Rock The Casbah: Five Turkish bands to listen out for

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Wondering who’s keeping rock alive in Istanbul and beyond? Check out these five groups…

Pentagram

The one to beat, recommended by just about everyone we meet in Turkey. Blending 80s metal sensibilities with doses of thrash and prog rock (plus stylish Eastern touches), they’ve been a leading light in Turkish heavy metal since their inception in 1987.

Listen to: Anatolia (1997)

Kes

“A new band, which is kind of like Tool meets Meshuggah,” says Turkish guitarist Cenk Eroglu. “Strongly recommended!” Indeed, the instrumental group make a compelling noise that easily places them in that bracket of progressive rock. Think Steven Wilson at his darkest and heaviest.

Listen to: Kamlama (2015)

Black Tooth

“This is a group from our capital city, Ankara,” says Eroglu. Founded in the 90s (though they only released their debut LP in 2011) Black Tooth channel groovy elements of Pantera in their part-southern, part-sludgy brand of heavy metal.

Listen to: Drink Drive Go To Hell (2011)

Murat Ilkan

“He’s a great singer who used to be in Pentagram; the only real singer they ever had, in my view,” explains Eroglu, “and he has just released a solo album.” Flashes of 80s guitar, classic rock and contemporary prog-metal make Ilkan a worthy investigation.

Listen to: Fanus (2013)

Buyuk Ev Ablukada

“A great example of alternative rock, but sung in Turkish,” says Eroglu of this slightly psychedelic alt/indie rock group, who’ve given acoustic and large-scale plugged-in performances to delighted crowds in Turkey.

Listen to: Full Faça (2012)