(The End/Osmose)

01. Rebirth of the Nemesis (Enuma Elish Rewritten)
02. Ladders to Sumeria
03. Deluge of Delusional Dreams:
Act I: Cast Tempest from the East
Act II: Enlil's Retaliation
04. Touching the Spheres of Sephiroth
05. Gyroscope
06. Double Helixed Sceptre
07. The Scribes of Kur
08. Leper Jerusalem
09. Sand Grain Universe
10. Emissaries and the Mysterium Magnum

RATING: 8.5/10

"What the heck is Mesopotamian Metal or Sumerian Thrashing Black Metal", you ask? The kind of metal that MELECHESH plays on "Emissaries", an album that you should purchase as soon as it is released in North America on January 23. The follow-up to 2003's phenomenal "Sphynx" is in no way a let-down and soars above the clouds at a similar altitude, miles above the typical fan's conception of black and thrash metal. Does it leave the same size crater in the earth as "Sphynx"? Probably not, but the consistency of quality is there. The lyrics continue to explore the Mesopotamian and Sumerian worlds, with plenty of attention paid to the occult (and don't even mention Egyptian themes; the band has never explored the region's cultures and mythology). Though ABSU's Proscriptor no longer occupies the drum stool, new member Xul ably provides the uniquely colorful rhythmic foundation to support the equally, if not more so, unique guitar styles.

Much like its predecessor, "Emissaries" feels like a monumental release. Each song is robustly thrashing and burnt around the edges, a quality (along with Ashmedi's vocals) firmly characteristic of the act's black metal core. It is the group's riffing style and the manner in which the delivery is explosive and mystical at once that sets MELECHESH apart from its thrash and black metal brethren. Just listen to the ferocity and catchy guitars of "Rebirth of the Nemesis (Enuma Elish Rewritten)", "Sand Grain Universe", and "Emissaries and the Mysterium Magnum", the latter two especially noteworthy for their ass-kicking thrashiness. "Deluge of Delusional Dreams" is a beast as well. The guitar tone is fierce and the sonic textures created simply brilliant, as are the song structures themselves. A song like "Ladders to Sumeria" is captivating as much for the aforementioned riffing as for the intensely gripping vocal patterns.

As expected, Near Eastern licks wend their way in and out of many of the tracks, while choral/chant vocals pop up periodically, the cumulative effect adding to the depth of the band's trademark style. The only wholly Eastern excursion comes by way of acoustic-based, Middle Eastern flavored instrumental "The Scribes of Kur". The band's treatment of THE TEA PARTY's "Gyroscope" is not only intriguing for the cover choice, but also for the manner in which the band dissects and reassembles the composition in its own image.

Perhaps the best thing about "Emissaries" is that its appeal will not be relegated to those with a strict allegiance to the intellectually stimulating or musically dynamic. Yes, this is intelligent and skillfully composed metal, but make no mistake about it; "Emissaries" is one bad-ass blackened thrash album. If that's all you desire from your metal, MELECHESH will deliver it just as viciously as those bands obsessed only with all things goat-ridden and inverted. That MELECHESH has chosen to make its journey a decidedly more adventurous one just makes the work that much more stimulating.


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