Entering the Underground #16: Diabolizer Deals Out “Khalkedonian Death”
Everlasting Spew Records basically came out of nowhere. They didn’t exist until 2016, and weren’t on my radar until probably 2018, but despite their recent start they’d already picked up notable bands like Birdflesh and Galvanizer by the first time I came across one of their releases. More recently they’ve picked up well known bands like Lord Gore, Ritual Necromancy, and Father Befouled—quite the feat for such a relatively recent label!
Diabolizer may be a new name to match a young label, but the band are no neophytes to death metal and are a fantastic fit to the growing Everlasting Spew roster. Songwriter and guitarist Mustafa Gürcalioğlu got his start playing more than 15 years ago and has put out seven or eight full lengths in that time with bands like Decaying Purity, Hyperdontia and Engulfed, making international waves for his mastery of brutality, atmosphere, and creeping, rotten melody.
Diabolizer’s young existence feels like the perfect intersection of all of those years of experience between Gürcalioğlu and his bandmates from groups like Burial Invocation and Godslaying Hellblast. The music itself is wildly aggressive at times, but bounces easily between crazed Morbid Angel-inspired firestorms, doom parts, and atmosphere. While it’s furious enough to kill almost any peers, the dynamics set it a cut above, and the album stands as proof that death metal maturity does not mean falling into tired habits.
Blast Diabolizer’s new album Khalkedonian Death loud and read an interview with Gürcalioğlu below:
Mustafa, you started Diabolizer and Engulfed at around the same time and have since started Hyperdontia as well, and still play in Decaying Purity as you have for years. What do you get creatively out of Diabolizer that you don’t get out of your other bands? How do you manage your time between them all?
I always had the idea of creating a band in Diabolizer's style. In fact, this even predates Decaying Purity. Some of the materials on our first EP were riffs and parts that I had written back in 2004 and 2005. They were kept aside to be used at the right time. They were used when the time came. What I wanted in Diabolizer was a more vicious, more aggressive, more diabolical direction compared to my other bands. I like working on all my bands. I have shaped my life so that I can spend time on all my bands and this is how I live to the best of my ability.
You say that these older parts were kept aside to be used at the right time; what made now the right time?
We played together in Engulfed and Burial Invocation with Aberrant, before Diabolizer came to life. As our musical harmony with each other grew stronger; the desire to utilize the materials that were cumulating on the side under Diabolizer, which did not fit the structure of Engulfed and my other bands, was the thing that showed that the right time had come.
In the last couple of years you’ve put out more than one album as well as some minor releases. Is it ever difficult to maintain creative inspiration?
From the moment I was first introduced to metal and started playing instruments, I consumed valuable products that have left a permanent impact on me. I still keep consuming more. It doesn't necessarily have to be just metal or death metal. I think all that exposure brings a positive comeback when it comes to writing songs. So far, I have not experienced being stuck in a vicious cycle in terms of inspiration. As soon as I start to write something, materials come pouring out in keeping with the style of the band I am working on, there is no clear and tangible answer to this.
Does listening to a wide variety of music make it easier to compartmentalize the influences that go into your various bands?
I'm sure it does. But there is no concrete recipe for it to formulating it as "this way, that thing". Even so, I don't like the music I create or the musical structures I enjoy listening to be oversimplified to detailed descriptions like "this was done in this way, this is how it happened, etc.". I think there should always be some mystery and allow what is happening to be visualized in our own minds.
What does the “Khalkedonian” part of Khalkedonian Death mean?
Khalkedon is the historical name of Kadıköy. We wanted to reflect the spirit of our town which spawned killer bands, hosted many quality gigs and became an important branch of the local metal scene. It is our praise and hail to the streets where we come from and what we have been doing for the last two decades.
Has the local Kadıköy scene changed much since you started making music and getting involved?
It would be more appropriate if someone neutral from outside comments on whether it has changed or not, and not me. My bands were formed in Kadıköy and went on to international scenes and I'll try to spread more materials to the world as much as i can. I think it is the discretion of people observing whether we have created a positive or negative impact on the local scene.
How did you hook up with Jon Zig for the cover art and where did the concept come from?
We've been in contact with Zig since the first Decaying Purity album. We worked with him twice since then. We get each other's style/vision. When it was time to create the art design for the album, we thought Zig would reflect the style we had envisioned in our minds, and contacted him. We wanted it to be an oil painting, not a digital one. The concept belongs to us. It is a very simple yet cold and scary depiction of the general concept narrated in this album. After sharing our ideas for the cover with Zig, he created this masterpiece in acrylic paint style. We are very pleased with the result.
Is the presentation of your music intertwined at all with the creative process itself? How important is having artwork that represents your ideas?
The visual aspect that emerges in our minds when we start working on a new material, takes a shape slowly and progressively. This is something we take very seriously. You create something out of nothing, and if you want the story in your head to be introduced as a whole, you should choose to work with people who you think that can reflect that story most accurately with their line of work. That's usually how we work.
Khalkedonian Death released July 2nd, 2021 via Everlasting Spew Records.