunus and enjoy the band’s bestiality, which is also the case in Rise of Vengeance By Bloody Torment, even faster and more diabolical than its predecessors. Kaan and Eren are on their “hulk mode”, and although it’s hard to keep up with their speed and malevolence you will love this song if you’re devoted to Death Metal to the second power.

band photoThe initial growl by Yunus in Apocalyptic Mass Murder Oath is a warning: this song is going to be absolutely fuckin’ brutal. It’s an amazing display of inhumanity, proving the name of the band was not chosen in vain, and I have no idea how the band members can be so in sync while playing such devastating music. The same can be said about the next track, Bloodthirst of Sinners, where the low-tuned bass lines and riffs give it an extra touch of darkness, making it the perfect soundtrack for a slaughter. This is the type of song that makes you wonder if any normal person can survive a nonstop circle pit to the sound of Inhuman Depravity. And just when you think there will be some moments of peace or silence they strike back with their extreme musicality in Carnivorous Offering, with highlights to the sick drum fills by the talented beast Eren and to the song’s beautiful and barbaric ending.

In Slain Dissection Abuse you realize they’re really trying to melt your brain with their music in a flawless exhibit of how cruelty, torture and gore can be translated into brutal and technical Death Metal. It’s my favorite of all tracks, where Murat and Eren once again steal the show with their combination of dark riffs and nonstop beats. And finally we have Salvation Through Bloodvomit, one of the “cutest” song names I’ve ever seen, ending the album on the same demonic level it started. Furthermore, Yunus is not simply snarling this time, he’s regurgitating the song’s putrescent lyrics inspired by the sonic warfare established by the rest of the band.

If you want to acquire this ruthless lecture in bloodshed and perdition, featuring a kick-ass artwork by Indonesian artist Rian Oktanto, go to the official Coyote Records Web Shop, to their Digital Store on BandCamp or to Big Cartel to grab your copy of Nocturnal Carnage By The Unholy Desecrator. Put differently (and in a much more lethal way), let the depraved Death Metal by Inhuman Depravity puncture your ears until your metallic brains splatter with rapture. This is what authentic Death Metal has always been about.

Best moments of the album: Exhuming The Creator For Own Expediency, Apocalyptic Mass Murder Oath and Slain Dissection Abuse.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Coyote Records

Track listing
1. Exhuming The Creator For Own Expediency 4:01
2. Dismembered and Buried Instincts 3:16
3. Condemned To Monotheistics 3:36
4. Rise of Vengeance By Bloody Torment 3:36
5. Apocalyptic Mass Murder Oath 3:38
6. Bloodthirst of Sinners 3:09
7. Carnivorous Offering 3:05
8. Slain Dissection Abuse 3:41
9. Salvation Through Bloodvomit 3:44

Band members
Yunus Efe – vocals
Murat Sabuncu – guitars
Kaan Yildar – bass
Eren Gursoy – drums