10th March 2015 – Nuclear Blast Records
01. Tempest Temper Enlil Enraged
02. The Pendulum Speaks
03. Lost Tribes
04. Multiple Truths
05. Enki – Divine Nature Awoken
06. Metatron and Man
07. The Palm, the Eye and Lapis Lazuli
08. Doorways to Irkala
09. The Outsiders
Imagine standing at the mouth of an ancient temple in the desert. The hot winds grind the sand against your bare back. You see a pair of demonic eyes in the darkness of the temple and suddenly, a blaze of sorcery has taken you back – back in time to when the Sumerian empire was at its zenith. And there is war – but not war as you know it. Humans, demons, and gods all clash, soaking the sands with blood and pestilent sorcery. The shriek of the dying, and the howls of the inhuman echo through the dunes. You stumble into the temple out of the horrifying battle only to find yourself in the arms of dark priests; magic-users who would take your life and blood to summon more fell creatures. As their knife flashes to sever your soul, the temple is rocked by an explosion, and you find yourself returned to the present, unharmed in flesh, but never to forget the sights you saw.
That is what listening to Enki, the new album by Israeli quartet Melechesh, is like. Fusing ferocious riffs with Sumerian and Mesopotamian mythology and musical influences, they’ve been invoking the fiery call of the desert for half a dozen albums now. Enki is their sixth – a follow up to the critically successful The Epigenesis - and offers up a raft of heavyweight tracks;
Frontman Ashemdi’s vocals are wrought with fire and chaos magick, and come roaring through the slew of riffs like a sandstorm over the dunes. This is contrasted with on tracks like “Enki Divine Nature Awoken”, on which the use of guttural vocals, layered with clean vocals over top, is mesmerizing.
An intriguing standout is 8 minute acoustic exploration “Doorways to Irkala”. It’s perhaps comparable to Nile guitarist Karl Sanders’ solo project, which also uses acoustic instrumentation and Egyptian themes and scales, but Melechesh’s effort feels more authentic.
Songs like the sprawling, twelve-minute meaty headbang-fest “The Outsiders” progress in a very forward thinking manner, going through multiple ideas and resisting formula. That being said, some are a little same-y. There are standouts, but “Lost Tribes” and “Multiple Truths” in particular are by-the-numbers Melechesh, and are not especially memorable.
The biggest issue with the Enki is the mixing, however. The guitars and vocals are fantastic – the production brings them to life – but the bass and a lot of the other low end is missing. For a band that writes the way Melechesh do, this is a big issue; these vital components are what made The Epigenesis such a masterpiece. What’s more, the blastbeats sometimes meld together, obscuring the rest of the music. Whilst a sparsely-used technique, it’s hard to ignore.
Enki is pretty much the prototypical Melechesh album. The riffs are as headbangable as they have ever been, Ashmedi’s vocals are just as demonic as always, and it captures the essence of the lyrical themes of Sumerian mythology well, but the mixing issues are a problem, and one you hope they will be rectify next time around. Overall, a solid release from a force in the metal scene.
Best songs: “Tempest Temper Enlil Enraged” “The Pendulum Speaks” “Enki Divine Nature Awoken”