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Album Reviews : Melechesh – Emissaries

By on August 31, 2009

melechesh_emissaries_coverThe city is Jerusalem – widely acknowledged as a neglected city, riddled with religious and political anxiety. However it is not this intense society suitable to heavy metal inspiration that leading Israeli band Melechesh draw their identity or influence, but rather from the ancient Sumarian civilisation of the area from the 6th to the 2nd millennia BC. And with this so called Middle Eastern folk sound fused with new age black metal, Melechesh treat your ears to something different and interesting.

On listening to the band’s 2006 album Emissaries, the first thing you’ll probably notice -even before the blackened folk melodies kick in – is the extremely clean and precise production. And while the most ardent black metal fan will likely be put off the band on this fact alone, it is this clarity that makes the album very listenable, and when you throw in the fact that technical riffage and passionate delivery is generally at the front of the band’s mind, the album is also very enjoyable.

Split in half by the (slightly too long) Middle Eastern inspired instrumental The Scribes of Kur, the album as a whole generally sticks to the same formula – punishing blackened death metal with plenty of ferocity and alluring melody. At stages through the album this ‘same old’ style tends to become annoying, might lend some listeners to the tedious side of opinion. The simple yet extremely fast guitars on the introduction to Deluge of Delusional Dreams provides the highlight of the album, with each instrument adding layers to the music and ultimately creating a top class song.

To put some context to things, when the band breaks from technicality, they become quite ‘Satyriconesque‘, although their normal riffs are slightly more interesting than those of the Norwegian glamour. However, the folk additions and general ‘epicness’ of some tracks are noteworthy; with Emissaries and the Mysterium Magnum the pick of the bunch in a Nile meets Forefather type way. The cover of The Tea Party’s song Gyroscope is also a great effort!

Ultimately, Melechesh offer something from the edge of the genres square that listeners looking for variety will more than likely appreciate. If you’re somewhat adventurous, give it a shot. 7.5/10

Band: Melechesh
Album: Emissaries
Year: 2006
Genre: Black Metal
Origin: Jerusalem, Israel
Label: Osmose Productions
Australian Distribution: Red Eye Records

Track listing:
1. Rebirth of the Nemesis
2. Ladders to Sumeria
3. Deluge of Delusional Dreams
4. Touching the Spheres of Sephiroth
5. Gyroscope
6. Double Helixed Sceptre
7. The Scribes of Kur
8. Leper Jerusalem
9. Sand Grain Universe
10. Emissaries and the Mysterium Magnum (Reviewers Choice)
11. Extemporized Ophtalmic Release


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.