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“I have sworn for Imha Tarikat to be the voice of purest and radical emotions which dwell inside of me.”

We are glad to have İMHA TARİKAT, the one man black metal project from Germany which released two kickass albums in two years (“Kara İhlas” and “Sternenberster“) and made a fantastic entrance to underground black metal scene. We chatted with Kerem Yılmaz (Ruhsuz Cellât) who is of Turkish descent; about İMHA TARİKAT, how he discovered metal back in the day, his ambitions regarding his art, the state of black metal, the musical taste of Germany born Turkish people and many more.

Röportaj: Ahmet Saraçoğlu

Hi Kerem, can you tell us about yourself? When did you start listening to metal, how did you form the band?

Hello, it is my pleasure to take part in this interview. I started listening to Metal around a decade ago. Back then in school, I befriended with a classmate who was a lot into Swedish- and Melodic Death-Metal. We started hanging out more often, one day he showed me “Blinded by Fear” by At the Gates and it blew my mind! Its melodic high energy and immense obscureness shocked and intrigued me so much. That’s when it all escalated pretty much into obsessively listening through all kinds of heavy and extreme Metal. Later on I started as bassist in one of his bands with absolutely no experience in playing instruments whatsoever, though I was really into it and practiced like a madman. The band did not work out greatly for me as I started to become consumed by personal and mental struggles. As the years passed and I gained more profession in musicianship I founded Ypokosmos with an acquaintance, it was my first step of trying to coordinate music as a vessel for my own visions and emotions. The execution of this music-style though with time did no more suit my goals, it let me spiral down more into inner chaos. Next to that I started to write riffs for Imha Tarikat which felt just right. I went on social hiatus for a few years, worked on myself and my idea of executing this project. This was a little more than 5 years ago now and since then I have sworn for Imha Tarikat to be the voice of purest and radical emotions which dwell inside of me.

What does the name “İmha Tarikat” stand for? Grammatically it’s not a perfect phrase because neither word has any suffix. Does it mean “Sect of Annihilation” or “Annihilate the Sect”?

It is as much as what band names like Megadeth or Kreator are, they are modifications of words to the musician’s own taste. The correct form for Imha Tarikat would be “Imha Tarikatı”. I like to translate imha as destruction instead of annihilation, henceforth you get two different translations, which come to the same conclusion:

“Destructionsect” or “Sect of Destruction”

The meaning and concept for the band by that are very simple: It is about devotion so intense that it becomes absolute madness, spreading darkness in its most passionate form.

Although you don’t reflect your Turkish cultural heritage in your music, there is a stylistic detail in the band logo, “3 dots” on the letter “m”, which is a reference to the Arabic letter “ڨ”.
Is there a Middle-Eastern/Islamic context within İmha Tarikat or is this just a stylistic touch?

I am quite fond of my heritage. My love for Turkey is like “Gurbet” from Özdemir Erdoğan (Much love to Kemal Sunal’s movies for teaching me about this beautiful song, hahahaha). I was raised in between the Turkish and German culture. Because of my family being religious and rather conservative, there had been conflicts during my youth. “Kara Ihlas” is hinting that I am manipulating ideas of monotheistic belief and use them for my conceptional execution. The logo indeed is inspired by an exotic touch, but not by the Arabic alphabet per se.

I have read things about people calling this music Islamic which is quite humorous given what this genre builds on. If one would give looks into concept and lyrics they would get clues about this music being closer to the mindset of a satanist. But at all, Imha Tarikat is not motivated by such ideals, those are all lesser traits in comparison to the depths it grasps for.

When was your first encounter with black metal? What was the first black metal band you ever listened to and which bands influenced you the most?

Probably around the same time I listened to Metal for the first time. I remember when my friends showed “Black Metal ist Krieg” by Nargaroth to me and laughed about how stupid it was while I enjoyed it. Later on, another friend gave me some albums to listen to which included Bathory’s self-titled album which probably changed my life. From there on I began listening to all types of Blackened Metal.

It is difficult for me to name bands which truly inspired me. What intrigued me the most was the real intensity of Black Metal. It was real madness, real chaos. I specifically say “was” as a great amount of nowadays copy-cat bands don’t mean shit.

I really like “Kara Ihlas” and I also liked “Sternenberster” a lot. It seems like you wanted to do something a bit different than the debut and incorporated some ideas that would stick out, such as the saz at the end of “Brand am Firmament”, or the bass intro of “Klimax Downpour”. Can you tell about the writing process and what you wanted to achieve musically with this album?

Next to the basic instruments of creating instrumental music I do play saz and piano amateurishly. The saz was used for the “Brand am Firmament” outro. Sternenberster was a very emotional and intense album to be written and recorded. I basically wanted to work out the immense load of violence, sadness and madness that build up inside of me. Sternenberster translating as “Starburster”, focused on annihilating all the foul ideals and visions of the past that plagues the human. This album is meant to assist eradicating the vileness in your heart, to become the purest beast we have to offer.

In terms of vocal delivery, “Sternenberster” is distinguishably different then the debut. There are shrieks, barks, standard black metal screams and also some spoken word vocals like the ones at the beginning of “Aufstieg”. They are more varied and I think you wanted to experiment with your vocals, am I right?

Recording vocals is a merciless process. They happen the way they need to, using all the ecstasy I can produce with my body before it shuts down. That is why you can hear me go mad, laugh, cry, speak, shout, growl. The act itself is only meant to be perceived by myself and those taking part in recordings.

Drummer Philipp Wende joined the band recently. Are you planning to become a 3 or 4 piece band to play live, tour etc?

Philipp left the band after our live show at Hell over Hammaburg. Imha Tarikat always was my sole vision as songwriter and this will not change. In future though, again, friends/people I see as fitting will join for drum-recordings and live-performances like “M.” of Hexer who is part of the project as live-guitarist since its first show.

You released 2 albums in 2 years. Are you planning to continue this productivity in the future? Do you already have songs written for the third album?

My ambitions are immensely high! The third album is in preparation for recordings. No further statements about this. Sorry.

Turkish people who were born in Germany are not known for their love of black metal haha. I’ve been to 6-7 German cities and Turkish people tend to listen to Turkish pop, arabesk, halk müziği or mostly hip hop. What led you to go for one of the most extreme forms of music? Do you know other Turkish people listening to metal?

As stated previously, Black Metal to me bases on genuine expression of disparity within and without, accompanied by extreme deeds practiced with conviction. This project is highly devoted to this.

My personal experience does indeed reflect your assumption. I do not know any. While there may be a handful of Turkish guys and gals here that do listen to Metal that still does not make them my friends, if you get the gist. And I actually think that especially halk müzik is quite enjoyable. Also some Arabesk like Müslüm Gürses or Orhan Gencebay!

There are many “all Turkish” hip hop bands in Germany, such as Karakan ör Cinai Şebeke (well, most of it are Turkish) but I’ve never seen or heard an “all Turkish metal band” from Germany. Do you know any?

I do not know any other Turkish musicians or bands outside of Turkey.

We can’t talk about Turkish metal heads in Germany and not mention Muhammed Suiçmez. Like the rest of the world, every single Turkish death metal fan are both curious and sad about what happened to Necrophagist. Have you ever met him or do you know anything about him more than us? Why do you think he just stopped at a time when he was seen as the new king of the technical death metal scene?

I heard about Necrophagist and also took some listens into their music a while back, while the craftsmanship itself is impressive, (Technical-)Death metal itself never fully took me into fascination. The reason for the dissolution of the band may be due to various reasons like change of heart in terms of personal views/interest or group-intern tensions, foul deals a.s.o. Becoming a musician starts being ungrateful and complex on smaller scales already, to keep it up on bigger levels you need to be able to rely on your friends, fellow musicians and executing-partners so it can be bearable. I can only guess about their reasons.

Until the 2000′s, black metal was mostly seen as the metal that only Scandinavians can play properly. But after Deathspell Omega changed the rules of the game, France has become a major force in the genre with hundreds of quality bands. We also witnessed Poland to become a dominant place for black metal, even Iceland produced many great bands despite its tiny population. As a musician who plays black metal, how do you see the current and future state of the genre?

Black Metal and combinations of it with other styles has begun spreading and creating underground-communities worldwide. This brings forth a few unique pieces but at the same time creates an unenjoyable ton of purists recording the same old shit with 1/100 of the quality and personality the old-school recordings brought with them. Reproducing the past will never bring you close to its sovereignity, instead I would prefer listening to the old-school releases a thousand times. There is nothing wrong with using the old and reliable formula, but how about take some of your personality and merge them? Lawless is the opposite of obeying.

That was all Kerem. Thanks for your time and all the best.

Kalbim sizlere ait! Keep the flame burning with bands like Sarinvomit, Godslaying Hellblast, Horrocious and other ensembles of fierceness.

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