Turkish born but New Jersey based songwriter Burak Ozmucur has been quietly toiling away for the last six years, releasing an album and several EPs showcasing his melodic, atmospheric metal style as it evolved into what it is today. His latest release, A Distant Light, is a fantastic slice of groovy, engaging modern metal that draws parallels to everything from modern hard rock to progressive metal bands such as TesseracT, the latter of which is more apparent through the excellent mastering job on this EP courtesy of TesseracT guitarist Acle Kahney.
While not as immediately flashy and attention grabbing as some of his modern metal contemporaries, Burak’s music relies instead on depth and atmospherics to create soundscapes that are both mesmerizing and catchy, rather than relying on one aspect over the other. His ability to intertwine interesting ambient riffs with interesting hooks combines the best elements of modern hard rock with prog and “djent”, creating a sonic soup that stands apart from the hordes of bedroom musicians vying for your attention on today’s internet.
A Distant Light shows a maturation of the sound Burak developed on his 2013 full length, Long Until Gone, which I was a big fan of. Here, we see him crafting more refined and interesting melodies and ambient layers and his vocal performance, already impressive for a solo musician, has only improved with time and practice. The opening title track showcases everything appealing about this formula, with the delay soaked guitar licks, groovy riffs and simple, yet effective lyrics (which remind me somewhat of Katatonia and Jonas Renske‘s writing style) all working together for the benefit of the song as a whole, with no one part rising above the others. This commitment to quality songwriting above theatrics and overt technicality is appreciated in a genre arguably lacking subtlety in many areas.
Burak’s vocals are more of the modern hard rock variety, with a tinge of ambient prog stylings, and while they may not be to everybody’s taste, I appreciate his restraint and self awareness, not trying to do or be anything outside of his range. The excellent mastering by Acle only highlights how meticulously composed and layered the music is, with all the instruments and tracks audible in the mix. I’ve been listening to Burak’s music for a few years now, and I really think this EP could help increase his visibility in a crowded scene. To this writer, at least, his songwriting is a breath of fresh air, and hopefully it will be for you, too. Check out his music at his Bandcamp page, linked below, and see what you think!