Demir Demirkan will drop his Awakening EP on February 16, the first EP of a planned trilogy in his War III project, which delves into profound philosophical ideas such as revolution, freedom, individualism, and alienation. Co-written and co-produced with GRAMMY®-nominated and ASCAP award-winning songwriter and producer Phil Galdston, Awakening merges elements of heavy metal, prog-rock, funk, acoustic poetry, and tinctures of psychedelia.
Since the turn of the century, Demirkan has released five EPs and eight albums, along with his body of work with Pentagram (AKA Mezarkabul), the Turkish metal band (not to be confused with the legendary American doom metal group Pentagram), and his triumphant Eurovision song “Every Way That I Can.”
Heavy Guitars, Delicate Piano
Awakening comprises five tracks. “Freedom” opens with heavy sepulchral guitars riding over a muted synth. The pulsing metal melody packs visceral waves of energy complementing Demirkan’s commanding vocals, vaguely reminiscent of Dave Mustaine, but richer and more melodious. “Hold On to the Innocence” rides elegant guitars and a delicate piano flowing into a chill prog-rock melody that gathers intensity, rising to sonic domination. I love the tantalizing piano and the accompanying pale background vocal harmonies glittering with tender colors, followed by the ascending hefty thrum of the guitars. Demirkan’s voice attains a gentle sonority that’s scrumptious and demonstrates his vocal versatility.
“Money Is” delivers a dense metal melody full of demanding funk flavors, giving the tune a flamboyant palpable expansive nature. The polyrhythmic beat that forms the foundation of the solo is positively stellar. And Demirkan’s wickedly reedy voice imbues the lyrics with dark, substantial menace. “I Conform” rides an elegant poetic prog-rock effluvium rife with muted shimmering dynamism. As the melody mounts, the tune assumes a majestic baroque operatic sensibility, like a nursery rhyme on steroids.
Shining Vocal Harmonies
“Let It Burn” shifts textures and flavors, offering a funky hip hop-like melody that transitions smoothly into powerful prog-rock harmonics laced with dark orchestral kernels. The lifeblood of the tune revolves around Demirkan’s declarative vocals and the ancillary depth of the escorting shining vocal harmonies. Deliciously dangerous, the chorus exudes a feeling of supercharged bedlam, along with relentlessly ominous sonic hues.
Renowned as a premiere shredder, Demirkan struts his virtuosity on his axe, but he also understands that “less is more,” especially when laying down blistering licks. He avoids the snare of guitar-buckaroo overcompensation, which gives his licks the force of moussed up magnetic fields, radiant yet resonant with his complex, delicate touch on the strings.
Awakening delivers wildly muscular music, and yet with the infusion of funk, prog-rock, and orchestral flavors, it presents a subtle effective elegance rarely associated with metal. The result is contagious, textured melodies and weighty rhythmic components buffed to a sophisticated polish. In short, Awakening is skillfully wrought music.