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Underground Metal Special: Turkey

Underground Metal Special: Turkey

by Luxi Lahtinen

We are not here to learn about the history of Turkey and the Seljuk or Ottoman dynasties, but the underground metal bands that country has on offer. We here at the infamous steel tower of The Metal Crypt approached a bunch of musicians from Turkish metal bands and posed a couple of well-selected questions to each of them designed to help us to understand the heavy metal culture and what it is like to make a career playing in a metal band in Turkey, among other things...

All interviews conducted by Luxi Lahtinen

Thanks to every musician that participated in this metal special

When you decided to form/join this band, what did you want to achieve?

Ozan Erkmen (DIABOLICAL RAW): When I joined the band, I was quite young like the other members of the group and most of our goals were similar. The goal that motivated us the most was to sign with a big European label and take the stage at many festivals.

Elrith Arhalewn (ELRITH): Back in high school, around 2004, I was one of the metalheads. We formed a band covering local and national rock bands and gave concerts to 30-50 people almost every month in our small, local rock café. I was getting better at the guitar, and I progressed to heavy/thrash around 2006. Gradually my improving skills led me to playing death metal, fusion jazz (both in 2009) and later technical death metal (2011). Essentially, Elrith has been around since 2004. Rock music was so popular back then that forming rock bands among teenagers was an increasing trend. Demand for electric guitars was so high back then. I did not stop at university like others do but continued making music from death metal to fusion jazz. All those experiences shaped me over the years, and I have achieved what I wanted, which is music is my life at this moment and I am very happy about it.

Doğuşcan Apel (ACROSOME): In 2009, we put a few Turkish songs on MySpace. Then companies from different countries contacted us. First, there was a deal with a company to publish our songs. After that, DY left the group, so I started to sing songs that were close to the music in my head. I think I found myself on the last album.

Senem Ündemir (VENGEFUL GHOUL): We formed our band during our university years. Our goal was to play our songs and play them on stage and be heard more and more every day. Our aim is still the same and we're working on this path.

Batu Çetin (CENOTAPH): I formed the band in Ankara, Turkey, back in 1993 and my main goal was to perform and play the most extreme and brutal music in Turkey. Since '93 we have been pretty active. We have released seven full-length albums, toured and played a lot of shows around the globe and our plan is to continue releasing sick music.

Tarkan Gözübüyük (MEZARKABUL): Becoming a band was the main objective. We were yearning to mature into fine musicians and belong to the music scene we love. That has been the case ever since.

Meriç Köseoğlu (MALEDICTORY): I remember the day in the summer of 2017 because it was hot and our balls were burning up. I called Sercan and said, "Let's go to a studio and play some loud music." He called Ali from his previous band to play bass. At that rehearsal we had a lot of fun and decided to play together again. After the third rehearsal, we formed the band.

My personal goals were exactly the same as the other guys in the band. We dreamed of playing with some bigger metal bands, as most of them came to Istanbul, and playing at some of the biggest metal festivals in Turkey (there were some arranged before the Covid-shit). We are also hoping to play our neighbor countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and, who knows, maybe even in Germany one day.

Primarily, we want to share our loud music at live shows with audiences that are into our type of stuff. We did play many local gigs in the beginning until the Covid-shit happened. We would like to play more live, that's for sure.

Bahadır Uludağlar (MORIBUND OBLIVION): Yes, we had very big goals. We wanted to count Moribund Oblivion among the major bands. We wanted to create a band that would be known to all metalheads around the world. It's been 23 years since 1999 and we've already achieved some of our goals. Moribund Oblivion is a well-known metal band now, but we have many more goals. Our way is much longer. We will proceed to each of them one by one.

Bora Ince (FURTHERIAL): I joined Furtherial in 2012. The band was called Extinction before that, had some demos and had been active since 2008. I joined at a time when Başer, the front man and main songwriter of the band, had decided to rename and restructure the band. We quickly started to work on our debut Destroying Atropolis and released it in 2013. My personal goal was to support and contribute to the best of my abilities to produce the music we love with the best production possible. This goal remains the same. We've released three LPs and two EPs, and we have always made the music we wanted to make and produced it as well as we can, considering what we have at our disposal. We still remain one of the most active and productive bands of our scene and we still have so much to do.

Onur Hunuma (ONUR HUNUMA): I started my project in early 2015. My first goal was to re-arrange some of the songs I had written and record my first album. That was the primary achievement I wanted to accomplish because I had no external supporters, funders or opportunities other than my small bedroom studio setup with some cheap-ass equipment. I finished recording and mixing my first album in late 2015 and finally released it via Distrokid on 1 February 2016.

Murat Sabuncu (INHUMAN DEPRAVITY): No, we didn't have any particular goals at the very beginning. All we wanted to do was what we were fond of, death metal, and meet other people.

Kaan Menekse (WRATH OF FATE): First of all, hi, I am Kaan, one of the founding members of the band, and I will answer your questions in a way that reflects our common thoughts as Wrath of Fate. I play drums for the band, and I also do the music production of our albums from start to finish. Let's move on to the answers without disturbing the atmosphere of the conversation.

It was 2018 and we were close friends before we decided to form Wrath of Fate. When we met, we usually talked about country problems and social problems. Instead of playing covers, we thought why not make our own music and tell people about them. This is how the real adventure began. Meanwhile, the goal in my mind was for people to take our music and the lyrics we wrote seriously and use it to add something to themselves. My main goal while doing this was to achieve world standards in terms of composition quality and production. We also released the second album and I have almost achieved these goals. If you listen to our albums in order, you will see the gradual development I mentioned.

Damla Kayihan (ANZERIA): Since my childhood, I have always been involved in music somehow. After I discovered metal music and started to explore its subgenres, I immediately knew that symphonic metal was the best and most suitable genre for my voice and my songs as well as the meaning they try to tell. So, I started my band AnzeriA and with this band, I wanted to fulfill my love of music and to let people catch a glimpse of my soul and mind along with my talented and devoted band mates who have the real muse in them. We all have contributed to this a lot.

Albayrak (KUAFÖR CENGIZ): We formed Kuaför Cengiz Kc back in 1997 at a time when there was an economic crisis in Turkey (TR). Seems like there still is an economic crisis in TR. Our reason for forming Kc was to speak out about corruption, injustice, and exploitation. We just wanted to vent about the situation, do wild shows, and cause mayhem.

Engin Pomakoglu (DEPRESSIVE MODE): We established Depressive Mode in 2007. We were strict doom/gothic metal fans and decided to make music according to our musical view. At the beginning we didn't have any expectations like making albums, etc. Then an indie Russian label reached out to us and said they want to produce our album. That was a good chance for us and our first step. In the long run our goal is to reach more people around the world with our music.

Onur Önok (ZIFIR): The purpose of the founding of this band was to spread our demoniac propaganda. This has been targeted since the beginning and the same line is maintained. Each new album is a step we take to achieve this.

Mert Kaya (CARNOPHAGE): My purpose in founding the band was just to make music. When you find the right people who share the same ideals as you, the band finds its own path by itself. Making tough and aggressive brutal death metal was our top priority.

Emre Can (GODBUD): Well, due to the nature of the stoner doom genre, we strive for that "big fat analog" sound. So, I believe the best part of being a part of this band is the live performances, where we can share this experience with a crowd of people. That's why my own personal goal (which I think is also a shared goal) is touring abroad, playing in numerous festivals around Europe and beyond.

Kerem Akman (DEVOURED ELYSIUM): First of all, hello I am Kerem, the vocalist of Devoured Elysium. We decided to form the band in 2017 and our first focus was always on making a debut album. We wanted to sign with a label and promote our album to the world. In the end, we achieved these goals.

How popular is metal music with all its subgenres in your country compared to 10-15 years ago? Can you see metalheads walking the streets among so-called "regular people" wearing shirts from Maiden to Cannibal Corpse to Dimmu Borgir, etc.?

Ozan Erkmen (DIABOLICAL RAW): Since the '80s, underground metal genres have grown together with popular sub-metal genres in Turkey and gained a large fan base. In addition, the metalhead crowd usually live in big cities and you can easily see metalheads while walking down the street in Izmir, Istanbul or Ankara. But in rural areas, especially in the east, it is very difficult to find a metalhead. Rural areas have a very religious and conservative lifestyle and metalheads do not like to live in these areas.

Elrith Arhalewn (ELRITH): Metal is not so popular here anymore. In my opinion, metal is at least ''less'' popular than other countries and technical death metal is also not doing well here. Last time I saw a technical death metal band was a cover band in my city, back in 2010. In contrast I feel like something is happening and demand for metal is rising as for example Iron Maiden's last album Senjutsu debuted at number three and that's fantastic. That's a great question, even though I do not wear that many metal band shirts anymore... ;o) Jokes aside, if we compare 10-15 years ago and today, there were metal band shirts everywhere, however it's rare nowadays.

Doğuşcan Apel (ACROSOME): If the police see you on the street when you wear t-shirts with pentagram symbols or metal bands, they will come and burn it... :) Well, just joking, of course!

Metalheads, who live in socioculturally undeveloped neighborhoods, were having problems but now I think that is over. With the Internet, everyone has access to a lot of information. There is not much difference between 10-15 years ago and today. New generations are coming, and they are making the music of the old generations even better.

Senem Ündemir (VENGEFUL GHOUL): Metal was and still is popular in Turkey in terms of the underground. The most popular genres are extreme metal styles from black metal to death metal. You can see live mainstream bands from all genres, but it's very common to see the bands that play subgenres of black metal from other countries. This applies to the Turkish metal scene as well. Turkish metal musicians are most likely to form a band that plays death or black metal.

It's inevitable not to see people wearing t-shirts from metal bands with the growth of fashion.

Batu Çetin (CENOTAPH): Yeah, back in the day, in the '90s, it was a small scene but has been growing a lot ever since. Every year I am seeing a new generation of metal bands or kids at the shows, which is cool, of course!

Yeah, sure metalheads over here are very similar to other countries. You can see them walking on the street among more so-called "regular people", with long hairs, wearing black shirts with any metal band you could imagine.

Tarkan Gözübüyük (MEZARKABUL): It was something exceptional in the eighties. When I saw someone with a Maiden shirt, I would stop the public bus, jump out and run after him or her to try and make friends with. The metal scene has grown gradually and it's more common to see fans from any genre nowadays, particularly in big cities.

Meriç Köseoğlu (MALEDICTORY): Metal music is far less popular these days compared to 10-15 years ago. Especially if you count the ruling political Islamic party (or one man and the lurkers around him) for more than 20 years in Turkey and the economic effects, it is getting harder and harder each day to go to the "right" places to listen to some metal music, have some beers and organize a live metal show at a rock/metal bar. So, in other words, I see fewer people with metal shirts on the streets. But Istanbul can be exceptional as a city with almost 20 million people. There are still young people who wear metal shirts.

Besides, 20-25 years ago, our hometown Bursa was known as a true rock city. Nowadays, however, it unfortunately is not that at all...

Bahadır Uludağlar (MORIBUND OBLIVION): There is a very large metal music audience in Turkey. In our opinion, metalheads are the same all over the world. The Turkish metal music market is the same as in Europe. Since the beginning of the '90s, metal music has achieved a great rise in Turkey. While we were experiencing this rise, we started to introduce ourselves to the world metal music scene.

Bora Ince (FURTHERIAL): I'm not really sure if it's more or less popular nowadays. It was never really mainstream to begin with. We have Pentagram, the most accomplished metal band of our country who has their roots in the underground scene, but as you can imagine, their most well-known work is their more melodic songs, similar to Metallica. As far as really extreme stuff goes, it has always been underground. You can spot metalheads if you go to areas where metal is played, like bars in Taksim and Kadıköy. But even there, most of the venues play common pop stuff, so the metalheads are still a minority. All I can say is there's still a good number of people going to shows, streaming and buying albums. If there's a drop off, I think it's more about our rapidly declining economy and the 20 years of AKP rule, which is an Islamic conservative party who, as you can imagine, is against all kinds of night life/alcohol consumption. They keep putting outrageous taxes on the venues, the drinks, etc. If we see fewer metalheads around, I think it's more likely because people can't go out to have fun as much as they could before.

Onur Hunuma (ONUR HUNUMA): Well, metal music has been kind of popular within the underground scene in Turkey since the late '80s. But it's much more popular and has a strong place in the popular culture these days compared to 10-15 years ago. It wouldn't be a ''wow moment'' to see some famous local metal bands' video clips on music TV channels now. It's common to see people with metal shirts almost anywhere in Turkey, but cities like Istanbul and Izmir are famous with their metalhead communities. I live in Istanbul, and I can say that especially the Kadiköy region (located on the Asian side of the city) of Istanbul has a very unique and huge metal and punk community compared to the other regions of the city. You can see many people with shirts from many different bands and subgenres. Basically, you can see a math teacher having a beer at a metal pub with their Dream Theater shirt on after a hard day in school, haha!!

Murat Sabuncu (INHUMAN DEPRAVITY): The popularity of metal has significantly decreased in the last 15, and especially the last 10 years. The number of metalheads you can see on the street has decreased year by year and today, the people we see are only our friends. But the number of those friends has increased by the effect of social media. Still, there are a very few people here.

Kaan Menekse (WRATH OF FATE): As far as I can see, metal music was more popular in Turkey 10 - 15 years ago. Politically, after those years, pressure on music began in our country. Instead of trying to understand the music as in the past, people started to keep simple, mindless productions. The production companies in Turkey do not want their comfort to be disturbed. They continue to stick to what they know and are closed to innovations. If you listen to most bands, you will see that they are still mixed like 20 years ago. When we started in this business, we knew that we would not get local support and it would be difficult for us to show ourselves. If I were a sociologist, I could have written hundreds of theses on the bullshit in this country. Some may be angry with me for complaining, but I wish things would get better and I would praise it until morning. There are metal bands here that do it right, and they deserve to shine. Anyway, that could be the subject of another conversation and I have a lot to say about local problems. Returning to our topic yes, I used to hang out on the streets with my all-black style. I've had a lot of metal band t-shirts and it's not usually considered weird to look like that. The religious part of the society would describe us as Satanists. Nowadays, metal music is no longer noticeable as it has lost its popularity. The fact that metalheads were seen as slightly strange by the society and the nonsense comments from people would at least keep metal music on the agenda and introduce this music to new people.

Çağrı Çarhacıoğlu (ANZERIA): Since metal music isn't a very popular genre in our country, unlike rock, pop, etc., metal musicians mostly need to have a primary job for a living since we cannot earn much money from metal music. Except for a few well-established and well-known metal bands, the rest are unable to go beyond being "underground". A few years ago, underground metal musicians had more venues to play and had more opportunities to perform live. However, due to the political and economic conditions in Turkey, the number of these venues and opportunities has been decreasing year by year. Putting aside the pandemic restrictions, until a few years ago, there used to be very good festivals in our country where we could see the world-famous metal bands and musicians.

Damla Kayihan (ANZERIA): By the way, in the late-90s and early-2000s, young people with long hair and black t-shirt used to get busted and interrogated by police with the accusation of alleged satanism. Strange times... Thank God, those days are over now.

Mehmet Erkut Atay (ANZERIA): Nowadays, the rap style is seen on the street much more.

Albayrak (KUAFÖR CENGIZ): I would say that metal in TR today compared to 15 years ago is about the same regarding followers. A lot less foreign bands come to TR now compared to then (even before Covid-19). However, more quality Turkish groups have formed within that period. You can see metal kids walking the streets with metal t-shirts in the major cities like Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir. There are diehards in the smaller cities as well.

Engin Pomakoglu (DEPRESSIVE MODE): According to our observation, the metal scene was better 15-20 years ago in Turkey. Still there are really good and talented guys (and listeners), but it's not like it was in the '90s or 2000s. You could see a lot of metalheads wearing mainstream and other various metal bands' shirts in the '90s. Today, sadly, electronic-based music is much more popular than metal in Turkey.

The most popular metal genres nowadays are death metal, thrash metal and black metal.

Onur Önok (ZIFIR): Turkey is a country that has been close to underground subgenres since the early 1990s.

Metalheads, starting in the mid-1980s, were able to reveal their identities quite broadly until 2000. Between 2000 and 2005, there was a decrease or indifference in the country, but after 2005 it continued from where it left off. Of course, there are fans who can be identified by their apparel while walking on the street.

Mert Kaya (CARNOPHAGE): I can't say that metal is very popular in Turkey, however we have a few very high level and dedicated musicians and a loyal audience. In the '90s, there were pioneering death metal bands like Cenotaph, Suicide, Asafated and many more that we respect so much even today. When we come to the 2000s, many young and successful extreme metal bands were formed like Decimation, Decaying Purity, Cidesphere, Carnophage, etc. If we talk about today there are many awesome bands like Burial Invocation, Engulfed, Molested Divinity, Diabolizer, Thrashfire (more on the way) and the names I mentioned above that are releasing albums from topnotch underground record labels and many local Turkish bands appear at very big international festivals, tours, and shows. It's safe to say Turkey has a great scene especially extreme metal.

Emre Can (GODBUD): Metal was much more popular in the early 2000s. Today, young people are mostly into hip-hop and electronic stuff more than guitar-based music (which is fine by me, popularity always leads to shittiness, anyway). Still, I do see metalheads around occasionally. As our hometown, Kadikoy, was always a favorite spot for thriving subcultures in Istanbul.

Kerem Akman (DEVOURED ELYSIUM): Actually, I'm 23 years old now and I don't know what the metal scene was like 15 years ago. It is quite normal to walk around the streets in a metal band t-shirt these days. According to our elder brothers, in the past, there was more demand for concerts than today. Yet as I said, these are not my experiences. Today, when I walk around the most crowded streets of the city I live in with my "Gore 2.0" t-shirt, no one looks at me like "who the hell is this weirdo?"

Which things are you most proud of regarding achievements with your band?

Ozan Erkmen (DIABOLICAL RAW): The value of the Turkish lira against the Euro and the US dollar was very low in the past, as it is today, so it was difficult to buy good instruments or make quality recordings. Despite all that, we made good recordings, gave high-energy concerts, shared the same stage with bands like Marduk, for example. Also, during the witch hunt initiated by the media and the state police, together with the Satanism scandal that started in '99, everyone wearing a metal t-shirt was branded a "satanist" and arrested. We were not afraid, did not take a step back, and continued to produce metal.

Elrith Arhalewn (ELRITH): That's another great question. With my latest album, Elrith started to get recognized, started to be featured in some magazines and on Facebook and Instagram pages, and some serious websites about metal I have followed since childhood. It was pure joy seeing Elrith on there. It is very strange feeling looking for cool bands on pages back then and now I am on there with Elrith.

Doğuşcan Apel (ACROSOME): It is important for me to convey the music in my head exactly. I believe I have achieved this. My expectation is that the albums will be released and listened to, maybe to set up a lineup and perform live in the future.

Senem Ündemir (VENGEFUL GHOUL): There are some obstacles such as living in a non-EU country with volatile currency due to wrong economic, social and political decisions. If you are living in Turkey and make a good record, you must have a decent job to afford expenses for instruments, production, post-production, and marketing. We did all of these things while we were working full time and used our annual leave days for touring Europe as the opening band for Tim "Ripper" Owens with the Irish progressive metal band Sandstone and a small tour with Lord Vulture (NL) and Forcentury (DK). Our drummer had to quit his job to attend the tour.

Batu Çetin (CENOTAPH): We are proud of all our releases and proud to play such extreme and brutal death metal basically in the middle of nowhere in Turkey since '93. We are also the first metal band from our country who played at Maryland Deathfest in the US in 2006. We were the first metal band from Turkey to tour Russia and Siberia three times.

Tarkan Gözübüyük (MEZARKABUL): After the military coup in 1980, we were misfit kids in an oppressive society. The music reached out to us and offered the liberty to express our frustration in a civilized way. Hence, we've always admired great bands and aspired to be like them. Fortunately, we've endured long enough and see our work appealing to a younger generation. It feels like being a link in a chain that binds us.

Meriç Köseoğlu (MALEDICTORY): Some of our accomplishments that we are most proud of are the video clip for "Neverending Vicious Cycle" (the second one is on the way this summer) having the blue tick in Spotify as a band and seeing some people wearing our band's shirts in some regular places like shopping malls, etc. And if we think about the future, having a chance to play with Rotting Christ will surely be a big step for us to reach some new goals as I mentioned in the answer to the first question.

Bahadır Uludağlar (MORIBUND OBLIVION): As a Turkish metal band, it is difficult to introduce yourself to the whole world. There are many political reasons for this. For example, Schengen Visa for Europe. We continued to advance and fight all barriers. We fought all the problems and won. If you want to be a big name, you have to overcome every obstacle. We are trying to do that, too. We have played in many countries and on many big stages in the last 20 years. Our albums received high praise from the world metal media. The long-time support of metalheads is a great success for us.

Bora Ince (FURTHERIAL): We're proud of all the songs we've created and the shows we've played. Despite the difficulties I mentioned before, there's a very strong core family in our scene and we're proud to be a part of that. We're especially proud when we play with foreign bands and our performance and the crowd surprise them. All that is left is to try to take that on a tour abroad someday.

Onur Hunuma (ONUR HUNUMA): I am actually proud of my latest album, Lumina, and the two singles after that, from the composition to the production quality. I do everything from scratch, from the idea to the final product on my own in my bedroom studio. I am actually a guitar player, but I also play synths, program the drums and orchestral parts and mix and master as well. I think that I finally found my unique sound with Lumina. It is my guide as I work on my fourth album.

Murat Sabuncu (INHUMAN DEPRAVITY): We are proud of our first album, which I think is a good debut and released by a worldwide known label. Our first appearance abroad at Black Sea Metal Fest in Ukraine and also at the biggest national festival Heavy Stage are also what we are proud of. And, of course, the gig we did for our vocalist Lucy's marriage celebration and her appearance on stage in her wedding dress in this brutal death metal show was an unforgettable memory.

Kaan Menekse (WRATH OF FATE): As I have mentioned, if there is a lot of financial distress and pressure in a country, art cannot develop. People do not have their own tastes. That's why music that cannot be considered art is becoming popular. I think the situation is a little different for metal music. People here have a bad habit of immediately accepting any situation. They accept the injustice done to them instead of rebelling. Is it like this in France? Even if metal music loses its popularity there, it will not end. They will continue to make big metal fests. But it looks like it will end one day here. I hope something changes and I am wrong. For all these reasons, we are trying to find our place abroad. At least we started working on it. Let's get back to our topic again. I am proud that we were able to release two albums while facing so many problems. We continue to produce new projects and soon we will meet you with our final version. We are working hard to change things. As a result, it makes me proud to try to change things and to see those who support us, even a little, while doing it.

Damla Kayihan (ANZERIA): Despite all the difficulties surrounding us, we are very proud of being one of the few symphonic metal bands in Turkey with a full album and our music being heard all around the world. Besides, since our foundation, we have participated in a couple of competitions where we made it to the finals or ranked among the top three. Maybe not huge, but definitely noteworthy and memorable achievements for us.

Engin Pomakoglu (DEPRESSIVE MODE): Sometimes we get very special and positive emails from listeners. We think it's not important to be listened to by more people. We really feel satisfied and proud if we see that our music reaches someone personally who lives in a faraway corner of the world. That's really a good reward for us indeed.

Onur Önok (ZIFIR): What we can be proud of is that we continue to make the music we want, independently and uninterruptedly for 15 years and spread our ideas under this name.

Mert Kaya (CARNOPHAGE): Touring Europe with Condemned, Cytotoxin and Ingested (Gutting Europe V) in 2017 was one of the highlights of our entire career for me. Playing every night in a different country made me feel like a real musician and that was a lifetime experience that I will never forget. Releasing two albums on Unique Leader Records was also a great thing which we are proud of.

Emre Can (GODBUD): I guess our biggest achievement here is being the part of a scene and building a network of bands with similar tastes in music. As far as I know, 10 years ago it was only us who were playing stoner doom (with our previous band Humbaba) in Turkey. But nowadays, there are new bands popping up every day, and even if we played a tiny role in all this, it still makes me proud. We're always trying to reach those new, promising bands and arrange a gig together, so the circle can expand.

Kerem Akman (DEVOURED ELYSIUM): We signed a label deal with our debut album, Extermination Policies (which was released by Coyote Records) and we received good feedback from the audience. Afterwards, we shot our first music video for our second album, thanks to our new label GoreHouse Productions. The thing we are most proud of is signing with Gorehouse Productions. I admire their work very much and I believe that we will grow with them.

If I visited Turkey, which essential (metal) pubs and/or venues would you direct me to?

Ozan Erkmen (DIABOLICAL RAW): The best metal scenes are in Istanbul. For example, there are very good bands performing at Dorock XL and there are also very good concerts at the Karga concert hall in Istanbul/Kadikoy. Dinosaur Bar in Izmir is quite old school, and the live shows are very good.

Elrith Arhalewn (ELRITH): For Istanbul, Kadıköy is the center of this. Sadly, most venues and rock/metal cafés have been closed in the past few years and only a few are left. In my city there is none. If you go to Moda/Kadıköy our live gig rhythm guitar player, chef Burhan will make you good food and will make you listen to some good music while our team is arriving there with black pants, Harley Davidson boots, long metal hair and Necrophagist shirts. :o)

Doğuşcan Apel (ACROSOME): There are a lot of rock/metal bars and live stages in Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara. I think Istanbul takes the lead in this regard. Dorock bar, Karga Kadıköy, etc. Usually, metalheads hang out on the street or in secluded places, though. :)

Senem Ündemir (VENGEFUL GHOUL): The most popular one is Dorock Heavy Metal Club located in Taksim/Beyoğlu area in Istanbul. There are other pubs, restaurants and venues named Dorock but, even though they are run by the same company, the only metal pub is the one in Taksim named Dorock Heavy Metal Club. Other Dorocks are mostly rock music related. You can also find lots of rock/metal pubs and venues in the Beşiktaş and Kadıköy area in İstanbul. Taksim and Beşiktaş are on the European side and Kadıköy is on the Asian side of Istanbul.

If you'd like to visit warmer areas in Turkey, there are Dinozor Bar and Tato Bar located in the Alsancak area in İzmir.

You can always find lots of other options here in Turkey that play rock and metal.

Batu Çetin (CENOTAPH): If you visit Turkey someday, I can tell you that we have some great rock and metal bars in Istanbul, like Dorock Istanbul or visit Hammer Müzik metal store in Istanbul. Also, in Ankara they also have some good metal and rock bars.

Tarkan Gözübüyük (MEZARKABUL): Only industrial cities with bigger populations have those types of hangouts. Dorock, The Wall, Rock N Rolla, and Rasputin are some of the popular places in Istanbul. Let us know when you're coming, and we'll be your guides :)

Meriç Köseoğlu (MALEDICTORY): There are some decent pubs in Istanbul, like Dorock on the European side; The Wall, Wizard and Rock N Rolla on the Asian Side (the Anatolian Side). Also, we have Highout in Bursa, which sometimes plays metal. Before the pandemic all the metal shows happened in there.

Bahadır Uludağlar (MORIBUND OBLIVION): There are many such places in Turkey. You can find many metal bars especially in Istanbul. Places like The Wall and Dorock are the most popular metal meeting places. You can meet many metalheads in Kadıköy and Taksim, the two centers of Istanbul. The capital Ankara and İzmir are also among the cities where the metal scene is large. You can come across many popular places in these cities as well.

Bora Ince (FURTHERIAL): The first place to go is the Dorock Heavy Metal Club in Taksim (in Istanbul). Dorock has been active since 2005 as the go-to place for metalheads. Tt has had its ups and downs over the years, but after the pandemic it moved to an awesome, professionally built new venue. It has live music six days a week, ranging from blues to extreme death metal. We play there as Furtherial often, but we also have a cover band named Razor Inc. with which we play Korn to Sepultura to Death and everything in between, twice a month at Dorock (Razor Inc. also has an album out, but it's kind of a long story... :D). Other places to visit in Taksim are Kirli Depo and The Wall, where we also play often. On the other side of the Bosphorus, you can catch some metal shows at The Wall Saloon, Karga Bar and the Woodstock. You can also grab a beer after the show at the Wizard Pub. If you're in the mood for blues/rock instead, Ağaç Ev is also an awesome place with live music. Outside of Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir also has some venues and pubs, but they no longer have a very active live metal music scene unfortunately.

Onur Hunuma (ONUR HUNUMA): I would definitely take you to some metal pubs/venues in Kadıköy (as I mentioned before) such as Rock N Rolla, Woodstock, The Wall and Wizard Pub (Wizard Pub plays guttural slam and other extreme metal subgenres most of the time, lol). There are many quality pubs/venues in the European part of Istanbul as well such as Dorock Heavy Metal (it is one of the oldest metal pubs in the whole country), Bar Rasputin, RedRock. Also, I would take you to the Akmar commercial building in Kadiköy where you can find really cool metal clothing shops and one of the best metal record shops in all Europe (I am serious). It's called Hammer Müzik. It is possible to find albums from almost any metal band in the world.

Murat Sabuncu (INHUMAN DEPRAVITY): In our hometown of Istanbul, the biggest metal bar Dorock is a must to hang out at. I can also recommend Dinozor, Tato and Ugrock Bar in İzmir, where I live. Venues that feature underground metal shows frequently are Karga Bar, The Wall and Woodstock Bar in Istanbul, Telwe in Ankara and Upstage in İzmir.

Kaan Menekse (WRATH OF FATE): If you come to Turkey, good luck finding the place you hoped for. In the past, maybe I could tell you bars and places where you can listen to metal bands live. After the pandemic, places that normally have these concerts have started to change. The only concern of the bar owners here is how much money they will make from the stage. For this reason, they ignore the metal bands that are trying to make their name heard and they take the mainstream names to the stage. The first places you should look should be big cities such as İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir. That's all I'm going to say. I hope our next conversation will be on better terms and I'll talk mostly about good things. Stay tuned, soon we will meet you with our crazy projects!

Mehmet Erkut Atay (ANZERIA): Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of metal pubs or metalhead venues that survive in Turkey. Although there are some venues that are still standing, these venues change owners frequently. Even we have difficulty in following the latest status of venues. Also, only a few venues have a gig stage for underground bands. Due to this, we don't have lots of options for live performance. But for the bands that are famous or have enough audience, there are concert halls. The primary concern here is to become a well-known or famous band/musician by doing metal. Ten or fifteen years ago, we had many more metal pubs/metalhead venues. But nowadays, nothing. Fortunately, the venues listed below can be worth paying a visit for a good headbang. But some of them are not just for metal, but also for rock music (blues, alternative rock, etc.). Here's a list of some of the coolest ones: Dorock Heavy Metal Club (live and pub), Dorock xl (live and pub), Rock N Rolla (live and pub), Zincir Rock Bar (pub), Hayal Kahvesi (live), Ağaç Ev Kadıköy (live and pub), Woodstock (live and pub), The Wall Taksim (live and pub), James Joyce Irish Pub (pub), Harlem Pub - Jazz & Blues (pub) and Kumsaati Blues Club (live and pub).

Albayrak (KUAFÖR CENGIZ): The Wall Saloon - Istanbul, Wizard Pub - Istanbul, Upstage - İzmir, Highout - Bursa, Ankara has an excellent live scene as well. We'll show you an amazing time whenever you come, just send me a note.

Engin Pomakoglu (DEPRESSIVE MODE): There are some places in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir and Eskisehir. Dorock, Zincir, Rock N Rolla, Always and Papaz are some of the pubs you can check. Zorlu Psm, Bostanci Show Centre, Kucukciftlikpark are some of the venues worth checking. Hope you visit our country in the future.

Onur Önok (ZIFIR): In Istanbul on the European side, Dorock Bar, a venue with live music every day. In addition to concerts, his daily bands (resident bands) perform heavy metal, rock, and metal derivatives. It is the most frequented place for metalheads on the European side.

The situation on the Anatolian side is a little different. It is an area where more underground concerts take place. Karga Bar is the place where these concerts are held frequently, and many types of concerts take place weekly.

Ankara hosts underground concerts from time to time. Following webzines from Ankara for concerts and designated venues here helps to catch the concerts. Major concerts used to take place in Telwe Bar. Especially for the Death Metal genre, Ankara is the leader.

İzmir only has a few concerts. It is difficult to say an exact concert venue. Generally, it is a good spot for groups from abroad to tour Turkey.

Mert Kaya (CARNOPHAGE): I can't recommend too many pubs even though there are some in Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir. You will need to check if there is a show on that date. If you come to Turkey, there are many places to visit rather than metal pubs.

Emre Can (GODBUD): I'm not really a pub-going person myself, but there are places like Zincir, Wizard Pub and Rock N Rolla whose playlist consist of mostly rock and metal. For live performances, I'd recommend checking out our beloved stage to play, Karga, and also The Wall is a fine option these days. All these places I mentioned are on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, by the way.

Kerem Akman (DEVOURED ELYSIUM): I can make a few different recommendations for different cities. In Istanbul, The Wall, DoRock Heavy Metal Club and Woodstock can be good choices. In İzmir, the city where I live, Dinozor is a very nice place. You can listen to local metal bands in these places I mentioned. And we've also performed many times on some of these stages.





















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