Review Summary: Melechesh explore their influences but come up a bit short
If you liked Emissaries
, then there’s really no reason why you wouldn’t find something to like about Melechesh’s new album, The Epigenesis
. I mean, you’ve got that catchy, Middle Eastern-tinged black metal shi
t that you have always known and loved from the Israeli group again, and the band have even expanded their instrumental sections a bit more for some variety – though this raises a few issues:
“When Halos of Candles Collide” and “A Greater Chain of Being” are the instrumental pieces that really explore the influences of Melechesh’s sound, and while this is a welcome reprieve from guitarists Melechesh Ashmedi and Moloch’s continual onslaught of distorted, high fret riffs, these pieces seem to get The Epigenesis
off track in places, leaving the album feeling a bit serrated and divided. This was never a problem with 2006’s (one of the) black metal albums of the year, Emissaries
, or even Sphinx
for that matter, so it’s sad to see that the band often loses their focus on this album, just for the sake of variety.
You might guess, then, that Melechesh are at their best when they are firing away on all cylinders and giving us what we have come to expect from them on The Epigenesis
, and they are – for most of the first half of the album and some of the second half. Bald-headed vocalist Ashmedi is still a highpoint, with a barking shriek that remains easily understandable yet potent throughout the album’s length, and drummer Xul once again remains a driving force to Melechesh’s more frantic moments; on the more expansive Middle Eastern-tinged instrumentals, his kit playing coasts the band’s more ornate inclusions to the music even further along for an authentic Middle Eastern feel and sound.
What you will begin to pick up on with The Epigenesis
, however, is that it is too long for its own good, and that those moments that hint at the best parts of Emissaries
are underplayed and given a second role in the album’s equation. This is not so much a bad thing on paper, in a way, as Melechesh are clearly just trying to expand their sound in order to create a more varied album. But the problem arises in that, in places, the band loses track of what has made them so good and consistent to begin with. You could call Melechesh’s past blend of black metal relentless guitar riffs after relentless guitar riffs of Isreali carnage, but what you always had there was essentially accessible
, consistent black metal. On The Epigenesis
, Melechesh underplay this characteristic of their music in order to expand, but in the end they come up with an album that’s just not quite up to par with their stellar past releases.