Album of the Week 39-2013: Kırmızı – İsyan

Traveling to Istanbul last week didn’t only mean that I finally got to see Pentagram live, it also meant a trip to many, many CD stores in what I consider to be my promised land musically. Of the many albums I bought, the one that stood out most was a recommendation from my friend Enis of Hammer Müzik. I ended up listening to Kırmızı almost my entire way home. This all-female collective from Istanbul specializes in well-written and quite heavy modern Power Metal with awesome riffs and powerful vocals. It blew me away upon first listen and it still does now, many spins later.

What might even be the best aspect of this album is that it avoids the main pitfall of the genre, being its lack of variation. There are no two songs alike on ‘İsyan’. Okay, so the album is only half an hour long, but you’d be surprised how many incredibly boring half-hour albums there are. Even within the relatively simple compositions, the band works through a variety of rhythms – one of the first things I noticed is that Aslı Polat is the best female Metal drummer I have ever heard – and little decorations like subtle keyboard melodies or short fragments of electronics to keep things interesting.

‘Uyan’ is carried by one of the best riffs I have heard in a long time and its pounding midtempo doesn’t just invite you to headbang, it forces you to. Let’s just say I got surprised looks at the airport. Opening track ‘Çekilin Başımdan’ is the perfect moodsetter for this album and features Turkey’s alternative Metal star Hayko Cepkin on grunts, but it’s lead singer İdil Çağatay’s little scream in the chorus that sends chills down my spine. ‘Azat Et’ is also built upon an amazing guitar riff, underneath which Ecem Otgucuoğlu’s bass just sounds brutal, ‘Kimsin Sen’ is a bit more progressive in its structure and very successful as such, ‘Elveda’ displays a fantastic melodic traditional Heavy Metal riff that is the cause of pure eighties euphoria and ‘Vazgeçmem Asla’ makes sense as a closing track, leaving you with a desire to put the album back on again. It still does.

Performance-wise, everyone is at the top of their game here. İdil Çağatay has a strong throat with just the right amount of grit, Aslı Polat is – as stated before – a mind blowing drummer (that little fill in ‘Uyan’ convinced me definitively), Saba Arat, Burcu Özdereli and (if I understood things correctly) Çağatay deliver a great array of killer guitar riffs and Ecem Otgucuoğlu refuses to be the bass player in the background with her awesome sound and not-so-subtle fingerwork.

It’s hard to point out verbally how everyone who likes Heavy Metal should give Kırmızı a listen. I know it’s going to be hard to find their music outside of Turkey, if only because all the songs are in Turkish, but this is just stuff you need to hear as a Metal fan. This is powerful stuff with a ballsy production. Let’s just say that in the case of ‘İsyan’, I don’t mind getting my ass kicked by a bunch of girls. They kick it harder than I ever could.

Recommended tracks: ‘Uyan’, ‘Elveda’, ‘Kimsin Sen’, ‘Vazgeçmem Asla’

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