If bands like Iced Earth, Nocturnal Rites or Riot are your faves you'll like Pentagram. Most of you won't know this band I guess, but you should listen to their new album Anatolia. Let's travel back in time:
The band was formed by Hakan Utangaç and Cenk Ünnü in 1986. Just one year later the band played their first concerts. in 1990 an EP was released and despite of the English lyrics it sold pretty good in Turkey. After a few line-up changes and the band signed a contract with Nuclear Blast Records in Germany. In 1992 the 2nd output Trail Blazer been released in Europe. Between 1992 and 1995 the band played a lot concerts and been part of TV and radio shows in Turkey and abroad. Then Ogün Salisoy quit in 1995 and Murat Ilkan replaced him. In 1996 the band signed with Rags Müzik and released Anatolia which contains 9 English, 3 Turkish and one instrumental track. The album is now released European-wide by Century Media. The album was recorded in Australia with Martin Spencer as the recording engineer. That's the past. I had the chance to talk with Hakan on the phone about these days and about future plans.
With this interview I want to show the readers that Pentagram isn't a black metal band what most would expect from the cover artwork and the band name.
Most Christians think this symbol stands for Satan and that we are a black metal band, but that's not true. We are just a metal band without any religious or political message. We are no Satanists!
In your biography I read that Anatolia is your 3rd release. I don't know your previous releases, but I heard they have been very different to Anatolia. Is it right?
Well, there is a big time gap between them, you know. Yes, it's different. The time is changing and we have a different singer now.
When I played the English songs to some people, they couldn't believe that you are from Turkey. We haven't heard about Turkish bands in the past. Is there a metal scene?
There are a few bands, but no big scene. Here are no big labels, etc. So it's very hard to record an album and release it here.
The song Anatolia contains Turkish folk music elements which make this song sound very interesting. Why do you have an English and a Turkish version on the album?
In the past we wrote all songs in English. Anatolia was the first time we tried to write in Turkish. About 6 years ago there were no people here in Turkey which listen to metal and nowadays a lot of people come to our concerts. So we decided to write some Turkish songs for are fans here. So we recorded an English and a Turkish version and also 2 other songs. When we made the deal with Century Media to release the album outside of Turkey, we thought about taking off the Turkish songs, but ... The album is a unit and to take off a few songs wouldn't make sense.
I think it's a good idea to have these songs on the album, it makes it something special. Even if it sounds a little bit strange the first time, but it's just because we are not used to it. As far as I know the song Gündüz Gece is based on a traditional folk song, right? It means Night And Day, right?
Absolutely, it's a famous song here in Turkey and it's an old one, too. It's a very beautiful song!
If you had to pick one song of the current album which presents the band the best, which one would you choose?
It's a very difficult question, 'cause the whole album is presenting the band. Perhaps Give Me Something To Kill The Pain or one of the songs with the Turkish lyrics.
Can we expect to see you on tour?
A guy from Direkt Promotion is doing the booking stuff for Century Media and he called us and told us to be ready for a tour in late summer, early fall. Perhaps we'll be part of a Century Media package or a support job for a major band. Both is possible, but we will tour this year, about September or October.
Great! As far as I know you played a lot in Turkey, so you are very experienced. What can we expect from Pentagram live?
We would like to play in other European countries before, but it was impossible. Some guys from our company saw us playing concerts here in Istanbul and they liked what they saw. We play a few shows in front of 4,000 to 5,000 people. So we plan to carry all the atmosphere of this concerts all around Europe, you know.
If you can choose any band to play with, which one would you choose?
It's a kind of a dream, but it would be fantastic to tour with Black Sabbath or maybe Judas Priest or Iron Maiden, but with the old singers. But it won't happen again.
I think it's a pity that you can't play on the festivals this summer.
It was a little too late for this years festivals, but perhaps next year. On the other hand the soccer world championships nearly kill the beginning of the summer concert-wise. Everyone is in the championship including us, so perhaps the late summer is better for us.
So, the soccer maniacs will come to conquer Europe this year. Give them a chance and go to the concert and have a nice evening.