With "The Epigenesis" Melechesh have produced a near-masterpiece. The fifth release from the Israeli quartet, this album is enchanting and well rounded, combining old school and modern black metal influences with subtle Middle Eastern folk melodies and beats. Few current extreme metal bands on labels as prominent as Nuclear Blast are displaying the level of innovation that Melechesh put forth here.
"The Epigenesis" kicks off with "Ghouls of Nineveh," a searing track with a rhythm that persists more or less throughout the entire song. Melechesh's folk influences don't always jump out at you as with many folk-influenced bands; rather, they penetrate songs such as "Ghouls" via drummer Xul's unique playing style, which features intricate mid-paced Middle Eastern-inspired drum patterns. Additionally, a short guitar solo midway through "Ghouls" has an exceptional folkish ring to it.
Although there is no weak track on the album, unless you are not a fan of acoustic interludes, "Grand Gathas of Baal Sin" and "Mystics of the Pillar" stand out along with "Ghouls" as the album's strongest. "Grand Gathas," in particular, showcases mainman Melechesh Ashmedi's strengths as a songwriter; most bands are not capable of combining a catchy chorus with an unmistakable "hook" with complex, layered riffing and Middle Eastern chants.
Fans of extreme metal: pick this up. No excuses.
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