Label: Nuclear Blast
Melechesh are surely one of the most distinctive bands in black metal. Their black-thrash sound is full of personality as it is – with the band only really having Absu as an even remotely accurate point of comparison – and the addition of native Middle Eastern folk music adds a whole new dimension to their sound. It’s a complex, unique mix of styles, and it surely can’t be easy to combine the two, but the band don’t have a bad record in their discography, with The Epigenesis being, for me, the pick of the bunch.
It is a long album – 72 minutes is a lot of black-thrash and Middle Eastern melody for a single sitting – but it’s also quite a varied one. The Epigenesis is an album that has a real sense of exploration and discovery about it, that in the hands of others could risk feeling voyeuristic; yet the origins of the band (originally forming in Jerusalem) give it an authenticity that cannot be faked. Songs such as ‘Grand Gathas of Baal Sin’ and ‘Defeating The Giants’ are excellent black-thrash ragers, whilst the inclusion of instrumental tracks helps give the album a much-needed sense of space. The only mis-step is how long the closing title track is, but even then, Melechesh cannot be faulted for their ambition.