CEM KOKSAL (feat. Mats Leven) – Vigilante Episode One (2011)
Guitar virtuoso Cem Köksal hails from an atypical land for Rock ‘n Roll; Turkey.
He is a well and respected name between musicians and geetar aficionados, and since the last decade Cem has been trying to break his country boundaries hiring occidental vocalists to sing on his albums.
In 2006, a successful tour with Joe Lynn Turner on vocals was shot through 11 province-wide concerts and subsequently published on DVD and CD; ‘Cem Köksal Live feat. JLT’.
His new conceptual project -four years in the making- “Vigilante”, consists of 3 separate five-song EP to be released at short intervals, featuring international and local vocalists.
For “Vigilante Episode One”, monster pipes swede (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen / Treat / Swedish Erotica) Mats Levén was chosen.
“Awakened One” is a melodic neo-classical track with good harmonies. Unusual thing with this song is that the guitars isn’t all over the instruments shredding all the time. There’s a fire solo of course, but also room for the keyboards and especially the harmony vocals. Mats Levén proves he can sing anything, from ballads to furious metal. But this is a very melodious track.
“Don Quixote” ups the tempo a little. This is a much better arranged track where the vocal part is the star. Great backing vocals / chorus too.
“Stalkers In The Night” is a more ahead, direct hard rocker with a commercial, infectious chorus where Levén feels at home. The riff has a little eastern vibe and the solo is pretty intrincate yet melodic.
Supposedly, “Vigilante” will be released later as a full-album including only the tracks from the 3 EP sung in english.
So, the remaining two tracks on “Episode One” seems to be exclusive, bonus tracks.
Despite of being performed in turkish, this does not affect the essence of both.
“Askina Elveda” is a slow paced epic ballad that ups the tempo during the melodic chorus. This song features a mix of calm, clean guitars with an intense soloing at the end. Mehmet Kaya has a deep vocal register, with a nice color.
On “Var Olmazsan” the vocals are shared between a female vocalist (which has a warm voice), and a male. This is a neo-classical ballad in the Yngwie style. The track has a very nice intro and we can hear an atypical chord instrument (similar to violin). The guitar solo is very classy with tons of sustain.
“Vigilante Episode One” is a very interesting work featuring a slightly different approach than the usual western style.
Koksal is a good guitar player, very classic and vintage. As said, Levén can sing anything and he’s still in top form.
The only problem with this recording is the tech department. Koksal himself has produced & mixed all the tunes. Production is good, but the mix fails in a couple of tracks to bring on front all these songs’ potential.
Anyway, “Vigilante Episode One” has an attractive concept, good songs and a monster vocalist.
This should appeal to any early Yngwie / Rainbow fan and electric guitar aficionados.
01 – Awakened One
02 – Don Quixote
03 – Stalkers In The Night
04 – Askina Elveda (bonus track)
05 – Var Olmazsan (bonus track)
Cem Köksal – Guitars
Mats Levén – Vocals
Cagatay Ates – Bass
Bulent Guven – Keyboards, Guitar
Mert Alkaya – Drums
Mehmet Kaya – Vocals (4)
Misafir Sanatcilar – Vocals (5)
Zeynep Casalini – Vocals (5)
Nurhat Sensesli – Bass (5)
IF YOU LIKE IT, BUY IT!