Death Metal from Turkey is still something unique to me and I guess to most of the Voices readers, too. Nevertheless BURIAL INVOCATION from Istanbul convinced not only me with their awesome "Rituals Of The Grotesque" demo CD, offering dark and brutal Death Metal in a very magnificent way. This is not only the best Death Metal release from Turkey I know (which is not that difficult, haha), but one of the most crushing Death Metal recordings of the last time. Here we go with an interview answered by Cihan, guitar player in BURIAL INVOCATION, about his band, the Turkish scene and the oldschool Death Metal movement in general. Go-ahead…
Hi there Cihan, thanks for showing interest in answering this interview. How are you? Anything important to start with?
"Hi Thomas, I have just returned home from Istanbul, I was there to do rehearsals and hang out with the rest of the band, as you know the band members live in different cities so I do these trips as often as I can. We have been working on new songs for our first full length."
What’s going on in the BURIAL INVOCATION camp these days? Any "sensational" news?
"The big news is that we are going to play at Kill Town Deathfest this September, that will be our debut gig so it will be something to remember even after a long time. Also seeing all those bands will be great, I can’t wait for that to happen."
I wonder how’s the interest from the underground Metal media so far? How did the reviews turn out? How many interviews have you answered and how’s the response for "Rituals Of The Grotesque" from the media and the fans up to now? Are you satisfied?
"The interest has been far more than I expected, and there are plenty of positive reviews and we had so much support from zines, listeners and bands, I have answered three interviews so far, I keep getting interview offers and I can say we are quite satisfied with the reaction, it couldn’t be better."
BURIAL INVOCATION was founded in 2008 which makes you a newcomer to the scene. Tell something about those first years, the experiences so far and your upcoming plans.
"The band was a trio in the beginning, we started writing and didn’t have a drummer back then. We had different songs which were still dark but faster and were more like blackened Death Metal but I always wanted to go for a doomy sound so I was not sure about them. Then the other guitar player left the band, I wrote new songs with more traditional Death Metal feel and threw away the old ones, found a drummer with the help of a friend, then found a new guitar player and a bass player who were friends for some years, then I went to Istanbul and we did a few rehearsals and recorded our first EP. Our upcoming plans include some gigs and a full length."
To be perfectly honest, your first output "Rituals Of The Grotesque" is a killer recording. How do you consider this release in retrospective and are there things you would like to change?
"Thank you. I wanted to do this recording in a natural, spontaneous way like the old Death Metal demos that I like very much, so it happened that way, we recorded the songs after a few rehearsals in which we played the first time together. After the recording and mix is done, the best thing to do is to enjoy it so I don’t find anything to change. It’s definitely not perfect, but I feel the stench of putrid Death Metal in it and that is the main intention."
My first contact I had with BURIAL INVOCATION was your "Rituals Of The Grotesque" demo CD? As far as I know this is your first release. How could you manage to release it in such a professional way?
"Yes, "Rituals Of The Grotesque" is the first recording we did and our first release and like I said it happened quite spontaneous, I just took some time in the mix with the help of a friend who knows a lot about producing music to make sure it had the reverb and depth to feed the atmosphere."
Did you release this demo first as a self financed release and the contacts with the labels came later or did the labels directly offer you to release your demo CD?
"We prepared some promo CDs after the self financed recording and were planning to send them to labels, then before we sent away the promos Dark Descent and Skeleton Plague contacted us (they listened to our sample song from internet) and Dark Descent released the CD version in quite a short time so there was no need for us to release it on our own, we just did the recording and the labels took care of the rest."
What can you tell about the labels who took care of the different versions (Dark Descent Records for the CD-release, Skeleton Plague Records for the tape version and Me Saco Un Ojo Records with the vinyl). Are you satisfied with them so far and how are the deals looking like?
"Three of those labels are dedicated to the underground with a real taste of Metal and they approached us with quite reasonable offers. Especially Dark Descent Records has been very supportive, helping us with everything so I can say we are quite satisfied with the labels, the vinyl version from Me Saco Un Ojo Records will come out very soon, I have listened to the test press already and I am sure it will be as satisfying as the other versions that have been released."
I only know the CD release so far, but this one convinces both in sound and layout. Did you record it in more or less in professional circumstances or was this recording a DIY-kind of recording? Are you satisfied with the sound or is there still room for improvement?
"It isn’t a home recording, we recorded it in a studio in Istanbul but I can say the conditions were not so professional. I like how it turned out anyway but there is always room for improvement, I guess the sound will be better – but this does not mean polished – in the next recordings."
Please tell something about the lyrics and what they deal with?
"The only subject our lyrics deal with is death, in both fictional and realistic ways. Some songs like ‘Haunted Crypts Of The Ancient Dead’ bring surreal and darkened imaginations so I write the lyrics that way, and some like ‘Through The Void Of Obscurity’ reminds things like reality of death and process of decay, then I write in a more realistic way."
Are the members of BURIAL INVOCATION actively interested in the underground? For how long do you follow the Death Metal scene?
"Yes, all of us are interested and follow the underground and I have been listening to Death Metal for about nine years, the other guys in the band are more or less the same I guess, because our ages are close."
Your music sounds really matured, well-structured and oldschool as fuck. Did you and the other band members play in other bands before and how do you see your band considering the musical skills?
"Yes, all members of the band have experiences and have been playing Metal for some years. I recommend you to check out DEGGIAL from Istanbul (which is our drummer’s band) if you want to hear furious Black Metal obsessed with blasphemy! So I can say all members in the band are capable of playing the shit out of their instruments and the vocalist Mustafa is a hell of a growler for sure."
What are the influences BURIAL INVOCATION are taking? I compared your band in my review a little bit with names as IMMOLATION, INCANTATION and DEAD CONGREGATION. Can you agree here?
"It’s honor to be mentioned with the bands above. Yes, INCANTATION is a huge influence on us, actually I like all styles from the early Death Metal era so the list of bands would be almost endless. I can say early Death Metal from Finland and Sweden and early Doom Metal are our influences."
What’s next for BURIAL INVOCATION? As far as I know Dark Descent Records already signed your band and announced the release of your upcoming full-length recording. What can we expect from this release?
"Yes that’s right. You can expect no innovation, just dark putrid Death Metal absorbed by doom! We won’t "grow up" and bring in jazzy elements or such to our material, we will stick to the ancient way."
BURIAL INVOCATION are from Turkey. This makes you exotic in a way as I don’t know any other Death Metal band from your country. Honestly spoken I don’t know any other Metal band from your country at all. Please introduce the Turkish scene as detailed as possible and tell us which role BURIAL INVOCATION play in this scene.
"There were Turkish Death Metal bands even in the late 80s and 90s and they recorded some raw and killer demos. Some of them that I know and listened to are ASTHAROTH, DEATHROOM, DEATH PROJECT, MAUSELOUM, SUICIDE, DEATH OATH, UNDERMOST, FLYING DIRTY CLOUDS (this one is DM / Grindcore and fucking kills), OBSCURITY, CORRODED. There are more old Turkish Death Metal bands that I have been hearing about but couldn’t find their tapes and listen to them yet."
Are there any recommendable bands worth to check out from your country?
"Deggial, Godslaying Hellblast, Decimation, Decaying Purity, Ultimate Blowup, Sakatat , Ehrimen. Most of them are not Death Metal but definitely worth checking out. The upcoming album of DECIMATION will slay!! (they are Death Metal)"
How does a Death Metal band get accepted in Turkey? How open- or closeminded is Turkey when talking about tolerance and acceptance of a Metalhead, metal bands and the Metal crowd in general?
"Well, that depends on which neighbourhood or city you are in. People may give you weird looks all the time in some neighbourhoods and small cities. A typical Turkish person doesn’t know and care much about Metal bands and Metal crowds anyway, they don’t have time for that kind of things, they have to earn a living and stuff. But yes, there are situations people can get negative reactions and even be attacked because of his look and shirts etc., personally I have never had such experience."
Which are the most popular Metal bands the average Turkish Metal fan is listening to and contrary what are your faves?
"I don’t know about the favourites of an average Turkish Metal fan because I don’t know that much people, just some friends and they all listen to good stuff, quite similar to what I listen to. But recently I have been to a festival in Istanbul where bands like Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Entombed, Overkill played and there was a nice dose of participation. But I can’t tell the same for underground gigs."
What are the bands you are currently in touch with and which you adore the most in the current scene?
"We have been in touch with people from ABHORROT, Black Trinity, Cruciamentum, Dead Congregation, Cemetary Urn, Unconsecrated, Vortilich, Necro, Ascended, Haemophagus, Undead Creep and ANATOMIA. Well, as AUTOPSY is back, the answer for most adored band in the current scene is clear! I will probably have the chance to see them live this summer!"
You are a newcomer in the oldschool Death Metal scene. What do you think about the current situation that more and more oldschool Death Metal bands pop up each day? Which are your favourite ones of those and how do you see BURIAL INVOCATION in this evolution?
"I think it’s a very good thing and my favourites of those are Ascended, Stench of Decay, Anatomia and SWALLOWED. It’s great that we are a part of the scene and honestly I have no idea about our place in this evolution."
Talking about Death Metal releases. Tell me some of your current fave-releases and some of your all-time classics. Please explain what makes the releases special to you.
"I have been listening to the new SWALLOWED release a lot recently and being blown away by the extremely raw and doomy sound, also the new GRAVE album is very good. About all time classics: Morbid Angel – "Covenant" : this is the first Death Metal record I have ever heard and needless to say, a masterpiece. FLESHCRAWL – "Descend Into The Absurd" : this is absolute Death Metal purity, very underrated, the track ‘Evoke The Excess’ is like a definition of classic Death Metal. Autopsy – "Mental Funeral" : this is the band that had put Death Metal to its classic form and this is the album where they perfected it. Can be listened through a lifetime. Demigod – "Slumber Of Sullen Eyes" : another underrated classic with amount of identity and obscurity that can’t be matched with any other record. Suffocation – "Effigy Of The Forgotten" – okay, this is in a different direction from the ones above but it doesn’t prevent this record from being another masterpiece, one of the first Death Metal albums I have heard, and I still can remember almost all timings and riffs during the whole record even listening to it after a long time, and not so many albums can do that."
Death Metal back in the early nineties was big all over the world, but from your point of view which country had the best bands to offer?
"Yes, I think all Death Metal, both major and underground, rule in the early 90s, so it’s really difficult to tell the best country of Death Metal. But I can say Finland and Sweden have the best underground bands of that time like Abhorrence, Depravity, Putrid, Agonized, Adversary, Abhoth, Crypt of Kerberos and the feeling of the obscure demos those bands recorded are still unmatched in Metal scene."
What do you see as the major difference between the recordings of the early 90s and the current releases (even if played in an oldschool way)?
"I think the new bands inspired by old Death Metal are quite good at capturing the ancient sound both writing and recording-wise. But the aura of early Death Metal demos from bands mentioned above isn’t something that can be come close to."
How serious do you take your band? What are the goals you want to reach with your band?
"I do take it quite serious but I wouldn’t want the band to become big with huge tours and endorsement deals and stuff, and it won’t so it’s cool. The main goal is to do good records, second is to play gigs to real Death Metal audiences only with bands that we like and support."
I guess you got mostly known due to platforms as myspace. Do you think it’s ok the way the promotion is done right now and do you think there’s a good and friendly contact in the scene? What is great and what should be changed?
"Yes that’s how the labels heard about us, we were going to send some promos anyway but internet helps things happen faster and that’s the positive thing about it, we couldn’t have met the guys from Dark Descent if we didn’t publish a song online because they didn’t have any releases back then, so we didn’t know about them. There are people who have supported us with reviews, carrying our items at their distro and I have met some really cool people so honestly I don’t see anything negative in this scene we are in."
Among the last things to ask I would like to know what you think about the layouts of the Death Metal releases? Your "Rituals…" CD offered a great and cool oldschool-esque drawing and fits just perfect to the music. What can you say about your cover, who took responsible for it and which covers are the most outstanding ones in the Death Metal genre in your opinion?
"Cover art is the thing that completes the record and yes I think the cover of our EP manages to do that, thanks to Nev for that (www.myspace.com/nevfuck). About outstanding Death Metal cover art, "Scream Bloody Gore" by DEATH comes to my mind right now, and I am really into black & white Death Metal demo covers and some of my favourites of those are "Premature Autopsy" by NIHILIST, "Death By Metal" by DEATH, "Remains Of An Art Forgotten" by ADVERSARY, 1990 demo of INCANTATION, all very simple but more effective than most complicated covers."
Cihan, it’s time to come to an end now. Hope you enjoyed this interview? Thanks for answering my questions and the time you spend on them. I hope I didn’t forget anything? If there’s something left to say at the end feel free to use this opportunity now. The last words are yours!
"Thank you for this interview Thomas, and no you didn’t forget anything and I don’t have anything else left to say, thank you for your support!"