Melechesh – Enki

Sumerian thrashing black metal
Released 27th February 2015
Via Nuclear Blast records

Melechesh - Enki

I may be a little slow to the party in writing up Melechesh’s sixth album Enki, which is slightly odd as I’ve already listened to it enough times since its release to batter this article together with my eyes shut. I’ve always loved the concept of this band; their story, their musical approach, and I have a slight fascination with the mythology from which they draw much of their inspiration. Be warned, this might be a slightly pre-decided outcome.

Although they term themselves as ‘Sumerian thrashing black metal’, there is a significant debate to be had as to whether they are actually equally death metal in approach. True, the Middle Eastern scale and key choices which seep organically into their sound lend an eerie, occult edge, but that does not preclude itself from DM. In the earliest of their works this is far less obvious, but it has always been there, nestling in behind elements of Assyrian folk music, and growing in prevalence over the years.

That said, this is, in song-writing terms at least, the same Melechesh who created Emissaries and The Epigenesis, but with a more titanic production. Despite black metal’s tendencies towards lower quality, or grittier, audio engineering, it really does it no end of favours when the sound quality is this high, especially in regard to the semi-indefinable heaviness of a band. The impact of every note, every scream, and every blast beat ring out, clear as a battle cry, swamping the listener in atmosphere.

Usually, I prefer to throw in a mountain of comparisons to other bands when reviewing, but that’s a little more difficult with Melechesch, as they more or less spawned an entire new genre unto themselves. However, there is a certain essence of the epic embodied on Enki, which extreme metal fans more familiar with bigger names may feel reminds them, ever so slightly, of early Strapping Young Lad. The most obvious similarity would be to Swedes, Marduk, but it seems that, at present, Melechesh are triumphantly stepping out into a league all of their own.

If you haven’t heard this yet, add it to your ‘to do’ list; there is practically no chance of disappointment. A beautifully crafted slab of brutal gold.


by Paul Macmillan

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