After many years of listening and loving music, you know the moment that you have heard something truly special. It has been a long 5 years since we last heard from these Mesopotamian metal (their own label not mine) masters hailing from Jerusalem. So expectations were suitably high, however what came roaring into my ears could have never been anticipated.
If Melechesh had not come from Jerusalem the band we have simply would not exist. Such is the influence on their writing and playing it has very much defined who they are. Much like Rotting Christ, Mayhem or Behemoth, their origins and environment has shaped their sound in each unique way. This far from putting people off should turn people on to them. Too many bands sound the same, write the same way and have the same production. Music fans should be striving for fresh sounding bands with their own unique twist on a genre.
From the moment the opening riff of Tempest Temper Enlil Enrage kicks in we are driving straight in to pure Black Metal unadulterated joy, its more an opening statement than an intro. When the main riff kicks in you can’t help but grin ear to ear like the cat that got the cream. The 5 years wait is immediately erased and Enki will now dictate your life for the next hour. And the fact that the album is an hour is pretty staggering it simply fly’s past and you will find yourself hitting the play button again and again (or simply leave it on repeat).
The one thing that really stands out for me since we last heard anything from Melechesh is the sheer scope on the song writing. No song highlights this better than the second track ‘The Pendulum Speaks’. With its fist pumping intro with the subtle vocals adding depth giving way to one of the most colossal pieces of music that will be hear all year. Its not one single thing that stands out, it’s a accumulation of all the parts, perfectly complimenting each other. I really find it hard to convey how amazing a piece music sounds, but I am (for once) truly lost for words. Save me the pain please and just listen to the song.
However ‘The Pendulum Speaks’ is not a rare moment on Enki. Hell no, every single song is a bona fide classic, a testament to a band in the form of their career. Melechesh have not abandoned their roots, far from it, they sound like have been embraced like never before. While it is a heavy album that has many brutal moments, Enki is an album swarming in knock out melody after knock melody (often within the same song). It is the melodies that dictate the album not the heaviness which is extremely rare, many bands flirt with the idea but rarely does a band execute this line of thinking with such conviction.
Despite the epic songs that are towering in scope and melody Enki still has its feet placed on the ground on extreme metals foundations. Most notably this is in the form of rather vicious vocals which would not be out of place on the harshest of black metal albums. Which leads me to the next point, Melechesh re-cycle the riffs on songs much like a Black Metal band. Each time the riff comes around again it has been altered, be it a new drum fill or blast beat, the riff performed in a different key or a slight variation of riff. This adds to each song sounding like more of a journey with the different layers slowly revealing themselves with each new listen.
Rarely does an album come along that blows the competition with such ease. Melechesh really have surpassed all expectations with Enki, even those who are massive fans of the band should be suitably surprised. It’s not even that Melechesh write generic music (far from it), it’s just that Enki is the sound of a band getting everything nailed. There is not a single moment you want to skip, not a single moment the album could do without, and nothing out stays it’s welcome. We may have had to wait 5 years for Enki but hell it certainly was worth it. This is a modern extreme metal masterpiece, have no doubt about that.
For fans of: Nile, Behemoth, Rotting Christ and Orphaned Land
Released through Nuclear Blast Records on 27th February