Top 5: Melechesh

The Epigenesis
Nuclear Blast
Street: 10.26

Melechesh, a Sumerian/Mesopotamian-themed black metal band that originated in Jerusalem in 1993 and relocated to the Netherlands in 1998, have always been a favorite artist of mine. The Epigenesis is Melechesh’s fifth full-length album, and easily their best. The record pushes hard on the boundaries of what black metal is, going well beyond the typical blast and scream fare. The songwriting is concise and every note, chord, vocal passage and harrowing chant feels purposeful and thought out. Listening to The Epigenesis provokes an otherworldly and old-world feeling, like this album was created long before Christianity was even a thought. It’s full of mystical musical behavior and lyrics that push a unique, ancient, lurking evil feeling throughout the record. “Grand Gathas Of Baal Sin” is a fantastic example of the brutality and the ability the record has to create imagery of mystical demons, sweeping winter and night-time freezing sand dunes. The album is full of raw yet pristine guitar work and drumming that provides a combination of blasting and sometimes noxiously trance-like beats. Everything is backed by a Middle Eastern Sumerian atmosphere that comes in a flurry of different instruments. “When Halos Of Candles Collide” is a magical and varied break from the chaotic and pounding metal rhythms The Epigenesis provides. The album is fully metal in its ability to get my blood pumping and heart pounding. It’s also just a full-on sound immersion experience that has the ability to take over every conscious thought you have and take you somewhere far from the normal confines of your life. –Bryer Wharton