Antistrophe - Simul Incipit Ipse - Album Review - Vintage Death Metal from Istanbul, Turkey

Antistrophe - Simul Incipit Ipse - Album Review - Vintage Death Metal from Istanbul, Turkey
Antistrophe - Simul Incipit Ipse - Album Review - Vintage Death Metal from Istanbul, Turkey - Metalhead Community.

Another unnecessarily cold Sunday afternoon here in the north, another insignificant day in the life of a vagabond in Helsinki. Today, I am writing about a record that has captured my focus over the past week and taken me longer than expected to interpret my feelings about it. The band, Antistrophe from Istanbul, Turkey, has just released their second official release, 'Simul Incipit Ipse'—their debut long-play studio album—on March 21, 2024.

Antistrophe - Simul Incipit Ipse (Full Album with Lyrics). Video by: Ragıp Eren Çetinkaya. Illustration by Ayşenur Hanlı.

Simul Incipit Ipse has been playing in my ears across various moods and through different mediums for almost a week now. After my last listen during today's morning walk, I must admit that I have mixed feelings about the record. While acknowledging that this is the debut studio album of an emerging collective dealing with technical difficulties and limitations, one can also sense this from the music and mood emerging from the record.

First and foremost, each listen feels like delving into the passionate work of a guitar player (who is also the main vocalist) who not only leads the entire project but also infuses personality into everything from visuals to soundscapes, tonings, and moods. This album takes a conceptual approach that aligns well with all the details it comprises, reminiscent for some of us of the old-school death metal era. I particularly enjoyed the charcoal hand-drawn album artwork, which evoked memories of one of my all-time favorites; Mayhem's 'Esoteric Warfare,' and possesses a craftsmanship value that clearly belongs to an artist, even though it is digital modern art.

Musically, the album is rooted in vintage death metal, enriched with technical, melodic, progressive, and doom metal influences. As noted earlier, the entire record is led by a passionate guitar player who seems to have crafted the entire scene before adding any additional elements. The album's complexity positions it as an exploration for enthusiasts of both death and progressive metal, maintaining a fine balance to prevent it from becoming overly indulgent—an attribute reminiscent of vintage Death records I greatly admire. The musical language, though very limited, primarily reflects Western influences, and I couldn't detect a significant fusion of any other major influence from a band that hails from a region with one of the richest mixes of Western and Eastern cultures. Without prior knowledge, one might never guess the band's geographical origins.

Technically, the album also fully embraces a vintage death metal sound, containing underground qualities in its personalization and production, a major factor that simplifies categorization. It seems Antistrophe knew exactly what they wanted from the start and made decisions accordingly. From my perspective, 'Simul Incipit Ipse' musically revisits the dryness and constrained flavor characteristic of the early death metal era, suggesting that these Turkish gentlemen were not interested in exploring new territories but rather in creating a conceptual album that makes total sense. In this case, it does represent vintage death metal flawlessly.

Antistrophe, band merch.

On the other side of the coin, there are a few things I would suggest doing differently, starting with the production. Although I might accept that the album sounds as it was intended from the start, I personally don't enjoy these soundscapes.

While the album has a vintage feel in its toning and character, it appears to lack the quality, precision, and expertise in production to an extent that now overshadows the musical edge. Without these crucial qualities, 'Simul Incipit Ipse' regrettably does not qualify as a good-sounding record that would make me want to hear more from this band. That is solely what the sound made me feel.

Furthermore, I also found the musical language somewhat limited, which did not resonate with me, mainly due to my concerns about its sound work. On one hand, I understand that this is just the beginning of a long journey; on the other, it sounded a bit too familiar and traditional, even though Antistrophe possesses all the necessary qualities to stand out. I believe the major part of all these points of confusion originates from a lack of production experience needed to elevate the project.

Antistrophe - Simul Incipit Ipse - Album Front Cover Artwork. Lyrics and composition by Barış "Kuzu" Tanyeri. Guitars by Çağlan Çınar Dilek & Barış "Kuzu" Tanyeri. Drums by Gani Eren Akça. Produced, edited & mixed by V. Bora Uğur. Mixing & mastering by Burak Tanyolaç. Cover art by Ahmad Tri Saktiawan. Studio: Riff'n Nights Records.

In conclusion, my journey through Antistrophe's debut studio album has been intriguing. Bringing amateur spirit but a passionate execution, it flawlessly embodies vintage death metal through striking visuals and underground sound concepts, and embraces a deliberately constrained musical language, echoing the foundational spirit of early death metal. Thank you for reading.

Antistrophe - Simul Incipit Ipse album art.

Extra notes:

The name 'Antistrophe' refers to a classical literary device used in Greek dramas, signifying a countermove in the chorus after the strophe. This could metaphorically mirror the band's approach to death metal—counterbalancing traditional elements with their own unique reversals and responses in their music.
Moreover, the album title, 'Simul Incipit Ipse,' translates from Latin as 'He himself begins at the same time,' suggesting themes of self-discovery and simultaneous beginnings. This title may reflect the band's narrative or thematic exploration throughout the album, embracing both the ancient and the modern in their sound and storytelling. The use of Latin and the culturally rich backdrop of Istanbul potentially feed into the album's intricate fabric, blending the historical gravitas of the language with the city's unique crossroads of East and West.

Antistrophe on the Web:

Antistrophe. 18 vind-ik-leuks · 3 personen praten hierover. Melodic Death Metal Band & Blog on Art and Philosophy. It is constituted by Gani Eren Akça, Barış Tanyeri and Çağlan Çınar Dilek.
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