Whether it’s Mozart with the Roman Catholic church and Masonry, or Robert Johnson selling his soul down at the Crossroads – religion has always been at the root of music, and when you take the rebellious nature of punk and rock; the melancholy of blues; and the drama of classical and add Tipper Gore with the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) into the mix – heavy metal has a wealth of material from which to draw from to endlessly refuel their rebellious nature and cause controversy.

When it comes to controversy in metal – one can’t look far in the history books before black metal and stories of Mayhem co-founder Euronymous, church burnings, and murder come to mind, but like most musical genres even black metal has found itself changing over time ( this itself is it’s own meta-controversy among “_true KLVT fans_” ) such that you can now find bands such as Borknagar singing about science and nature, even Christianity has managed to claim it’s own branch of controversial unblack metal to share their message – but it’s bands like Melechesh from Jerusalem who have found themselves a sweet spot with a unique take on “religion in music” – sumerian history and mesopotamian lore.

I managed to catch up with mastermind and frontman Ashmedi about religion in black metal, website trolls demanding “true KLVT metal” and the release of Enki, the bands 6th full length release:

I don’t know who has the authority to speak on what should, or shouldn’t be. I don’t like comparative thinking, because it leads to stagnation. Also, I’m not that interested in indoctrination – be it the church or be it the child behind the computer. It’s the same – but other side of the coin, I’m not that interested in suburban people sitting behind a privileged house talking what should, or should not be. I say – make your music and prove your point. Aside from that unfortunately a lot of people who talk like that, are not capable of creating credible music, or good quality music.”

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Over the course of 5 albums Melechesh are a band constantly growing and finding their comfort zone – each release bringing more and more depth and flow in the structure of the music, but whereas previously such changes were subtle – Enki finds the band with a marked shift in almost all aspects of their sound, yet somehow remaining consistently Melechesh.

No, they’ve not gone and become rapcore or filled the album with drop tuning djent – but there’s a marked increase of riffage and groove working along side old school thrash and full on black metal that flows so smoothly you can’t help but begin to drool.

I’d like to call out some of the more stand out tracks, but I have to say that pretty much covers all 9 tracks! Everything presented on Enki stands out for their own reasons tho: from “Lost Tribes” featuring Max Cavalera ( Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy, ex-Sepultura ) dropping in and out of blistering black metal to deep thrashing grooves to “Multiple Truths” being a mid-tempo all out groovy thrash tune, through to the hauntingly beautiful instrumental “Doorways to Irkala” that transports the listener to the back streets of ancient Jerusalem…

Enki is comprised of 8 songs and the aforementioned instrumental, and whilst the album is packed full of intense blackened thrash, there is ample space to move and breath as the songs ebb and flow.

It’s not yet March yet and already I’m willing to place Enki in my top 5 list for the year – quite possible for the final two tracks alone. This is one album you should not be overlooking this year.

Melechesh unleash Enki, the follow-up to 2010’s The Epigenesis on February 27th (EU), March 2nd (UK) and 10th (US).

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