Melechesh - _As Jerusalem Burns... Al'Intisar_
(Breath of Night/Pulverizer, 1996)
by: Henry Akeley (8 out of 10)
Further complicating the tumultuous world of black metal geopolitics are Melechesh, who hail from Israel and proclaim themselves "the pioneers of Assyrian Mesopotamian black metal." Ave... Hoo hah.... Anyway, some of the music offered here is quite cool. Much of the time, the band sounds a -lot- like Marduk did on _Opus Nocturne_: crisp, straight-ahead, and fast as hell black metal with sharp and well-phrased vocals, and without keyboard embellishment. Yet unlike Marduk, Melechesh employ a broader range of tempos, along with a generous (but not excessive) incorporation of well-played Middle-Eastern flavored riffs, lead guitar lines, and percussion. This gives them a little bit of early-Satyricon zing, but the Eastern feel is more pronounced in Melechesh's music - while the frosty atmosphere of "Northern"-style black metal is diminished. (You could do some pretty sensuous hip-shakin' to "Dance of the Black Genii" if you felt like it.) But as I say, there's some cool stuff here. "Planetary Rites" is highly great: mid-paced, yet sharp, hard-edged, and full of ache, with a great Mesopotamian interlude (or maybe its Assyrian; I don't know.) "Devil Night" also deserves mention for its well-captured eighties hell-thrash feel. "Sultan of Mischief" blasts along quite powerfully, as does the more monumental "Assyrian Spirit". And the list of interesting and varied moments could continue. This isn't anything earth-shaking, really - but provided that you enjoy energetic black metal, can live without keyboards, and find yourself intrigued by the Middle Eastern flair, you'll probably find it to be worth seeking out.

(article published 14/7/1997)

2/4/2007 J Smit Melechesh: Frayed Ends of Sanity
8/10/2003 A McKay Melechesh: Just to Hear What He Sphynx
8/12/2001 A Bromley Melechesh: Mesopotamian Hunger
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
3/28/2011 J Carbon Rotting Christ / Melechesh / Abigail Williams / Lecherous Nocturne / The Ziggurat The Gates of Sumeria
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