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Review: Yayla - Sathimasal

Label: Merdumgiriz
Year released: 2012
Duration: 55:13
Tracks: 5
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: April 28, 2012
Reviewed by: Memnarch
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Rated 3.86/5 (77.14%) (7 Votes)

Turkey isn't exactly what can be described as a country with a huge extreme metal scene, I've come across a few in my time both good and bad, but very few as promising as this fairly recent obscure act by the name of Yayla. Consisting of a sole member called Emir who handles all the instruments, Sathimasal utilizes an approach that dredges the depraved depths of black metal, twisting and manipulating it into something altogether perverted before spewing out what can only be described as a vile cacophony of ritualistic black metal which is nothing short of unnerving or exhausting.

The first and last tracks are both instrumentals, but the music is such that they fall in line perfectly with the other three tracks as when you do hear Emir's sparse vocals, it's evident they're nothing more than an additional instrument in the conjuration of Yayla's nightmarish and disintegrating atmosphere alongside the enduring reverb-soaked drone of the guitars and repetitive drum programming.

"Fordreame Wonderlore" begins the hellish descent with its apocalyptic surge of heavily distorted guitar and relentless drumming which has to be said remains pretty one-dimensional for its whole seven minutes. While this repetition is effective in getting the basic message across, it is abused a bit too much throughout Sathimasal. Still though, when this album is good, it is exceptionally so. None more evident than "Emperor; Elegy to Wars Never Fought" which is somewhat comparable to a journey through a vast and eerie underground city inhabited only by the stench of the dead. The ending passage of ambience has a slight similarity in its arrangement to "Tomhet" and ties up the song in wickedly hypnotic fashion.

The next two songs are much the same in their arrangements; the very definition of lo-fi, much in the way Mutiilation and Paysage d'Hiver are. When describing the guitar I would use the term ‘riffing' very loosely for a lot of the time there are no discernible riffs at all, the guitar is distorted to the point where it's just an impenetrable suspended drone drifting in and out. The vocals range from a low pitched nigh-inaudible groan to a more typical throaty rasp and as stated play a bit-part role as they're so buried in the mix. "Harvester..." retains the quality of the previous song, the same bottomless and infernal atmosphere though suffers like the next by being overlong and ends up fizzing out over halfway through.

When it's good, it's fucking brilliant, but the truth is much of the album could easily have been condensed by cutting all the songs in half as it just tends to lose focus after a while. With a bit more refinement Emir could definitely be on to something. Nevertheless Sathimasal still contains some quality material and if you're in the mood for some arcane black metal that's focused heavily on the pitch-black ambient side of things ala old Leviathan or even Urfaust then definitely give it a go.

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