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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews



Review by Mike Korn

Enki, also known as Ea, was a god worshipped by both the Sumerians and Babylonians. He was the god of water, intelligence and creation and the patron deity of the city of Eridu. In our modern day, no one is better equipped to tell his story than Melechesh, the reigning masters of Middle Eastern heavy metal.

Enki is the follow up to their previous epic, The Epigenesis, and demonstrates Melechesh has not lost a single step from that album. Their method of merging extreme heavy metal with the millennia-old sounds of the Middle East is flawless. You can thrash your brains out to Melechesh but also be transported back centuries in time, to the days when Enki ruled the world and our present gods were as yet undreamed.

Enki is a beautiful package, right down to the awesome cover art and clean but powerful production. Melechesh is one of those bands that you can count on for quality in the metal world.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
Tempest Temper Enlil Enraged

This smolders and burns slowly at first, preparing for the onslaught to come. When the thrash tempo hits, it strikes with the fury of a hundred angry demons! The riffing and guitar melodies are 100 percent Middle Eastern but delivered with metallic thunder. Ashmedi’s sinister vocals match the power of the music. This is one hell of a way to kick off an album!

The Pendulum Speaks

Not quite as blazing as the initial track, this is heavy in a more pounding and measured way. The Arabic influence on the riffing is very pronounced and oh so hypnotic. The actual guitar sound is like a buzzsaw, very Swedish death metal, but when you listen to Melechesh closely, there are always multiple layers and new melodies arise at each listening.

Lost Tribes

The anger is maintained with this very thrash based scorcher, which sounds like early Metallica/Megadeth with a thick veneer of the Middle East.  This tune also features vocals from Max Cavalera of Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy. At this point, Enki is a more compact and aggressive record than The Epigenesis.

Multiple Truths

I love the fuzzy phased guitar sound that kicks this off. The mid-paced Middle Eastern guitar riff that drives this is such a cool groove, headbanging is compulsory. I believe Sakis Tolis of Rotting Christ contributes some vocals here. This may just be my favorite tune of the whole disc.

Enki-Divine Nature Awoken

All of the songs on Enki are strongly influenced by Middle Eastern musical patterns, but this one really reeks of the majesty of the ancient world. It’s a slower, punishing tune with a ton of cool guitar fills and flourishes. Call it Middle Eastern, Mesopotamian, Sumerian, Arabic…this is just awesome stuff. Kudos, also go to the ultra-powerful double bass assault here. You can imagine armies of ancient Persian warriors going to war with this playing in the background. It ends in an extended jam with multiple guitar layers.

Metatron and Man

Another blistering thrash attack, this is pretty straightforward for Melechesh. The drumming is jaw-dropping here! This is one to just get your neck loose and start banging away!

The Palm, the Eye and Lapis Lazuli

There’s some welcome relief from the intensity with the mysterious, low-key beginning to this cut. It doesn’t take too long for the band to swing into another awesome mid-tempo “war march” riff with a Middle Eastern twang to it.  There is an almost progressive vibe here in the way the guitars are layered. Despite that, this is the shortest tune on offer.

Doorways to Irkala

Melechesh is also known to dabble in pure Middle Eastern music using traditional instruments and that’s what we have here. It’s quite long and might test the patience of those who want only heavy metal, but the slow building mystical tone here is enchanting. The percussion is absolutely authentic and on top of a simple acoustic guitar riff, we hear flute, mandolin and other Middle Eastern instruments. The song never goes “electric,” but it does pick up in intensity and speed. It shows another side to the talent of this excellent band.

The Outsiders
The band also ends their albums with an extended metal jam, and “The Outsiders” fits the bill this time around. This sounds like it could have been on The Epigenesis album. They ease off the thrash and instead ease into a killer Arabic groove. There are more backing vocals that add to the Middle Eastern flavor.  This band can either thrash your head off with wicked speed or create a hypnotic riff-fest like this. Just close your eyes and let yourself go as this one slithers along like a desert asp.
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