I have no idea what being a black metal band in Turkey is like, but if you believe news I suspect it must be increasingly difficult. Two piece Zifir though (Onur Onok and Nursuz respectively) have been doing this for over ten years, and two previous albums plus a split with Cult Of Erinyes. So a sack load of respect is due their way from the off.
The opening intro, ‘Befog’, is more than promising. A hypnotic drone with deep, gnarled vocals it is highly atmospheric, an intriguing cross between early Monumentum and later Root. ‘The Relief In Disbelief’ following on again keeps that sound, but with a harsher edge and a determined turn of speed. Vocals are more gravel tones spoken word and often quite easy to discern. There is a coldness here, a grimness that is reminiscent of the old Norwegian scene but less primitive. It is intriguing and Mina continues the sound. I have to say that the drumming here is a little one dimensional a lot of the time with dead snare sound high in the mix but the vocals and backing vocals vary things out.
‘769’ is a monster of a song, heavy in ominous vocals and a ponderous approach. It is thick with religious sounds and darkness, with some perfectly used sharp guitars and a sudden ending. A great song indeed, a showcase of a fine grasp of atmospherics and brooding.
With thirteen tracks, this is a long album, perhaps excessively so as the music is such that this is not an immediate listen. The repetition used takes a while for the hypnotic qualities to take a firm hold, but on the upside when it does Kingdom Of Nothingness reveals the real talent on show here as the layers of sound give up the intricate threads woven. Like Turkey itself the sound looks both to Europe, particularly the East and North, and to the Middle East and the amalgamation of the sound is seamless. There is a reliably ominous feeling throughout the album, an almost palpable disgust with the machinations of religion. There is a fine balance between the harsh guitars and an unerring sense of dark melody. The vocals veer between something Big Boss of Root might conjure and the earlier tortured howls of Elend. ‘As Weak As Your God’ is a perfect example of all this, another album highlight.
This is a huge canvas and an exemplary work. Skill and craft and determination as well as a mixing of influences that you will rarely if ever hear elsewhere and a judicious spicing of the early nineties Norwegian chill gets you somewhere close. It requires time and multiple explorations but when you finally get inside this work you will find something I think is pretty unique currently.