Melechesh, the first band out of Jerusalem to get a record deal in 1993, is back in 2015 with a hellacious new album. Their style is its own demon, containing Middle Eastern and Thrash roots perfectly blackened. Founding member Ashmedi is a powerful guitarist, mixing Thrash and Melodic ancient sounds in an unheard way. The band continues to breed this very dark and personal style of music that people are calling “Mesopotamian Metal”, as it deals with spiritual and philosophical topics as old as the first budding settlement. Their new album is all of these layers and sounds magnified and refined majorly, but also twisted and darkened. I enjoy Middle Eastern influences in Metal, but this is unlike anything I’ve heard before.
“Enki” is a mix of Modern Thrash and old world sound with each track, interlacing and twisting with rage. It is not an album for any light ears. “Enki” is scorchingly heavy from beginning to end. The drums are technical and fast, pounding with a bit of Latin flair and interesting fills. The guitars are tight, well orchestrated, and unique with a Middle Eastern Melody underneath the rattling distortion. The vocals are grunting and beastly, besides the occasional haunting clean runs in the back, adding even older sounds to the album. Songs like Metatron and Man, The Pendulum Speaks, and Enki-Divine Nature Awoken, have a similar style in the vocals and guitars that Arch Enemy’s “Khaos Legions” had. That sound adds a familiarity to such a foreign genre and sound. These tracks are incredibly dark and heavy, bringing in the “Blackened” part in Melechesh’s creation. The Palm The Eye and Lapis Lazuli and Multiple Truths contain the most interesting Middle Eastern sounds on the album. Lost Tribes features the very busy and legendary Max Cavalera on vocals, adding a flair to the album. I found Doorways to Irkala to be the most regional and historical inspired track on “Enki”. It is eight minutes of ancient sounds, somewhat reminding me of a sacred ritual that begin ages before Metal existed. It is not a Metal song at all, but it is a very significant track on this album and for Melechesh’s heritage.
“Enki” is however more of a concept album, having similar repeated riffs all the way through. It lacks diversity of songs and styles with individual tracks. Also, the lyrics may be deep and personal but they are inaudible, which demeans the music for me. If the band claims they write philosophical lyrics I would like to be able to connect with them, to understand what all the chaos is about. Many will say, “Just look the lyrics up online and read through them”, which is a good way to solve my complaint for the lack of audible words. However, if this band truly has points they want to get across and strongly believe in, the listener should be able to understand them. I do enjoy Black Metal and the use of growls, but I just find it demeaning the history and cultural influences of the album. Aside my personal wishes for this album, it is a very unique and well put together Blackened Thrash Metal release.
Overall Album Rating 7/10
Sounds Like: Myrath, Cavalera Conspiracy, Old Dimmu Borgir
Album out March 10th, 2015