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Sunday Old School: Mezarkabul

This past year we’ve looked at some of the old guard in a lot of places across the world. From Rotting Christ in Greece, to Belphegor in Austria to Pentagram Chile in… uh, Chile. Today Sunday Old School will once again be looking at a band from a place we haven’t examined yet, and another band called Pentagram to boot, though internationally they are not known by the same moniker as the Chilean and American groups, but rather by a word which in their home country of Turkey means "to accept the grave," a band known outside the former Ottoman Empire by the name of Mezarkabul. The group was formed in the city of Bursa in 1986 by drummer, Cenk Ünnü and guitarist, Hakan Utangaç, with bass player, Tarkan Gözübüyük joining their ranks the next year. Utangaç assumed the role of lead vocalist for the first few years, during which they performed live frequently, building up a fan base strong enough to get them signed to Nepa Muzik, through whom they released their self-titled debut full length.

Shortly after the record’s release, the group recruited a new vocalist named, Bartu Toptas, allowing Utangaç to concentrate more on his guitar playing, a pressure which was lessened when Pentagram brought in a second guitarist, Demir Demirkan in 1992. Toptas did not stay with the group for long however and his only recording with the group can be heard as part of the intro to the song, "Secret Missile," the opening track of their sophomore album, "Trail Blazer," on which vocals were performed by a singer named, Ogün Sanlisoy. The album was notable for the song, "Fly Forever," which was written about their guitarist, Ümit Yilbar, who was killed by terrorists in 1993 whilst performing national service.

Once again however, the band was forced to find a new singer, after Sanlisoy left in 1995. His replacement was Murat Ilkan, who made his recording debut with Pentagram on the 1997 album, "Anatolia." The album once again paid tribute to their fallen friend, Yilbar, in both the title track and the song, "1000 in the Eastland." The album generally dealt with their perceived futility of war and the ignorance of the suffering felt by people in the Middle East. The album was well received and was followed by a live album, "Popçular Disari," which was their last record to feature guitarist, Demirkan, who went on to write Turkey’s only Eurovision Song winning entry, "Every Way That I Can."

Following Demirkan’s departure, the band retreated to their studio in Istanbul to work on new material and it was decided that they had enough quality songs to split into two albums. The first of these came in 2001 under the title, "Unspoken" and was the first time the band had released an album using the moniker, Mezarkabul, though as stated, they have always been known as Pentagram in their homeland. The album was praised for their continued experimentation with traditional Turkish music, which first surfaced on "Anatolia" and was developed even further on the next album, 2002’s, "Bir," which was also warmly received.

After this pair of albums was released, Mezarkabul shifted their attention to performing live, somewhat evidenced by their only release in the next ten years, "1987," a live DVD/CD. In 2010, after fifteen years of service, Murat Ilkan performed with the group for the final time at the Turkish leg of the Sonisphere Festival. He was replaced by The Climb vocalist, Gökalp Ergen and excited by the injection of fresh blood, the band recorded their first studio album in ten years, "MMXII." With their now rejuvenated spirit and appearances at festivals across Europe, the future continues to look bright for Turkey’s most established metal band and although founded almost thirty years ago, many will still be hoping that they can break further into the Western market.

Mezarkabul - "Secret Missile"

Mezarkabul - "Anatolia"

Mezarkabul - "Lions in a Cage"

Mezarkabul - "Ölümlü"

Mezarkabul - "Bir"

Mezarkabul - "Gecmisin Yuku"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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4 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Mezarkabul"

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1. Malevolent6 writes:

Nice coverage of Mezarkabul

# Nov 16, 2014 @ 2:04 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

2. Diamond Oz writes:

Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it.

# Nov 18, 2014 @ 12:23 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Malevolent6's avatar


3. Malevolent6 writes:

Diamond Oz are you going to coverage any other or more international bands?

# Nov 18, 2014 @ 7:25 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

4. Diamond Oz writes:

I am indeed. In fact, this Sunday's column will be another band from a country the series hasn't looked at before. Not saying who it is but I will say they're releasing a new album next week.

I've also got more written and planned for bands from South Korea, Italy, Israel, Spain and Argentina, but again, no names just yet ;)

# Nov 18, 2014 @ 8:11 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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