"The Epigenesis"

By Dr. Abner Mality

No one can accuse Melechesh of recording the same album twice. It sure would have been easy for the band to release "Emissaries Part 2" given the tremendous success of their previous album. "The Epigenesis" is nothing of the kind and in fact might even alienate some of the band's more conservative fans. So be it.

The record was recorded in Istanbul, Turkey and this has allowed even more of the spirit of the Middle East to permeate the music. Of course this has always been the Melechesh way, but on "The Epigenesis", the feeling is even more pronounced, as more ethnic instruments and Middle Eastern rhythms infiltrate the tunes. Also, the speed factor is not as prominent as on the raging "Emissaries". There is a stalking and brooding quality to many of the songs, like the opening "Ghouls of Nineveh" and "The Magickan and the Drones". The riffs are more repetitive and hypnotic, allowing the band to add all sorts of subtle touches to them. More than ever before, you need to listen carefully and soak up the mystical atmospheres. This type of songwriting reaches its climax on the 12 minute plus title track, which is basically a Mesopitamian metal jam allowing guitarists Ashmedi and Moloch free reign to explore. This is going to be a real polarizing track for fans.

The faster and more barbaric elements of Melechesh appear on the likes of "Negative Theology", "Defeating the Giants" and the superb "Grand Gathas of Baal Sin"...these show they haven't compromised their thrash/black metal roots. Magnificent Oriental riffs appear throughout the length of "The Epigenesis", with the exception of two purely acoustic and totally Middle Eastern instrumentals, both of which are longer and more involved than what we've heard from the guys in the past.

It's an album that demands more attention and contemplation, but it definitely stakes out its own territory and demonstrates once more that Melechesh is at the very top of ethnic-influenced metal.