|Review: Melechesh - The Epigenesis|
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2010
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: November 15, 2010
Reviewed by: MetalMike
The Epigenesis is my first full exposure to Israel's Melechesh, having only a cursory knowledge of their earlier works. While Black Metal covers the band's material in a broad sense, there are other musical styles and influences throughout the album. Slow, heavy Thrash riffs abound as do Middle Eastern and Asian instrumentation and melodies. The Epigenesis is crushingly heavy and beautifully melodic at the same time. The guitars are thick and fuzzy, creating an intentionally hypnotic sound that enhances the exotic feel of the album.
Singer/guitarist Ashmedi and the band clearly put a lot of thought and energy into all aspects of The Epigenesis (starting with the very cool cover art). The songs are structured to give both the metal and the non-metal sounds their full due. "Ghouls of Nineveh" (and awesome song title), with a slower, Thrash-oriented riff starts the album off in a non-traditional way for a Black Metal release. Typically, you would have your skull staved in with blast beats, but not so with The Epigenesis. That has to wait until you're done with your air guitar and "Grand Gathas of Baal Sin" runs you over like a runaway freight train. Blast beats mix with Indian sitars throughout the album in what may seem an odd synthesis, but Melechesh pulls it off seamlessly. Other instruments can be heard including piano, bells and even a brass mortar and pestle from Asmedi's childhood home that provides percussion.
The Epigenesis is an intense, energetic and challenging album that left my head spinning after each listen, but I could not wait to hit play again and go for another ride through the strange and exotic places Melechesh creates with their music. Some of the tracks in the middle of the album are not quite as engaging as those at the beginning and the end and the instrumentals, "When Halos of Candles Collide" (another wonderful title) and "A Greater Chain of Being," are overly long. These songs are almost entirely sitars, hand drums, and other non-metal instruments that, while I truly enjoyed them, broke up the flow of the album a bit more than was probably intended. Small complaints, to be sure, but noticeable.
Any fan of Heavy Metal owes it to themselves to check out The Epigenesis. Well written and well played, it offers something for everyone, namely quality Heavy Metal.
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Interview with vocalist and guitarist Ashmedi on August 2, 2015 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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