KEREM YILMAZ (IMHA TARIKAT): “We Worked Towards Manifesting And Confronting A Deep Darkness Within Which Was Dwelling In Veils For Too Long”

Imha Tarikat live
Photo: Carsten Brand

German Black Metal outfit Imha Tarikat are set to release their third album entitled Hearts Unchained – At War With A Passionless World on December 2nd. The mastermind behind Imha Tarikat Keren Yilmaz took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about the band’s upcoming album, the Metal scene in Germany, his favorite albums of 2022, and more. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: The band’s third album entitled Hearts Unchained – At War With A Passionless World is set to be released on December 2nd, what can you tell fans about the upcoming album?

Yilmaz: Hi, thanks for the interview. Hearts Unchained is resuming the story that was built throughout the previous releases. We worked towards manifesting and confronting a deep darkness within which was dwelling in veils for too long. With our third release, we find ourselves in the last breaths of demasking, understanding, and bringing this darkness to a rest and now reclaim what it usurped. Further on, told is the story about rebuilding the “I” and finding a new sense of purpose, which before was fueled with fear and negativity. As in veins of Imha Tarikat releases, our upcoming release will be filled with adventurous and fierce moments, experimenting with different elements to create another momentum of bursting passion.

MER: How was the writing and recording process having this being the band’s third album?

Yilmaz: With each release, we put in immense effort to become better in overall, and so this release also profited from what we have learned with our previous works, and by that, the abilities we have manifested to work and progress on. There always needs to be a good balance between confidence in vision and creation on one hand and being open to growth and innovation on the other. The whole process was wrapped up in less than a year, with the majority of songwriting happening during the first corona lockdown in 2020, followed by rehearsing the songs for recordings during summer 2020, and followed by recordings happening during multiple dates in winter 2020/2021. Each phase was fueled with insane motivation and energy, though also accompanied by doubt, madness and exhaustion because of the very tightly planned goals we set. But in the end, when everything came together, all the effort and self-doubt turned to growth and pride because of what we achieved.

MER: How would you compare this album to the band’s previous two albums?

Yilmaz: It is more mature and controlled than the previous releases were. Especially in contrast to the sophomore album, which was an absolute escalation of emotions, Hearts Unchained, even though not at all fueled with less passion than the previous releases, is more aware and reflected within its structures. This also has a lot to do with the built-up experience in technicality and personal factors up to the point of writing this album. Because, somewhat, the music serves as a memorandum of certain states of my life.

MER: The band has released two singles from the upcoming album, what kind of feedback have you received?

Yilmaz: So far, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. People enjoy and notice how much thought and work we put into the songs, especially into the music video for our first single “Radical Righteousness.” We are immensely thankful for that and hope that we can keep up to the expectations, not only for this album, but also for the future of Imha Tarikat.

MER: Do you feel those two songs give fans an idea on what to expect from the full album?

Yilmaz: I think while, yes, these two songs are quite representative for what to expect of Hearts Unchained, the full range of the album definitely can not be covered with these singles. Knowing how the album sounds and how thought-through the songs and the order are, I feel like the listeners will find the progression through the songs to feel natural and exciting, nothing repetitive.

MER: What do you see as plans for the band after the album release?

Yilmaz: Right now, I am working on two further albums, of which one soon is ready for creative revision. So, more music is in the making, but it still is too early for making any precise plannings for future releases. Also, we work towards being more active as live musicians, with a handful of appearances planned right now and more to be added.

MER: Who do you hope to tour with and why?

Yilmaz: I would love sharing the stage with LOTS of bands, but touring? I think I am not able to precisely answer this. For one, did we not tour yet as Imha Tarikat or did I myself ever tour in my life, so it is not clear to me what I truly would value when on the road with other music groups. But if we would reduce it to how much I enjoy a band/release: Welcome To Hell-era Venom, Early Bathory, Midnight, especially Satanic Royalty-era, Mantar, Judas Priest, Bölzer, and a lot, lot more, haha… also with my friends in The Night Eternal and Hexer.

MER: How would you describe the Metal scene in Germany?

Yilmaz: Nearly each day of the week you can find shows to attend or visit Metal pubs with people hanging out all day around. There is a big underground scene dedicated to hailing and creating old-school Metal, also with lots of innovative and eager bands at the same time. It doesn’t matter if you are a music fan or musician, if you are easy-going and not an asshole, you can get along with nearly anyone.

MER: What have been some of your favorite releases of 2022?

Yilmaz: I had to think pretty hard to be able to answer this one and realized, that I have been catching up with nearly no new releases, even though listening to music every day for hours. Most of the time I was exploring genres I haven’t listened to a lot but am fond of. One artist for example I have been listening to recently is Lowering from New York, who blends together a mix of dark jazz, ambient and metal elements, creating a feeling of dystopia I last felt when I began delving into Black Metal. But two releases of 2022 I really enjoy(ed): Mantar – Pain Is Forever and This Is the End, Arð – Take Up My Bones.

MER: Out of the band’s three albums, which one would you recommend to a new fan and why?

Yilmaz: I perhaps would recommend beginning with taking a listen into the debut-EP, Kenoboros and from there, whenever it suits, to keep proceeding with listening through the releases. It is easy to hear and feel how much our skill and expression have evolved and grown over the years.


  • Matt Zaniboni

    Matthew is an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He started his passion for music journalism back in his college radio days serving as the Heavy Metal Director at WKKL out of Hyannis Massachusetts. During Matt’s tenure in radio, he has had time working for commercial stations in Boston Massachusetts such as WAAF, WZLX AND 98.5 The Sports Hub before landing with Metal Express Radio. Anytime you want to talk heavy Metal, hockey, Guiness, and dad life, Matt is your guy m/

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