My first introduction to Melechesh and their “Sumerian Metal” was during my days as a radio host. The band had just released their Djinn album (2001), which was quite an innovative release in retrospect. At the time I wasn’t really interested in the musical exploits by Ashmedi and Co, so I soon lost interest. A couple of years later they managed to capture my attention again with Emissaries (2006). That album was a rich mixture of black metal, thrash metal and lots Middle Eastern musical flourishes forged together in quite an unique way. Last year the band released The Epigenesis, arguably their most comprehensive and ambitious album to date…
The Epigenesis is an impressive journey through Ashmedi’s Middle Eastern roots and his love for black- and thrash metal. Ghouls Of Ninave and Grand Gathas Of Baal Sin are great examples of his musical craftsmanship. Both compositions have their base in thrash and black metal, feature elaborate, almost progressive styled arrangements and have a rich texture of Middle Eastern melody lines and subtle percussion.
This continues in tracks like Sacred Geometry, The Magician And The Drones and Mystics Of The Pillar. All brilliant pieces of music with the mystical aura of the ancient civilisations of Sumer and Assyria surrounding them. That’s another great thing about The Epigenesis. For some reason the atmosphere feels incredibly authentic and therefore completely convincing. All the subtle chants, percussion and all the other elements used contribute greatly to that. When Halos Of Candles Collide and A Greater Chain of Being are great examples of this.
Defeating The Giants and Illumination: The Face Of Sham are the fastest tracks on the album and are somewhat more black metal orientated. The epic title track is the grand finale. It’s a twelve minute behemoth which can best be described as a cross section of what The Epigenesis has to offer. It’s also the most elaborate and adventurous track on the record.
What can I say? The Epigenesis is Melechesh’s finest work to date. All the tracks are meticulously crafted, the atmosphere is incredibly authentic and it has a sense of adventure and a level of perfection that are rarely displayed within the metal community. In short, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Written by Raymond Westland