Turkish band Alkera offer up a thrilling progressive metal sound that fuses lively vocals with dramatic, diverse instrumentals, which they describe as “energetic, powerful, soulful.” The Istanbul band’s exciting, engaging yet heavy sound offers a beacon of light to their country’s floundering metal scene.
Alkera first started out in 2015 with founding members Faruk Aydın Toksöz (guitars), Yalçın Hafızoğlu (drums) and Ali Göktürk (keyboards) and released debut, 12-minute-long single Live In Sin in 2018. Things ramped up mid-last year when Ozan Tuncal (bass) and Onur Çobanoğlu (vocals) completed the current lineup. At the start of this year, they began releasing singles that will form the band’s second EP Co-Exist.
And on what to expect from the Alkera sound, they told us: “Alkera’s music is a mixture of different styles and different sounds. We are not the type of musicians that have only one path and make the same style of music for a lifetime. Every one of us is influenced by several different genres and this can be heard in our music. As a summary, listeners who are interested in metal, hard rock, prog rock, jazz and instrumentals will surely find something for themselves in our music.”
The latest taste of this is Mental Nomad, which opens up with stabbing guitars and rolling drums that feed into a dramatic opening verse led by Onur’s impressive vocals. Keyboards creep in as it dramatically builds into a powerful chorus supported by big drums, sweeping strings and heavy guitars.
That feeds into an engaging instrumental section, which drops into another increasingly dramatic verse that, in turn, feeds into lighter instrumentals. The heaviness builds up again and feeds into a really cool keyboard solo, which gives way to a final chorus.
On the track, the band told us: “Mental Nomad is our first song which is actually pitched to Spotify editorial playlists. That’s why we had a chance to reach a lot more Turkish listeners. The common comment for Mental Nomad is about how powerful and energetic it was. For those who haven’t listened to it yet, they should expect a progressive metal song which has many different sections, a lot of time changes and different moods, even a keyboard and bass solo blended together in a four and half minutes song.” Check it out in the video below:
That track followed previous single A Living Prison, which opens up with a fun rolling guitar line that feeds into an engaging opening verse. It ends with light, almost whispered vocals, which feed into a big chorus of intriguing, overlapping vocals “A soul confined, Confined and feeling lonely, In a living prison, A prison called the human, Adapted to feel non-existent, There is nothing else to believe, Lust to survive yet not to live.”
That drops into a powerful instrumental section of driving drums, synths and lively guitars, then a fun guitar and keyboard section feeds into a heavier verse. A more dramatic chorus features a cool keyboard lick underneath Onur’s engaging vocals and expands into powerful vocals over crashing cymbals and drawn-out guitars and keyboards. That drops into a heavy outro of powerful vocals and atmospheric synths, heavy drums and guitars to bring the track to a strong ending. Check it out in the lyric video below:
The tracks form two-thirds of Alkera’s upcoming EP Co-Exist, on which they tell us: “Co-Exist is our second EP, which was written as a concept album. The main story will be completed when the last song Spectral Heaven is released. We aim to release that song in May 2021. When we consider all the three songs together, we hope that our fans will be satisfied with the story flow and the different styles of each song.
“The story mainly focuses on a human which considers his body as a prison and fights against his mind. So this topic mostly contains psychological changes. As a result, you should be expecting to share our hero’s feelings, thoughts, different moods, tension, aggression, relief etc… in the style of Alkera.”
For something even more epic, check out the band’s impressive 12-minute debut track Live In Sin here:
As alluded to above, the Alkera sound has been shaped by a wide range of music and genres. But key influences include the likes of Metallica, Dream Theater, Rush and Pain of Salvation.
And on what inspires them to write music, the band tell us: “Influence is everywhere. It is all about where we look and what we want to share with other people. In Co-Exist we wanted to be drowned inside and tell an individual, psychological story. In upcoming projects we will look for something else.”
The band is only the third we’ve interviewed from Turkey, but all three bands have been excellent. On their local scene, they said: “We are so happy to be the third! But in fact, it breaks our hearts. The metal scene is taking a seriously low volume compared to other genres in Turkey. This situation is preventing labels from investing in the metal genre although there is a huge potential and lots of talented musicians. But we never feel disappointed or hopeless. Even though there are many good venues and organizations for metal music, most of them stay underground. We are doing our best and trying to reach everyone who is interested in our music not only in Turkey but also around the world.
“On the other hand, indie and alternative rock is highly popular in Turkey. We even have a second band called Arıza Kontrol Saati where we are playing Turkish alternative rock. Our label Nefes Records is supporting both of our projects.”
There’s plenty more to come from Alkera and its talented members. While the band may not be able to play live for now, they already have plans to release another EP before the end of this year. While Onur and Faruk Aydın also have music available as solo artists and Ozan works with several other bands as a composer and bassist.
Intriguingly, Yalçın is not only an excellent drummer but an actor in a famous Turkish TV series that airs in prime time. While Ali also sings in famous acapella project Acapella Bogaziçi and is developing a piece of software for keyboard players called Keystage.