Melechesh - Emissaries
(Osmose) Keith Boyd 02.24.07
Well well folks, here we go! Heavy Metal music comes in a wide variety of flavors and styles. You've got Old School, Power Metal, Death Metal, Black Metal, Hair Metal, and on and on and on. Well, with the release of a few records over the course of the past 5 years or so, the guys in Melechesh have created a new genre, "Mesopotamian Metal". How could that be you ask? How is it possible to take that ancient Iraqi culture and in some meaningful way graft something of it onto a Heavy Metal group? Well they do it here through a number of ways and I'm here to tell you, it KILLS!!!
The group is composed of several member of Middle Eastern descent who first came together in Israel . For various reasons (being accused of "cultic practices" one of them) they decamped to Amsterdam where they continue to be based today. They've released a few CD's before this and with each one they tighten their attack and become all the more dense and furious sounding. Their last CD, "Sphynx" was masterful thrash classic with lightning fast tempos and enough crunchy distortion to put early Metallica to shame. The extra "something" that makes Melechesh so interesting is their conjuring of all things ancient and Middle Eastern. The only precedence I can think of is American Metal band Nile and their obsession with Egypt . Nile is in fact a good comparison. There is the same technical perfection, the same brutal punch of the sound and the same attention to detail. Both groups go to great lengths to translate original texts from the source language and both groups recast ancient myths into their own death-grunt epics. Melechesh even go so far as to provide computer extras on their discs that show how they analyzed Mesopotamian and Middle Eastern music to incorporate it with their own sound. This is dedication people. Strange dedication granted, but dedication nonetheless. Along with all of the glorious head-banging overload we are treated to the slow and super-ethnic interlude, "The Scribes of Kur". It's this contrast and the overall beauty that really takes possession of your ears and makes for such a good listen.
I'm glad we live in a time when even the weirdest and most unlikely musical mash-ups can be released and find an audience. How great is it that we can bend and mold music to our own visionary impulses? Life would be dull indeed if all we had was 4/4 time and songs about love and cars. I salute the guys in Melechesh for their audacious and beautifully realized dream. This is Metal that can truly, "Rock the Casbah"!