Mesopotamian Hunger
CoC interviews Melechesh
by: Adrian Bromley
Melechesh vocalist/guitarist Melechesh Ashmedi has indeed been granted some fancy wishes in his career, none so greater than the collaboration that has ensued with his band's Osmose debut _Djinn_ [see review in this issue].

You see, people, Absu drummer Sir Proscriptor McGovern had been summoned to play on the new album, a collaboration that he was pleased to be a part of and something Ashmedi would be grateful for. The collaboration is a metal masterpiece that invites all to sample the musical diversity of what Ashmedi calls "Mesopotamian metal", as well as the enthusiasm flowing within the release.

So Chronicles of Chaos tracked down Ashmedi to find out how Melechesh managed to snag the talented drummer to play on their record, as well as find out just what the hell "Mesopotamian metal" is. The call goes out to Holland where Ashmedi currently resides and this is how it all went down...

"Mesopotamian metal is the style of music that we play. That is what I call it", starts Ashmedi when asked about the band's distinct sound, no doubt a homage to their Mediterranean homeland. "It is what we have always been about and something we have made an effort to create throughout the years as a band, even before our first record. This sound has become so natural of late for me. Whenever I grab the guitar, it just sounds like that. It has become very mechanical for me now when I play. It just happens."

"That is the only real thing that we are making a conscious effort to do with the music of Melechesh. We want it to have a real Mesopotamian metal sound. It is not really about paying tribute to our ancestors, but rather to just to create a sound that we can call our own and be proud of. We like what we do and I hope others embrace it too."

With _Djinn_, Melechesh has put a lot of time and effort into the making of the record. The band -- rounded out by guitarist Moloch and bassist Al'Hazred -- worked hard to fine tune their sound and deliver a record that would surpass any expectations. Ashmedi is excited about the whole deal.

"We actually accomplished quite a bit with this recording, especially seeing that we were in the studio for a very long time. It was about a month that we were in the studio, so we got a lot done. We have been preparing for this album for so many years that it was all there and ready to go. We just wanted to go in there and make Mesopotamian metal and just create music in an original way. We didn't want the guitar sound too highly pitched, but rather rough sounding. We wanted low end, fat guitar sounds. We also wanted the lyrics to be original like the music, so we sing about Mesopotamia, though not necessarily taking text from the mythology, but make the ideas come from my own mind and just write about the djinn. It is part of Mesopotamia's past, so we include it."

Sounds like a lot of hard work went into this album.

"Yeah," he responds. "We are very interested with what we create, but we are also very picky with what we do. We create ideas all the time, for example a really good riff, but if it just doesn't sound like the way that we want it to go along with the Mesopotamian metal sound, we throw it out. It takes a long time to make material because we are always changing things around, working on sounds and just trying to make it all sound right. We need to develop to get the sounds working well off one another."

And while Ashmedi is no doubt the ringleader for the band, his choice in welcoming drummer/percussionist Proscriptor into the fold was a great decision on his part. About working with Proscriptor and how it all came about, Ashmedi explains, "We really hold Absu in high regards, and vice versa. Proscriptor and I really "click" musically and ideologically."

He continues, "It has all worked out so well. We have been friends for a long time, way back since the first album [_As Jerusalem Burns... Al'Intisar_ on Pulverizer Records]. We used to talk all the time and he'd call me when I lived in Jerusalem. We'd exchange ideas and things, as well as talk about the occult."

"I approached him somewhat indirectly about joining the band because at the time we were looking for a drummer and he knew a few here in Europe. We tried out a couple of drummers, but it didn't work. We were getting ready to record an album for Dies Irae that didn't really work out, but I suggested that he come and work with us. He e-mailed me back and said he'd love to come and play with us. I had said that he should join us to get him to say yes and join us, but not really thinking that he would say he'd want to really join us."

"He liked what he had heard with the demo of that recording and he learned it all. We then went on to record three new songs in Holland with a drum machine and then sent them to him so he could see what we wanted. We had Proscriptor-ized it and put in all of these fills so it would be up to what he could do as a drummer. We met three days before the recording for the first time. We rehearsed the songs for twelve hours a day for three or four days and then went in to record the album. It all turned out great."

"When I play back this record I am always trying to hear parts and see what I could have done differently. I should be enjoying this all and tripping out on what I have created, but instead I am too busy finding ways to make our music better."

So I guess having Proscriptor as an official member only makes the future look better for Melechesh?

"Yes. Proscriptor has a lot to give to every project. He just can't sit still. He just always needs to do something musically."

He ends, "Melechesh is one of his projects that he takes very seriously. I believe his input will be much greater for the next Melechesh album."

(article submitted 12/8/2001)

2/4/2007 J Smit Melechesh: Frayed Ends of Sanity
8/10/2003 A McKay Melechesh: Just to Hear What He Sphynx
11/15/2006 J Montague 8.5 Melechesh - Emissaries
8/31/2003 M Noll 8.5 Melechesh - Sphynx
8/12/2001 A Bromley 8 Melechesh - Djinn
7/14/1997 S Hoeltzel 8 Melechesh - As Jerusalem Burns... Al'Intisar
3/28/2011 J Carbon Rotting Christ / Melechesh / Abigail Williams / Lecherous Nocturne / The Ziggurat The Gates of Sumeria
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