By Dr. Abner Mality

Melechesh is simply the best Middle Eastern themed metal band there has ever been. Or likely ever will be. They just keep getting better and better, as hard as that sometimes is to believe. With "Enki", they deliver another masterpiece of thrashing Mesopatamian metal madness.

Their previous record "The Epigenesis" was itself a monster, but "Enki" matches it. First, check the packaging...I doubt if there will be a more detailed or beautiful  cover this is really something to see. As for the music within, it begins in more of a straighforward fashion with "Tempest Temper Enlil Enraged". After a powerful Middle Eastern buildup, this track explodes into wild thrashing like a firestorm blowing across the desert...devastating. This and the other three opening tunes..."The Pendulum Speaks", "Lost Tribes" and "Multiple Truths"...all have a lot of intensity and the quality of those Arabic/Persian riffs is amazing. The songs sound authentically Middle Eastern, not forced at all. And vocalist Ashmedi has never sounded more harsh.

With "Enki-Divine Nature Awoken", Melechesh's more thoughtful side arises. The song is a long but heavy jam, with grooving, rippling riffs and a very "jammy" feel with layers of guitar soloing and Middle Eastern percussion. "Metatron and Man" follows with the most straightforward metallic powerjam yet...a back to the roots type of song. "The Palm, The Eye and Lapis Lazuli" mixes speed and tempos while being very moody. Then follows the subdued, mysterious and entirely authentic "Doorways to Irkala", a long traack featuring traditional instruments, steadily building percussion and a feeling like it could have been played during a caravan journey a thousand years ago. It may wear out the less discriminating metalheads, but serves as a necessary break before the album ends with the 12 minute mid-paced epic "The Outsiders", which is much in the vein of the title track from "The Epigenesis". You can lose yourself in the twisting guitar themes and fills's almost a meditative thing. The track picks up speed to thrash pace before ending in a mighty climax and a brief acoustic cooldown.

The sound is impeccable unless you like everything to sound like it was recorded in an outhouse. Nobody understands how to merge metal and Mesopotamia like Melechesh. They are untouchable in this regard and "Enki" is indisputable proof.