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The Dark Esoteric Magick of Lord Djinn - 93%

bayern, July 15th, 2017

When the album reviewed here came out, there was barely a handful of fans who knew that Melechesh had actually produced a first showing five years earlier, a tribute to the booming at the time second wave of black metal. The bombastic, hyper-blasting layout of the debut is sparsely felt here, though, as the band had either gotten wiser or more musically proficient, or had decided to create the perfect antidote to their initial hyper-active feats.

The moment the intro “Whispers from the Tower” enchants everyone with its Oriental acoustics, bringing all the mysteries of the Middle East right at your front door, there will be no end to the magick here which becomes more complexly woven by “Genies, Sorcerers, and Mesopotamian Nights”, a supreme epic doomy hymn with jumpy Oriental motifs and more dramatic build-ups served later, the infernal witch-like vocals trying their utmost to keep the album within the black metal confines, to no avail. “A Summoning of Ifrit and Genii” is more officiant with surreal funereal atmosphere settling in gradually, the latter dissipated by the more brutal blast-beats on “Wardjinn”, the only more obvious reminder of the style on the debut. After this relatively short outburst of aggression comes ”Rub the Lantern”, a sombre Oriental doomster with rhythmic leaps and bounds galore those turned into a beautiful diverse “symphony” on “Covering the Sun” which provides several faster-paced sections amongst the infectious melodic tunes. “Kurnugi’s Reign” acquires slightly more conventional structures the rhythm-section still seductively bouncy with melodies provided more amply now before “Oasis of Molten Gold” arrives with all the blasting grandeur it can summon from Mesopotamian mythology the guys even attempting something thrashy for a change, to these ears for the better, the aggressive riffage working fine in team with the ever-present melodic tunes. “Dragons Legacy” is a contrasting blend of pacifying doomy motifs and fast intense strokes this symbiosis given a more serious, progressive flair on “The Siege of Lachish”, a fabulous epic with some of the most bewitching melodies ever put on vinyl, the “raven” behind the mike nicely supported by cleaner choral lines; expect impetuous thrashing again in league with loads of Oriental jumps and jolts creating a lot of dynamics as a finishing touch.

Ever since the band’s compatriots Salem brought the Oriental touch to metal quite a few years ago, both the fanbase and the practitioners have been savouring those tunes, and the latter have been trying to apply them to the more or less rigid metal structure with varying degrees of success. Still, it’s those that came from those areas who did it, and still do, the best the sole exception being Nile. Orphaned Land, Amaseffer, Myrath (Tunisia)… I guess you have to be immersed in the local culture, to have lived in this environment before you’re fully able to pull it off… I don’t know. Melechesh were already fully equipped to mesmerize everyone with their musical magick five years back, but their desire to be placed within the black metal stipulations kind of overwrote their more individual strives on the debut. It was hard to stifle those sparkles of creativity any longer, and here they receive most royal treatment transcending all borders between genres the way Orphaned Land, and even Salem if you like, did before them. This is one encompassing Middle Eastern metal opera which pulls you in, and presents you with a different perspective as to what metal should sound like. Well it’s the new millennium, after all, and there are no more surprises whatsoever when it comes to music so what else is left for the audience but to embrace another trend that on top of that sounds quite attractive and esoteric; I can see quite a few budding magicians weaving their spells using the songs here as a most appropriate soundtrack…

Yes, it was a new millennium started, and our friends felt perfectly at home with their appealing brand of metal. What they had to do now was to consolidate their status as auteurs within the metal circles. And they wasted no time releasing “Sphynx”, another masterpiece which brought more from the less restrained swagger of the debut, but all was well as the band kept very good balance between the two sides. “Emissaries” continued in the same direction by lessening the speed impact and increasing the progressive, also more atmospheric, elaborations, setting the tone for the next two instalments. A force to be reckoned with on the field after all the hard work invested, these Djinns from the East have all the rights to bring whatever ancient, mystical deities they like to the attention of the always hungry for esoteric knowledge metal fanbase, especially when they’re evoked with the most fitting musical accompaniment.

Djinn - 80%

dyingseraph84, June 12th, 2010

Djinn is where Melechesh found their style. As Jerusalem Burns was very much a black metal album with some middle eastern flares thrown in here and there. Djinn on the other hand, really has it's own sound to it. Nothing released around 2001 sounded quite like this. Sure Nile was around but they didn't have a black metal feel to their style, this was in a league of its own.

When compared to later albums as Sphynx and Emissaries, Djinn is pretty tame and not that interesting. Like I said this is where they found their style, they haven't yet improved on it. Some songs drag on forever and don't go anywhere, others like 'Wardjinn' are intense and driving.

The production is compressed and very drum oriented. Proscriptor's drum work is held back, when compared to the barrage of drum work found on any Absu release. There is a lot of middle eastern flair thrown into the drum patterns and guitar work. The bass guitar is played cleanly and provides a nice back line to the music.

I want to take a minute to describe the vocal work. There is a lot of variation here, vocals range from the standard black metal rasp, clean singing, and chanting. The vocals are one of the best and most unique aspects of this album. There are light keyboard touches throughout the album, and the guitar work is very varied.

I can't really point out one main band that this sounds like. If you took bands like, Morbid Angel, Possessed, Dissection, Destruction, Bathory, and Immolation then you get the idea of the sound the bands going for. I really like the solos played on Djinn, every solo is well played and sounds very unique.

There are a couple of tracks that just don't go anywhere here. Specifically 'Rub the Lantern', 'A Summoning of Ifrit and Genii', and 'Dragon's Legacy' drag on for way too long. There simply is not enough to hold you attention through their duration.

This album is decent, Melechesh's later releases are a lot better. There are 3 or 4 songs here that are sub par and don't really warrant repeated listens. I mean if you had the choice of listening to Sphynx or Djinn, your more than likely going to pick Sphynx. This is a unique album and is for open minded metal heads who want something out of the ordinary.

Welcome To The Middle East. - 80%

Perplexed_Sjel, July 22nd, 2009

It isn’t often that I discovered metal, particularly that which is primarily black metal based, that makes me want to stand up, break free of the stress that binds me and belly dance my way to Jerusalem, one of the eldest cities in the world and also one of the holiest places on this planet that is home to a species of primates fixated on the idea of having a faith to believe in so that they can find solace in a supreme being called God who will offer us a place to crash when we ourselves crash and burn. This place, stated to be the spiritual center of the Jewish people is home to this gifted hybrid band who were, rather unsurprisingly, forced to relocate to The Netherlands after they encountered some problems with the hostile locals, who are obviously incredibly religious people and intolerant of black metal rebels who evidently must be some the devil incarnate. Though, given the title of the debut full-length, its perhaps understandable as to why these fiercely religious people were incensed that the members of this band, who seem to have clean lyrics that don’t disparage religion (though I’ve not paid much attention to the lyrics, in truth) and are instead based around the concepts of Mesopotamian and Sumerian Mythology, vacate the area as soon as humanly possible.

According to the bands history, their drummer, Proscriptor (which oddly reminds me of a character from Toy Story 2 of a slightly similar name), was forced to resign from the band as he couldn’t move from beloved Israel for personal reasons. His contribution however, will always be felt as he supplied some of the catchiest drumming I’ve heard in a long time on this effort, entitled ‘Djinn’. As a whole, the concept of being utterly infectious is precisely what this record, and Melechesh in general, are all about - hence the spontaneous belly dancing that took place during the duration of this record. Even the introduction to this widely successful sophomore effort is as infectious as Chlamydia. I find that metal bands who incorporate traditional elements from their respective countries often draw more praise from me because of this. Its awfully interesting to hear what a band has to offer when they’ve increased the sense of nationalistic pride in their art form because I, as an average Englishman, am not used to hearing Middle Eastern music, particularly when fused with an intoxicating style of black metal that makes me salivate like a dog who has just spotted a plate of steak that is unattended to at a crowded party. Take a bite, go on, no one will notice!

Nowadays, it does seem to me that it is some sort of “guilty pleasure” to like anything Nuclear Blast gets their grubby little hands on. Since they’ve, supposedly, become the Roadrunner Records of extreme metal, no one wants to touch their so-called gems. Although I know that Melechesh’s sophomore effort was released through Osmose Productions, the band should have run into a monumental brick wall when they put pen to paper on whatever lucrative deal that got to work with Nuclear Blast because like any self respecting metal fan, no one wants everyone to know that they like Cradle of Filth, so they hide it, even from their closest chums, whom they could probably trust this shameful knowledge with, just like no one wants to be attached to Nuclear Blast in any way, shape or form anymore since they have successfully managed to drive a number of bands careers down the metaphorical drain of doom. To be fair, a lot of their so-called talent were no good to begin with, but Melechesh were. This band, although not truly signifying this fact on their mediocre debut, have a lot of potential to be a hybrid force in the future which, in some respects, they have started to become already with efforts like ‘Sphinx’ - which is considered the pivotal part of Melechesh’s career - and ‘Emissaries’, the last effort the band unleashed unto us.

I tend to forget where my roots were in metal and unlike most, I didn’t begin with your clichéd heavy metal bands. I often relate my roots back to the that infamous day I decided to purchase a certain record called ‘Transilvanian Hunger’, by a certain second wave band from Norway called Darkthrone but the truth is, it wasn’t until I started experimenting with bands like Grief of Emerald and Melechesh, both of which I found at the beginning of my long and epic journey to the promise land, that I truly started understanding the potential of the black metal genre. However, Melechesh are not strictly black metal, as those thrash inspired vocal screams will suggest, but they do hold the genre in high esteem, which is why it is felt so prominently throughout ‘Djinn’, the most mesmerising Middle Eastern influenced music I’ve ever come across. I find most bands influenced by this area of the world, like Amarna Sky - who aren’t as infectious, but deserve a mention regardless - for example, tend to have a charm that is found in the high levels of catchiness that is embedded deep into the soundscapes, starting with the low driving bass, to the well controlled vocals that direct the overflowing melodies of the instrumentation.

Does the Middle Eastern vibe and the lyrical content make the band more appealing on the surface? Certainly. Its always interesting to find traditional bands, who use traditional instruments from their respective countries no matter what style they play and two particularly interesting regions for this mesh of melodious music are the Middle East and parts of Eastern Asian like Japan who offer the scene intriguing conceptual bands like Birushanah, who use traditional Japanese instruments and blend them with a doom laden style to increase a level of appeal. It truly and utterly works as the fascinating material unfolds in a manner that I am certainly not used to. There isn’t any way possible that Melechesh could ever come across as uninteresting and though they’re not perfect by any means, they are never uninteresting or simply boring in their approach. Their style is multi-dimensional and breeds dynamism like rabbits - especially in regards to the imperative drumming, which is responsible for the vast majority of the catchy vibe that attention seeks throughout, as it spends most of its time skulking around the surface, looking to nab new listeners with its exquisite and exotic ideals.

Given the way the percussion, audible bass and entrancing guitars tie in so perfectly with the combinational style of the vocals and backing vocals, it’s a shame the production is as dense as it is. If it were crispy, or had a certain crunch to it, a bite, then the material would sound even more glossy than it already does, but the production is rather restrictive. I don’t think the production suited the folk inspired sound that Melechesh rely heavily on to possess their audience and it doesn’t carry the solos well either, but still, it doesn’t stop Melechesh from being the infectious musicians that they are, especially when we take into consideration songs like ‘A Summoning of Ifrit and Genii’ with its stop-start approach and ‘Dragon’s Legacy’ with its majestic influence from the traditional instruments and that sweet sounding ethnic vibe is undeniably ingenious especially when the song takes a slow, folk-ish turn with the string instruments and the commanding vocal presence that sends shivers down my spine. Although the production does dampen the effect, this is a wonderful attempt at something new - particularly if you’re interested in the lyrical side of things, since Melechesh cover a range of topics that should be considered intriguing to most people since mythology of any kind is usually very awe inspiring to the core.

Not quite there. - 70%

Rahzak, February 14th, 2008

I have to admit it; I'm a Melechesh fan boy. I think everything they've done so far is teh tits and that they deserve all the praise in the world, all the tits in the world and I'd personally lick Ashmedi's ass clean if he asked me to. But of course, even a fan-fucken-tastic band got to have their weakness and I have to admit Djinn is the worst album Melechesh has ever made. Or maybe "worst" is too harsh, I'd have to go with "least good" instead because it's still a good album.

The thing that kinda turns me off this album is that mighty good songs are mixed with songs that can't be described as anything other than mediocre. It's like a god damn rollercoaster: Starts off high up, then takes a dive right down in the shit, then up again and then it repeats this process like three times. Take for example the first three tracks, one which is an acoustic intro. "Genies, Sorcerers and Mesopotamian Nights" is a fantastic, fast and thrashing song with the typical Middle-Eastern vibe a Melechesh song should have, followed by the low-tempo snore fest that is "A Summoning of Ifrit and Genii". Alright, alright. I have nothing against slower songs, but "A Summoning..." simply bores me to tears.

And in that pattern it continues, mixing great and catchy songs with fantastic riffs which give my musicpenis a boner, with songs that simply are "meh" and never seem to get stuck in my head, something that happens with almost all songs from the other Melechesh albums.

However this is in many ways a special Melechesh album, apart from being the least good one that is. This is the album where they started to fully develop their truly unique style of making metal which can be heard at its best on Sphynx and Emissaries. "As Jerusalem Burns... Al'Initsar" is better than this one, but it's more "normal" black metal than the later ones.

So all in all it's a good album, not fab-dabby-dabulous but still definitely worth buying (especially if you're a Melechesh sucker and needs to have all their albums on your shelf to keep yourself from being on the edge of putting a gun in your mouth, like me), and it got some really nice songs, among them already mentioned "Genies, Sorcerers and something else", "Wardjinn", "Dragon's Legacy" and "The Siege of Lachish". By the way, "The Siege of Lachish" is actually an old Melechesh song as it was first released on the EP with the same name in 1996, even before the "As Jerusalem Burns..."-album was released. Oh well, if you think this release is good and haven't heard Sphynx and Emissaries, do it and lay knocked out by their awesomeness because this is nothing compared to them. Now I'm off to pleasure myself while listening to Sand Grain Universe.

Original style - 85%

natrix, April 18th, 2004

This is a solid effort from the first Palestinian band I have ever heard. While I do agree that a lot of bands have used a lot of the oriental melodies to an extreme, Melechesh is a hell of a lot better at doing this than most, probably because they are from a culture where this is imbedded in their minds from an early age. Also, they don't just use the melodies. Instead, they base their riffs and drum beats around them, which makes Melechesh quite original. There a lot more agressive than most "ethnic" band, as well.
"Genies, Sorcerors and Mesopotamian Nights" is a great way to start the album, because this shows their riffing and drum patterns right away. Other great songs are "Rub the Lantern," "Dragon's Legacy" (cool ethnic solo in here) and "Oasis of Molten Gold." I only don't care for "Siege of Lachish" which is pretty lazy sounding, and doesn't really go anywhere.
The drumming on here is definately commendable. Proscriptor tosses in tons of fills and really solid, powerful beats. On a sad note, he does use a lot of blast beats on "Wardjinn" and "Oasis of Molten Gold," which kind of diminish the power of the music.
Production is a double edged sword on this album. I think it's great for a black metal band to have a strong guitar tone, and Melechesh certainly does. It's meaty without being typical down-tuned slop, and you can hear a lot of the nuances that they're playing. The vocals and lead guitars, however, get buried a bit. While they don't do too much stuff with the leads, the vocals NEED to be louder. Sometimes it sounds like Ashmeidi is whispering over the band. This is not good.