If you think about the Mediterranean Sea area, the first thing that comes to mind is the excellent black metal scene (the Italian and the Greek one). That genre is not the only thing these places could offer. Countries like Greece and Turkey have great bands too, and if you love extreme music you can’t ignore Burial Invocation, Ankara’s finest death metal incarnation. After a short hiatus (from 2012 to 2014), they’re back with an excellent debut album, Abiogenesis. 5 long (but highly enjoyable) songs and a great Dan Seagrave artwork. If you dig Immolation and Dead congregation, you will surely love this record. Their guitar player, Cihan Akün, is here to tell us more about his band and the whole turkish metal scene.
Abiogenesis review here
Abiogenesis is your first album and it came out 10 years after the birth of the band. How much time did it take to compose and record the material?
I have been collecting ideas for a long time, but arrangement and preparing the material with the band took a couple of years.
In the beginning, your sound was closer to doom/death. Now you’ve chosen a more technical direction and the new songs are more structured. Why have you decided to lose some doom influences?
We never thought like “let’s lose some doom influences,” and I don’t think we lost them either. You can find a plenty of doomy parts throughout the record, it is just that you can also find a lot of other things.
The band has been split up from 2012 to 2014. What happened during that time? Why did you decide to reunite the band?
I never thought of quitting playing music, just needed some to develop some musical skills to be able to express my vision of death metal better. So during that time of band inactivity I was busy with that, then we did a small Europe tour with old material. It was like a warm up before I started showing new material to the band and we had to make some line-up adjustments too, according to the locations and skill levels of members.
You’re now playing in a brutal death metal band named Molested Divinity. Can you tell us more about this project?
My friend Emre from Decimation (a long-running Turkish death metal band) started this project and asked me if I can help them out in their live performances, because they didn’t have a bass player, and I accepted. Batu from Cenotaph is doing vocals there and he is a very old friend of mine, 16 years ago I joined Cenotaph and played there until 2010. Molested Divinity is a quite straightforward death metal project with a fast and energetic drummer, I like the explosive effect that this music creates so I enjoy playing in this band. People reading this, check out Cenotaph and Decimation also if you haven’t already, both bands are pillars of death metal in Turkey.
“Though The Void of Obscurity”, off their first ep Rituals of The Grotesque
Is it hard to play death metal in Turkey under Erdogan?
Well, our country is being poorly administered for sure, it has strayed so far from its foundational philosophy and this is doing harm to people living here and will do more in the future unfortunately. The massive devaluation of our currency also isn’t helping with buying equipment and travelling abroad for gigs.
Instead of all this, there is a rise in Turkish extreme metal in recent years. Audience has increased, also young bands who are playing quality music are emerging. And this “it is hard to play this music in Turkey” excuse has been always used by people who weren’t successful with the music they made in the first place. On the contrary, Carnophage did the Blodletting Europe tour successfully, Engulfed killed it at Party San this summer, Cenotaph did a killer tour with Gorgasm. So the bottom line is, if the heart is really there and the required effort is made, results will be reaped in Turkey just as in any other country, even if the financial and bureucratic processes are more difficult here.
Speaking of this, let’s also see the the other side of the coin. Getting visa to Europe from Turkey is a difficult and stressful process, because the embassies can deny your application without returning the money you paid for it. There is no other way, either you do it like this or you cannot travel abroad. So it can result in cancelled gigs + loss of money, a huge letdown for a band. So I recommend all promoters who are booking a Turkish band to take this seriously and help them with invitations and making calls to the embassy if needed.
Can you recommend some bands from your country?
Aside from Cenotaph and Decimation, Carnophage and Engulfed that I already mentioned, check out Heathen Swarm, Diabolizer, No Relics, Persecutory and keep your ears open for Scytharm and Serpent of Old, two young and talented bands from Ankara, who will record their first material soon.
The cover artwork of the new album is drawn by Dan Seagrave. How did you get in contact with him? Did you send him some ideas for the picture or he drew it listening to your music?
I just sent him an email and asked his conditions about working together. Then I wrote an email to him about the topical content of each song, and that’s how he came up with the cover art. He published that email I wrote to him in the info section for the artwork in his website, anyone curious about it can check it out there.
In October you toured Europe for 18 gigs. In which country you gained more feedbacks?
We received a very good vibe from the audience in almost all of the shows except only a few okay but less enthusiastic ones; some highlights for me are Postojna, Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Rennes, Zaragoza, Barcelona and Porto.
Dark Descent supported you since the beginning. How did you get in contact with the label?
Dark Descent contacted us when we published a song from our four-song EP “Rituals of the Grotesque” and wanted to release it on CD. It is not only Dark Descent who supported us though, Me Saco Un Ojo Records contacted us around the same time and wanted to release it on vinyl and also supported us since the beginning, and released our album on vinyl.
Do you have plans for the future? Are you composing new songs?
Yes, I already started working on new material and we will play some gigs in Turkey early 2019, in one of them we will be opening for Ulcerate in İstanbul. Anyone interested in booking gigs for us in their area, feel free to contact us through our facebook page or by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org