The Ottoman Empire
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The Ottoman Empire

Band Metal


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Live Show Review 9/15/04"

"Midweek Massacre...Part One"
By Camille Gonzales

Wicked Wednesday at The Rock Shop, first up was Ottoman Empire. Bulls Eye! This band is what I love. A four piece who are young (Really.) and hungry. They nailed that great metal feel. The show opened up with ‘Bane’. A brutal double kicker that showcases what your in for. Once Mary takes the mic your caught. It took me back twenty years to Doro Pesch and Warlock. ‘Bane’ ends with an outro solo that screams. Brian K. on guitar handles a two man job well. They’re looking for a second axe, but, I say no way guys. It’s perfect right now. These guys were first timers at The Rock Shop and they handled it like vets. ‘Metamorphosis’ was a heavy groove that slipped into an outro solo that literally transformed the song into a metal opus. ‘Strike’ is easily national single material with its catchy chorus. Ottoman Empire is balls to the wall metal. I’m there. - Milwaukee Metal -

"Interview with Milwaukee"

"Scenes From A Memory"
By Camille Gonzales

On September 15, we were invited to The Rock Shop for a midweek show.  Little did we know, this show would ultimately change the way we thought about local metal.  It was the first time we saw The Ottoman Empire perform and we were awe struck.  Could a local band really be this good??  In October they had the privilege to open for Crisis, Otep and Kittie at The Rave and we were fortunate enough to go along for the ride.  At this point we secured our opportunity to pick their brains a bit to learn more about what makes this band, The Ottoman Empire, rock!

OK, so we wanted to know about how they are as a band and as individuals, first off we got answers about The Ottoman Empire as a band.  The band had Brian, lead guitar/vox, be their spokesperson.  Here's how it went.....

MKE Metal:  How did Ottoman Empire get it's start?

Brian:  "The Ottoman Empire started back around late 2001 in its original line up. I was spending time in my hometown of Monroe and decided to start a band with Nick Conti (former Ottoman bass player). I recruited a couple of friends who were available and we performed our first show to a great response. We were actually more punk than metal at first, and that is where I didn't see eye to eye with our original guitarist Todd Olson. Our original drummer Dusty Weis, was much younger than us still 15 or 16 at the time and I had met Zack in Whitewater, so I twisted his arm into joining. We recorded our first demo with Todd and Zack, Twice, and soon after Todd departed as we aimed to get heavier. We hired a new guitarist I had been giving lessons to, Brad Lupo and soon after we hired Mary to take over vocals, which up to that point I had been doing all the singing. With this line up we recorded the Curse of the Sun EP and were doing quite well up until this last May when Nick and Brad quit within a week of each other. This put us on the shelf this whole last summer until we hired Jake, followed a few weeks later by Paul who will make his debut with us next month. That pretty much takes us to the present..."

MKE Metal:  Where did the name Ottoman Empire originate from?

Brian:  "I suppose the name has an origin similar to many other band names. Nick (original bassist)  and I were hanging out one night at a friend's house calling out random and potential band names when he yelled OTTOMAN upon noticing our friend's Ottoman, or footstool, in his living room. I added Empire and the rest is history. There is no historical-socio-political reference or allusion. I wish I could say it was a divine stroke of genius or something, but it was not."

MKE Metal:  What are your main influences and why?

Brian:  "Our influences have changed over the past few years as members of the band have come and gone. As the principal songwriter, however, my influences have been fairly steadfast. As a lifelong student of music, I have always been drawn to a more technically oriented style of playing, and as an angry young teenager nothing is better than metal, so initially my big influences were the three M's, Metallica, Megadeth, and Motorhead. As I matured I eventually found the band Dream Theater and that was pretty much it for me, they made everything else pale by comparison! They are my biggest influence because the songwriting and playing are about as good as you can get. The last two years or so, my immediate influences have been Iced Earth and Children of Bodom. Bands like Slayer, Pantera, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden inevitably influence anybody who wants to play modern metal."

MKE Metal:   What are the goals for the band, both immediate and long term?

Brian: "I guess our biggest goals include getting signed, going on tour and playing to lots and lots of people. As a band, we are all in our twenties so we would love to hit the road, establish ourselves on the scene and possibly make a living as well. We want to see the world and be part of something much bigger. Another goal is to be uncompromising in our sound and style and not jump on the band wagon of the next popular style. There are a lot of bands around that sound like whatever is popular at the moment; it is important to maintain musical identity and integrity."

MKE Metal:  What is your favorite place to play?

Brian:  "We have played the Rave in Milwaukee 3 times now, and each time the reaction has been huge. We always play to a big crowd and they really get into it. There is  a lot of energy and excitement in the air there." - Milwaukee Metal -

"Attention progressive thrash metal fans"

By Donna Lenz Wright

Four students studying music at UW-Whitewater scarcely dreamed that their combined talents would be opening for bands like Kittie and Iced Earth, and headlining themselves all over the state with Chicago and Minneapolis on their short list for future gigs.

But that's exactly what the members of Ottoman Empire, Brian Koenig (lead guitar), Zack Zweifel (drums), Jacob Bare (bass) and Mary Zimmer (vocals) are doing.

This Saturday, Aug. 13, Ottoman Empire will be playing the Gigantour at The Rave, 2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, along with musicians of top caliber including Megadeath, Dream Theater, Fear Factory, Nevermore, Dillinger Escape Plan, Symphony X, Bobaflex and Dry Kill Logic. The show begins at 3 p.m.

"Ottoman Empire as a band had been in existence since 2002," said Zimmer, who has been with the band since 2003. "Brian is the only remaining original member. He met Zack and myself at UW-Whitewater going to school for music.

"We met Jacob when he saw us play on campus. He really liked our band and bought a CD. Then when he found out we were auditioning for a bass player, he showed up and was hired."

Every band's name has to come from somewhere, and Ottoman Empire's epiphany came one day as Brian was brainstorming with the band's former bass player.

There on the floor sat an ottoman, which led their brains to think of the Ottoman Empire, an ancient Turkish empire that reigned from 1281 to 1923, when the Allies captured its territories during World War I, according to Wikipedia.

It was one of the largest and most powerful empires of all time, and at the height of its power, it included Anatolia, the Middle East, parts of North Africa and southeastern Europe.

After World War I, Turkish nationalists, many of whom were former Ottoman officials and high-ranking militaries, established modern Turkey.

"We play heavy metal," Zimmer explained. "It's more like a progressive thrash metal type, kind of like Megadeath. It's kind of fast, melodic, not death metal, but fast, heavy, loud but not excessively extreme music."

For those who don't consider themselves heavy metal fans, Zimmer thinks they may change their minds if they listened to the kind of music that is being played today.

"Unfortunately a lot of people also automatically think you're a screaming band that makes no sense at all. They don't realize there's a real musical aspect to it. If they listen to it they might actually really enjoy it."

Sure, there's grunting, screaming and distorted guitar, but there's also lots of melody and intensely technical and difficult musical ingredients, she said.

But Ottoman Empire isn't your typical metal band; they have more of a European- and Swedish-style sound, she said.

"There are a lot of great metal bands from Scandinavia we listen to."

Some major influencing bands have had on Ottoman Empire include Dream Theater, Iron Maiden, Megadeath and Arch Enemy.

Each member of the band has formal music training and takes their business very seriously. They compose, write and only play their own original music, with the exception of having a little fun during practices playing tunes from some of their favorite bands.

"But we never do that publicly," Zimmer said.

"Our music really catches your eye when you look at it because it's got a lot of technical aspects to it. It's difficult to play and sing, and it's a lot of fun."

If you plan to attend the Gigantour this weekend, you can expect to see a lot of technical effects, well-played music, heavy metal and very melodic tunes from Ottoman Empire, she said.

"We can always get a crowd going - it's a lot of fun," she said.

Industry trends

Now is a great time to be a heavy metal musician and fan, Zimmer says.

Even though people are still not hearing heavy metal on corporate-owned radio stations, the availability of Internet and other music sources are filling the appetites of fans.

"Even though people are still not getting it on the corporate radio stations, in the outskirt scenes it's just exploding," said Zimmer. "I think corporations are ignoring it because it's too non-traditional." But she also thinks it's a big mistake.

"For example, look at the lineup for Ozzfest this year. Iron Maiden, Arch Enemy - these bands are selling out arenas and don't get any commercial play. I don't know why that is - they could make a lot of money."

Regardless of this form of censorship, modern technology is giving people opportunities to hear different kinds of music than dictated by corporate radio stations.

"Right now is a really good time to play the music we play because it's in our favor. There are tons and tons of fans -- it's unbelievable. Only in the day of satellite radio and downloadable music would this be possible."

This is a very big trend change from not so long ago, she continued. "Ten years ago it was not that way at all. It was mostly grunge mus - The Walworth County Week

""Curse of The Sun" EP Review"

By: Dave LaMay

Looking at the "Curse Of The Sun" booklet lets you know right away the members of Wisconsin's (go Pack- Hell yeah!) The Ottoman Empire are pretty young, as in (probably) barely out of high school. I'll be darned though; I really enjoyed their E.P. quite a bit and if they manage to stick together long enough, we may have a future powerhouse on our hands.

Catchy-yet-ballsy songwriting is so BIG in my book, and lead guitarist Brian Koenig seems to have a VERY firm grasp of what it takes early on. All 6 tracks have great combination of intensity, well-placed tempo changes, and melody. Within each track I heard something that reminded me of a few of my favorites- Iron Maiden, Slough Feg, TTD, Deadly Sin, and Steel Prophet (some cool, thick Iced Earth rhythms in there too). Granted, Ottoman isn't as tight as these bands YET, but they are off to an admirable start.

Frontwoman Mary Zimmer proves to be another important asset. No annoying "barf on the mic" ala Angela of Arch Enemy or misplaced operatic goop of Nightwish. Mary's voice is undeniably feminine but packs the power and style that a traditionally-oriented band needs. I'm sure it won't hurt any of the guy's feelings that see the band live that she is rather attractive as well.

The things wrong here seem to come from inexperience, which, in all fairness, is unavoidable. There are scattered little instrumental mistakes throughout, which didn't really bother me, but have to be mentioned. The sound quality is a bit more important though, and some work is needed. Don't get me wrong, this disc is easily listenable, but the vocals have a dry quality and the bass drums are too far back in the mix and have no punch. More studio time and all will be fine.

Both the Ottoman Empire and their second recording effort get a nice, juicy thumbs-up from me. Flaws or not, they are great to enjoy right now and have massive potential draped all over them. I will be keeping tabs on these youngsters ‘cuz I want to hear more. These guys (and young lady) can play in my area anytime!

"The Ottoman Empire - Curse of The Sun"

By: Joe Who?

I have no idea what the future will bring, time waits for no one. Sometimes I wish I had a crystal ball to see where things are headed. One thing is for sure though, we can all make predictions. One band I would predict as having a bright and promising career in the future would be The Ottoman Empire.

Hailing from Wisconsin, The Ottoman Empire have just recently released this six song ep. Their style is progressive sounding power metal, with female vocals. The music on here is very good, the songs are well crafted with great melodies, and solos. The vocals fit like a glove. Front woman Mary Zimmer reminds me of Doro Pesch, adding a touch of traditional metal to the mix. This band is pretty young, but don't let this be a distraction, they are very mature, and play like seasoned pro's with a clear vision of what they want to accomplish. The production for this cd is good, but could be a little better. There are some great producers in Wisconsin, (like Chris Djuricic) that can help them, but like I was saying they are a young band that will only improve with time. Highlights on this cd include; "Bane", "Metamorphosis", and "Curse Of The Sun" (with a killer dual guitar solo in the middle ala Maiden) .

I am not a clairvoyant or a psychic by any means, but I know talent when I hear it. The Ottoman Empire is a band to keep an eye on. They have a lot of potential, and they are headed in the right direction as far as I'm concerned. - Worm Wood Chronicles -


"Twice" Demo
Released: June 2002

"Curse Of The Sun" EP
Released: January 2004
Tracks from Curse Of The Sun have recieved airplay on the following radio stations:
WLZR 102.9 FM Lazer 103-Milwaukee, WI
WORT 89.9 FM-Madison, WI
WJJO 94.1 FM-Madison, WI
WSUW 91.7 FM-Whitewater, WI

Upcoming Release:
"Way of The Blade" LP/Album
Release date: October 2006
Mastered by Mika Jussila - Finnvox Studios, Helsinki FI
Tracks from the "Way of the Blade" album have received early airplay on the following radio stations:
WORT 89.9 FM-Madison, WI
WJJO 94.1 FM-Madison, WI


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Ottoman Empire are a progressive thrash metal band from Madison, WI. Although they have many classic metal influences, they have a sound that is truly all their own. With the release of their 2006 album, "Way of the Blade," they have proven, once again, that being yourself is always the best policy. Their unique sound encompasses a clever combination of both clean and harsh female vocals, intricate guitar and bass counterpoint, and complex, fast, yet tasteful drumming. These are the elements that combine to give The Ottoman Empire their individual sound that appeals to the dedicated metal fan as well as newcomers and non-metal fans alike. The Ottoman Empire are a group of experienced performers having opened for several national acts including Kittie, Otep, Crisis, Children of Bodom, Iced Earth and more. They seek to broaden their fan base and to make a career out of creating metal music, and have tour plans throughout the U.S. for Fall/Winter 2006.