Cenotaph are veterans of the Turkish metal scene. Vocalist Batu is the only original member of the band and has kept the band going through multiple lineup changes. Earlier this month, they released their latest album, ‘Perverse Dehumanized Dysfunctions’; after multiple listens I can testify that this is their best release yet.
I spoke to Batu about their first album in 7 years, the Turkish metal scene and also their upcoming European tour.
Transcending Obscurity (Peter K): You have been around as a band for 23 years now. How does it feel looking back at your career?
Cenotaph (Batu): It feels awesome. There a lot of memories of both the good times and the bad times but after 23 years of playing brutal death metal, I am proud of it.
TO: You are the only original member of the band. What has motivated to keep going through the different line ups over the years?
Cenotaph: It’s just my passion for death metal and extreme music. This music is a part of my life and gives me happiness and fun.
TO: Your latest album ‘Perverse Dehumanized Dysfunctions’ sounds brutal. Tell us more about the album.
Cenotaph: It is a step up, a progression from previous album ‘Putrescent İnfectious Rabidity’. It was released on 2010 and during those years we tried to develop our style and music with the new songs – the result is ‘Perverse Dehumanized Dysfunctions. It has 8 brutal songs inside, came out from 3 different labels on CD and vinyl versions, and it’s also available as digital from our Bandcamp.
TO: The album comes 7 years after the release of ‘Putrescent Infectious Rabidity’. What was the writing process for album? Did you try anything different this time around?
Cenotaph: Yeah 7 years after it came out indeed. The reason why it took so long was the line up problems, with guitarists leaving the band on 2010 just shortly after the ‘Putrescent…’ album released and I searched for new and right members for the band and also waited patiently till new members understood the music style, chemistry, and the song structures of Cenotaph. Later new songs and ideas started to come from new guitarist Erkin,and we totally focused on new songs. During that period of time also we continued to play gigs around and kept writing new material.
TO: The album was recorded, mixed and mastered at DTH Studios in Moscow, Russia. How was the recording process? What was the reason behind recording in another country, Russia?
Cenotaph: To get this natural and acoustic sounding album we choose DTH Studios at Moscow Russia as the sound engineer Stanislav Baranov was a friend of us. We decided to record the whole album there. The recording process was hard like in every album but it was also a new experience and challenging for us to record it outside of our country. We are happy with the final result and sound of the album. The mix and mastering process was also done at the same studio.
TO: What are your thoughts on slam in brutal death metal?
Cenotaph: Personally I like to listen some slam bands, but not all; there are a lot of both good and shitty bands around. I’m a bit picky about it and it’s a thin border between slamming brutal death and brutal death metal, so we are using some groovy and slamming parts in our music but in our own way as we are not a slam band but a brutal death metal one. Nowadays the festivals at Europe are full of slam bands. It’s a bit boring but people seems to have fun at the festivals. I think most people there are just for fun, alcohol and hanging around and not so much for the music. They like to mosh and doing circle pit to slam bands but a very few of those people at such festivals seem to be listening and caring about the band’s music.
TO: What is your take on the prevalent misogyny that’s part of the artworks and even lyrics and song titles sometimes in the style?
Cenotaph: I really don’t care much about the lyrics in brutal death metal or slam. For me it’s important how the vocal patterns are or how low and guttural the vocalist is, whether he using any distortion or harmonizer or any plugin or is it natural guttural voice. I don’t care how the vocalist pronounces the words understandably because for me it’s brutal death metal and the vocals must sound like a monster. That’s the first thing I check when I listen any brutal death or slam band. Later I check the band on their live performance videos on youtube or at live concerts. About your question ‘Prevalent Misogyny’ I think it’s a boring cliched lyrical content since the early Cannibal Corpse albums. Millions of bands in this genre used such lyrics. Our lyrics are more science fictional or about a different kind of gore, about mutations, diseases, epidemics ,unknown creatures from other dimensions and time, viruses, psychological diseases, etc.
TO: Turkey has an active metal scene. What are bands that you recommend our readers to check out?
Cenotaph: There are a lot of good releases that came out this year and earlier too. I would recommend these bands: Decimation, Carnophage, Suicide, Engulfed, Hell Sodomy, Rektal Tuşe, Drain of Impurity, Grotesque Ceremonium, The Sarcophagus, Acrosome and many more.
TO: The album is being released by three labels – Sevared Records (US) , Coyote Records (Russia) and Hammer Muzik (Turkey). How important do you feel record labels are in this digital age?
Cenotaph: Labels are still important for us. All the labels we are working with are fully supportive to us and since many years we are working with these labels and we are also good friends with them. Yes nowadays in the music industry some fans prefer digital only and then there are some die-hard fans and collectors still buying CDs, vinyls and tapes – it depends on person and listeners. But I think labels always be there, no matter what.
TO: You have toured around Europe and even at Maryland Deathfest in USA. What have been your favourite venues/cities to perform in?
Cenotaph: We played at Maryland Death fest at 2006. It was a really huge and cool festival and a great experience for us. We also played big festivals like Brutal Assault and last year we played at Netherlands Death Fest which was a blast. We love to play live this music and our favourite ones include shows in Czech Repulic, Berlin, Maryland, Mountains of Death fest in Switzerland. We also played at many cities at Russia during our tours and we felt always like at home at Russia. Ukraine too always gives us good memories like at the Simferopol Metal Heads’ Mission Fest.
TO: You are going to tour Europe in August and September this year. What are you looking forward to from the tour?
Cenotaph: To promote our new album ‘Perverse Dehumanized Dysfunctions’, we will crush Europe from 24 August till 17 September. It will be the longest tour we will have ever made, a total 24 days, and a lot of countries and cities this time around. We are very excited about this tour and for more details on it like the venues and dates, please check our Cenotaph Facebook Page.
TO: Do you have any more shows/tour planned this year? ‘
Cenotaph: Yeah, there will be a festival gig in Athens, Greece, Brutality Over Sanity Death Fest in December 2017, and we are also planning to play at Moscow Death Fest. Negotiations continue about it and also the planning of a big Russia tour at the end of summer or early Autumn in 2018. There are some local gigs in progress too. We are open every kind of serious offers and organisers and concert promoters can get in touch with us through our Facebook Page.
TO: Thanks for doing this interview. Do you have any final words?
Cenotaph: Thanks a lot for the support and interview! Follow us on our pages and you can also buy our music and merch through that. Support the real music and real bands. Stay brutal!