Review : MELECHESH – "The Epigenesis"

MelecheshThe Epigenesis
Release Date: 2010Oct01 (US)
Label: Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.5/5

I’ll bet when I say “Jerusalem”, the first word to pop into the majority of minds out there isn’t “Metal” (correct me if I’m wrong…). I find it rather intriguing that one of the best non-Scandinavian black metal bands hails from the holy city, and have staked their flag rather firmly in the soil that is the international Metal scene.

This odd Israeli quartet has managed to envision and fully realize one of the most truly fascinating and original sounds in the Metal world. While Jerusalem itself is located in the fertile crescent, they have crafted a sound which reminds me of the desert landscape that covers the majority of the Middle East. On The Epigenesis, the production sounds especially arid. It was mixed by Reuben de Lautour and mastered by Pieter Snapper, who do an great job getting the right vibes here; the guitars sound particularly incredible.

As far as the actual style of the band goes, it’s one of the more unique versions of black metal I’ve heard. It mixes in everything from ’80s thrash to traditional music from their area of the world. In fact, many indigenous Middle Eastern instruments are utilized—best showcased on “A Greater Chain of Being”, which sounds more like something from one of Karl Sanders‘s solo releases than anything by a Metal band. While there is no trace of modern music present in the aforementioned song, it is actually one of the better parts of the album. Though these kinds of things don’t tend to work out for most bands, Melechesh succeeds by creating a “moment of zen” (yes, I’m a Jon Stewart fan) for the listener to just sit back and relax after 50 minutes of heaviness, prior to the onslaught of the album closer. The title track is the strongest on The Epigenesis, and introduces an idea rarely expanded this much—or this well—in black metal:  a jam. There is a three-minute, unstructured, improvised solo which somehow works its way into this twelve-minute epic. Go figure.

Although Melechesh may not be living in Israel anymore, they still incorporate the spirit and sound of their homeland and ancestors—this is what makes them appealing. Well, that and their mesmerizing, captivating songs, which leaves audiences yearning for more. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another four years before their sixth album comes out.

Try 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 11

01. Ghouls of Nineveh
02. Grand Gathas of Baal Sin
03. Sacred Geometry
04. The Magickan and the Drones
05. Mystics of the Pillar
06. When Halos of Candles Collide
07. Defeating the Giants
08. Illumination – The Face of Shamash
09. Negative Theology
10. A Greater Chain of Being
11. The Epigenesis


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