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Yayla is an atmospheric black metal act from the virtually dry metal soil of Turkey, created and solely performed by Emir Toğrul. “Nihaihayat” is Yayla's fourth full length album in as many years, but this is my first take at listening to his output. “Nihaihayat” takes the formula of atmospheric black metal acts made popular by Drudkh, Burzum and the like and adds a uniquely ritualistic feel to music while maintaining a rather simplistic approach.
Yayla's songs on this album tend to be of the long form, with three of the five tracks being over the twelve minute mark, and the other two tracks being five minute ambient intro and outro pieces. “Nihaihayat” starts off with “Integumental Grasp”, an ambient track focusing on a haunting backdrop with bells and chimes floating throughout. The track wouldn't be out of place on a horror movie (or even the old PC game Shivers), but it serves as a rather calm and easing introduction to what lies ahead, even though it bears no resemblance.
Rather than continuing with ambient styled tracks, “Through the Sigil of Hate” immediately envelopes the listener in a repetitive, almost ritualistic style of back metal. Dirty and muddy swirling trem lines and muffled double bass runs suck the listener in and refuse to let go for the entire thirteen minute run time. Vocals sporadically jump in out and come in even more distant than the drums, sounding at times like monastery chanting and at others a dirty and raspy black metal squawk. The swirling guitar lines and muffled drums continue with “Immortalizing The Nine”, although the tempo is a little slower and plodding, but remains almost ritualistic and repetitive. While “Through the Sigil of Hate” maintains a consistent fast pace, the brooding atmosphere of “Immortalizing the Nine” builds into catchy yet simplistic riff coupled with a driving, militaristic drum beat that repeats for almost the entire song. “Disguises of Evil” once again showcases the repetitive and cyclic trem riffing alongside fast paced double bass drumming, which continues for fifteen minutes, with only subtle changes in the tempo of drumming . Over the entire playtime of the black metal tracks, there isn't much change in tempo or delivery, but the cyclic, almost ritualistic feel of the music attempts to keep the listener sucked in.
The album closes off with five minutes of an ambient soundscape, utilizing long airy notes, inciting an extremely stark contrast to the past forty minutes. During the segments of chaotic, cyclic black metal, an underlying melody can be heard if the listener focuses. This is really reminiscent of typically long winded acts, and especially of Drudkh's “Autumn Aurora”. The music on “Nihaihayat” is definitely grainy, under produced and simplistic, but in that rustic charm lies a certain beauty only obtained by a select few bands in the genre.
The cyclic riffing and dirty production are great when you're in the mood for it, but it's not an everyday listen. Yayla's “Nihaihayat” may not reach the level of chaotic beauty mastered by Drudkh, but it is far reaching in its attempt and outdoes many who have tried before. Perhaps a more varied approach would garner a wider audience, but it would probably affect the trance inducing approach in a negative way. This may not be the greatest atmospheric black metal album out there, but it is worth a few spins if you dig the style. For fans of atmospheric or cyclic black metal who don't mind focusing to find subtle beauty within chaos.
Written for The Metal Observer