- Album Reviews

Burak Ozmucur – Long until Gone

Today, I am going to talk about a multi-talented musician and his album, Long until Gone.

Burak was born in the beautiful city of Istanbul but he did not live there for long. When he was 9, about 15 years ago, he moved to the US of A and is now living in New Jersey.

This bloke has always been surrounded with music though, wherever he lived. His dad played the accordion and his brother played, well, pretty much everything. Music was his family’s “thing” so he started taking piano lessons when he was recently a teenager.  His heart was set though; he heard what the bands like Metallica, Alice in Chains and Deftones did and he wanted to learn the guitar. Even though sometime he regrets it, he did not get much into learning classical music.

As to be expected, he had a band in high school playing covers and a few originals. Not until 2009 he was going to start recording though and he released two acoustic records within three years. He wanted to do rock and metal with progressive thrown in but he lacked the proper tools of the trade which in 2012, he finally had the means and the motivation to acquire.

Around August 2012, he started putting Long until Gone together. The album was complete in February this year and reflects his love of bands like Meshuggah, Deftones, Metallica, Alice in Chains, Alter Bridge, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree while keeping it unique.

The album features Burak on everything – from the guitars to (albeit programmed) drums, to bass to vocals. Speaking of which, if you ask me, vocals are the very highlight of the album. Burak’s voice has so much charisma to it… Guitars have some very good moments here and there; very good riffs from time to time. I would say, the rhythm sections are the weakest links here – bass lines are buried in the mix and at the spots where you actually can hear them, they don’t add much. Drums, on the other hand, are samples and they are programmed. Even though you could say they sound organic occasionally, it probably is a testimony to Burak’s skills and as you know, the Lady always prefer the trigger free, organic, acoustically recorded drums.

The sound is heavy at times and soothing in general – but unfailingly dark at all times. The darkness is not one dimensional though, it is gloomy yet heavenly – there is a multifaceted depth to it, so to speak. The songs are convincingly melancholic and drag you into the dark. You can feel the anger, depression, moroseness and his run through his own internal mazes.

Don’t get me wrong though, this is not to say the songs are the same. They all share a dark aspect to them, there is not much variety in this sense – but they all are unique in their own right.

Lyrics support this feel as well – there is no joy or elation in the lyrics, they fit perfectly into the darkness. Even the album cover – designed by Sean Buckley of Deadstation – tells you upfront that “there be darkness.”

Now, onto the songs!

With New Decision, Burak nails the low notes – his deep voice is moving and the crunchy, dirty guitar work along with the pounding drums add to it often with at least one layer featuring some kind of processing – occasionally lending them a dreamy, ethereal feel. Although I wish the sounds were more natural and not programmed, I am impressed. A good opener that builds the overall sound deftly with nice atmospheric effects and melodic plucking.  Through the driving guitars, slow beats, and deep vocals, a melody intertwines itself with the heavy sound.

If I had known amazed me with its unique way of creating a gloomy atmosphere. The main riff, which grasps you right away, is not a sad one – almost a happy riff – but the beautiful combination of that riff with the super melodic sad vocal lines results in a graceful depression. It feels like looking up to the grey skies and loving it to bits… stimulating song!!

Have you ever found yourself embracing your sadness? If you have, you know what I am talking about. If you have not, let us move on the next song, The Second Lie which happens to be my favourite off this album, to fill you in on the art of embracing one’s sadness.

Intro has beautifully harmonised vocal layers and before the chorus, there is a nice solo as well… Very nice melodic touches here and there. The melodic and heartfelt chorus is what really catches your ear, voice full of charisma… convincing and haunting. I can’t even explain why I am so impressed by this song and I think I can say most of the credit goes to the vocals… Ha! As usual, I should say… Strong melodies, in both the guitar and vocal departments.

[pullquote_right]”I wrote and recorded everything at my apartment and the goal was simply to try to write a bunch of good songs also focusing on production. I guess if I had to describe how everything sounds, it would be dark, atmospheric, heavy, but very melodic at the same time. My brother, Necati Ozmucur added some additional string arrangements as well and the artwork was done by Sean Buckley at Aggressive Logo Design who is also the guitarist from the band The Deadstation. If you’re wondering how I recorded everything, I used a Line 6 POD HD Desktop which is a digital amplifier for all guitars, bass and I programmed the drums in ezDrummer. I used a condenser microphone for all the vocals and used Reaper as my Digital Audio Workstation. Thank you and I hope you like what you hear.” – Burak[/pullquote_right]

The tempo is generally slow most of the tracks are stately, slow affairs, but hear some heavy and fast paced – Metallica sounding – riffs on Taking Over a welcome upturn in pace. Although the titular track, Long Until Gone signals a sequel in the pace, don’t let the opening riffs fool you… It will go up and down, high tempo sections coupled with some tasteful drum beats…

Overall, I love having this type of albums in my archive as I love my albums matching my moods… When I’m feeling down, I need to embrace it until it is lived to its full – when I’m drink-yourself-to-a-stupor depressed, I need an album like this.

The reflection of this sound-wise, or should I say, the music is dirty, fuzzy, murky and low; full of gloom and distress. I love the subtlety and the clear direction, or place, in this album.

Production though is lacking. Don’t get me wrong, with the tools he had, Burak did an absolutely good job even during the most chaotic sections. However, it is not stellar throughout the whole Long Until Gone. It is rough and dirty, Mastodon like – while it has a good excuse, namely the chaotic sound of the album. Not bad for what it is.

So, after everything said and done, this is the final word: Burak is close to being so great…

There is a lot here that is good to great, while the production value is not up to par, it can actually give you a moment to reflect on the songs themselves. I believe some monies from the outside, sourced through fans or a label, can do wonders on the next one as there is so much potential there…

Although I gave it 3.5 stars out of five for the reasons explained, I should tell you that Burak is a five star musician.

He definitely has a clear direction – subtle, simple, and melancholic… Check this album out!

Cheers!

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