Slowly Turkey seems to awake from its Metal slumber, after having known only THE PENTAGRAM and MEZARKABUL for a while, after CIDESPHERE now also IN SPITE come around and ACRIMONY INC also wait for a review, so it seems as if the scene is developing. IN SPITE is the band that I am talking about here and with "Anticlockwise" they present us with their debut.
As CIDESPHERE had blown me into the diagonal with their pretty crunchy Death Metal, I first looked at the booklet and the photos of IN SPITE and came to the conclusion that these five guys did not really look like Death Metal. How big was the surprise when on the first track I was greeted with Onur Sülen's harsh vocals right away... But with that I don't want to prematurely put IN SPITE into the Death Metal drawer, because on the 14 songs of their debut they definitely do not make it easy for the reviewer.
Opener "Noise" brings us a mid paced Death Metal attack, melodic, but with harsh vocals, nothing special so far. That changes with "Scenery", where we get Death Metal as well as clean vocals, with reduced heaviness and a light progressive touch. Different again with "Down", a very classically influenced instrumental, played tightly, with the solo guitar always under control, strong track! "Man" then gives us a calm start with clear voice and piano, followed by slow rhythm with full instrumentation and Death/Thrash Metal vocals, then back to the beginning. "Dismembered" then again guitar-laden Melodic Death Metal, so you see that it is not that easy to classify this quintet, which could be held for and against IN SPITE.
This 1999 founded band with that leaves a clear line to be desired, if you look at the whole album, but shows clear efforts not to sound one-dimensional or to bore. That they here and there over shoot is a risk that they take and that shows in the misplaced slap bass solo in "Reject", which thankfully is in the minority, though. Very good is the dynamic "Feel Nothing" (also featured with a video), with deathy and clear vocals and a good drive, surely one of the highlights of IN SPITE, also because in the middle they take out tempo and heaviness, to build up again. Also striking is the tight play of the guys and the strong production, both of which creating a lot of power, giving the songs the necessary punch. Even the calmer "Killing A Friend" and also the a lot more powerful "Stay Away" with its memorable chorus benefit from that a lot. "Question Mark" even could be called pure Power Metal, which just would need a bit more power and expression in the (clear) voice, but apart from that sounds damn good, also thanks to the use of a violin, which gives the song a pretty own touch. And "Where We Dwell" even brings us a certain oriental touch, which sounds unusual and at the beginning a bit weird, but most probably is a nod towards their heritage.
That the guys still have room for improvement is clear, so the clean vocals are not really an asset of the band yet and a few of the songs lack the cohesiveness, sound a bit uncontrolled so far. The quintet definitely does not lack ideas and instrumentally there is nothing to be criticised for sure. If you hold it for the band or against that they cannot be pin pointed to a certain style will be your judgement, a promising debut it surely is that the Turks are presenting us here with, which with hard work in the problem areas could soon make them a serious contender.
As the products of Hammer Müzik are only hard to get outside Turkey, you can also order their CDs directly under www.hammermuzik.com, for just 10 Euro (incl. postage for air mail!). So you now know what you will have to do! (Online January 17, 2004)