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Melechesh - The Epigenesis - 85%

ThrashManiacAYD, December 20th, 2010

Most people don't know it but let me tell you, Melechesh are one of the most important and vital bands of the current (extreme) metal world. Why it's not a well-known fact is that (trust me on this) most so-called metalheads can't embrace the mix of technical virtuosity, ethnic influence and ritualistic fervour of a Melechesh record and instead choose to settle on a play-it-safe record like those released by Bullet For My Valentine. This Dutch-by-the-way-of-Israel black/death/'folk' metal troop have risen to the Nuclear Blast echelons through nothing but hard work and perseverance to release their fifth album "The Epigenesis", a record whose spirit and defiance is signalled by the majestically un-metal, yet fantastic, cover. Buy it on vinyl for this alone I hearten thee.

At 11 songs in 71 minutes its taken some listens to know "The Epigenesis" well enough to discuss intelligently what Melechesh are doing here; only two songs dip below 5 1/2 minutes and each is packed with multiple interweaving riffs and feelings, akin to a multilayered and confluent classic novel. In "Grand Gathas Of Baal Sin", "The Magickan And The Drones", "Illumination - The Face Of Shamash" and "Defeating The Giants" Melechesh perform fantastically well-written riffs in a grand variety of tempos that hark back to the band's fiery black metal past while making the best of vastly superior production qualities afforded to them today. "Ghouls Of Nineveh", "A Greater Chain Of Being" and "When Halos Of Candles Collide" showcase a more experimental side and the willingness of the band, mainman Ashmedi in particular, to tap into a deep personal interest in the spiritual and musical culture of his Middle Eastern upbringing.

Short of these all being tracks worthy of purchase for their sheer enjoyment, the deeper meaning that lies at the heart of everything Melechesh provides extra enjoyment; through the use of authentic scales in the band's 'metal' riffs as well as genuine Arabic instruments every moment lies flooded in the well of geographical influence, done considerably more artistically than all too many yokel folky bands that instead get all the attention from your aforementioned metal fans.

To say all this without further clarification would intimate I regard "The Epigenesis" as, thus far, Melechesh's defining work, but such is my personal admiration of 2006's "Emissaries" it is with a heavy heart I place it one small step below. Further time and listening opportunities will be of great benefit as there is no doubt whatsoever a band like Melechesh necessitates the fullest of attention to unlock the power of the band's mystical, beautiful, downright dangerous concoction of extreme ethnic metal music; the kind all others can only aspire to.

Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net