Album Reviews

illet – The Pattern of Life

A bit like London buses and female-fronted heavy metal bands, it seems that Turkish rock and metal acts are coming at me all at once to review. I must admit that, before I joined Lady Obscure Music Magazine, I didn’t realise there was such a burgeoning rock and metal scene in Turkey. Well, why not? I think that, because the majority of rock and metal acts that attain some significant success come from the U.K. or U.S., that short shrift is generally given to bands from smaller and less recognised demographics. As I have got more involved in reviewing music by bands from a wider area it has opened my mind up to the plethora of impressive musicians that come from elsewhere in Europe, Asia and the world in general. I do continue to be surprised by the high quality of music that these bands produce when, in reality, I should know better by now. Anyway, who is the Turkish band that I have the pleasure of reviewing this time? Well its Istanbul’s own illet and their debut album The Pattern of Life and, as is usual, it’s time for a bit of background history before the review itself.

One of the new mutants in the evolution of metal music in the world, illet… A modern sound fed by the influence of new genres like NWOAHM, metalcore and numetal; merged clean and aggressive vocals; complex riffs, crushing drums and electronic flavour. The band was formed by Özgür Monkul and Kudret Diplen in 2004. Their first ever show was in Kadikoy Anatolian High School. Starting with covers of bands like Slipknot and Mudvayne, along with their own songs, illet became an attractive and high performance image in the Turkish metal music arena. In the summer of 2007, they released the demo entitled “Küçük Kız” and shot a video directed by Deniz Cem Onduygu. “Aksak” and “Günahkar” were added to the list, for the EP named “Küçük Kız”.

In 2009, they added two more EPs titled as 2009, cilt 1/2 and 2009 cilt 2/2. This 2009 duo included 4 songs named “Benim Rüyam”, “Cevrimhiçi”, “Neler Neler” and “O’na”. During the following years the band performed in various venues and festivals that let metal music in, in Istanbul, Eskisehir, Bursa, Izmir, Balikesir and Canakkale. illet started the recording of their debut album, The Pattern of Life, in December 2010 with producer Sertaç Kaki. The band line up is Özgür (vocals and guitars), Kudret (guitars and backing vocals), Cenk Ercan (bass and backing vocals), Çağrı Halacoglu (drums) and Sertaç Kaki (electronics, sampling and backing vocals).

The album starts with the intense Killing S.G. , an inferno of an opening with crashing guitars, pounding drums and clever sampling before the powerful vocals kick in, this track is pure metalcore and I particularly liked the melodic chorus that is like a minor sea of tranquility among the maelstrom of music surrounding it, this breathless opening to the album is completed with an excellent solo.

A Brand New Day carries on in a similar vein with thunderous riffing, frantic drumming and well executed electronic sampling. Coupled with a more aggressive vocal it takes on a thrash metal edge whilst keeping that melodic chorus that lifts it above the everyday norm. The hectic pace rarely lets up, it’s an aural explosion and the slightly distorted solo is a nice touch as is the twin guitar sound that runs throughout.

There is no pause for breath before you are instantly thrown into Holy Betrayal, another powerhouse intro of coruscating guitar, drums and that harsher vocal, occasionally lifted by a drift into a cleaner voice in a sort of nu-metal meets thrash style. There is a multitude of energy and aggression on show here but it is collated into a cohesive whole rather than a complicated mess. As the track runs on there is a low key, guitar and drum interlude that runs into another complex solo and some well worked chanting vocals mixed with the aggressive vocal style, there is no filler here, everything is there for a reason and the brevity of the endings to the songs is testament to that.

The Pattern has a short, low key intro before the crashing guitars and harsh vocals take over by force. The song has a really aggressive feel to it, evinced by the use of aggressive vocals for the majority of the track which gives a darker feel to the whole song. The guitars work well throughout the song and the solo is a highlight, these guys are a tight unit indeed. The way the song leads out with a lighter, more melodic touch is a nice contrast to the melting pot of metal that has come before.

What For? starts with a pounding drum beat and edgy guitars before taking a lighter tack than previous. It isn’t long before that solid metalcore edge comes into play again, hard vocals and the electronic beats driving the song along with a slower pace than before. The mix with nu-metal is evident again, staccato guitar and rapping vocals thrown into the fray along with an excellent solo, you can tell that the years of gigging have set illet up as a solid unit, excellent musicians one and all.

The intro to Our Kind is like a really heavy nu-metal track, guitar licks firing left, right and centre over an expressive electronic beat, that ever-present pounding drum beat providing the foundations for another quality track. Once again, that clever mix of clean and aggressive vocals drives the song along with fervour and the fluid guitar solo shows that there is serious talent on show here. Look out, there is a storm coming and it is a storm of expressive metal, The Memories Behind is all aggression and power, musical violence if you will, from the tumultuous intro, through the harsh and cutting vocal delivery to the intricate solo and guitar play there is a force of will that threatens to obliterate all before it.

I have spoken of passion in music before and this record is overflowing with it, raw and bleeding. A nicely weighted piano intro leads us into the longest track on the album, The Beast in Me, hold on a moment and the guitars, drums and bass will be along shortly, powering into view. Another advert for dynamic, energetic and forceful metal with an electronic edge, it is my favourite track on the album. The clean vocals seem to get a longer run and all the hallmarks that make illet such an interesting band come together to produce a behemoth of a track. The harsh, aggressive vocals work well taking a back seat on this track, the guitars are as dominant as ever but something just gives this track enough to take it to another level. The final track on the album, Cycle, starts off as potent as the rest and turns things up to 11, monstrous vocals, pummelling guitars and some stalwart drumming all contributing to one of the heaviest songs on the album, these guys sure like to finish with a huge dose of the dramatic and go out with a bang.

The Pattern of Life is an impressive and talented aural assault that will not appeal to everyone. It takes a couple of listens to buy into the intensity of a band like illet but, once you do you’re hooked. A release that gets better every time you listen to it and a striking debut album, these guys should have a successful future ahead of them.

www.illet1.com

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