Melechesh return with a vengeance with Enki, their sixth full-length studio album
Melechesh return with a vengeance with Enki, their sixth full-length studio album and follow-up to 2010’s The Epigenesis. Lead by frontman Ashmedi, Melechesh weaves a sonic tapestry that effortlessly blends Middle Eastern melodic elements with contemporary black metal riffs, blast beats, and serpentine vocals that hiss tales of the ancient Mesopotamian/Sumerian gods and myths of the desert lands, creating a sound that is unique and compelling without being trite or cliché. Opening with the fury of “Tempest Temper Enlil Enraged,” Enki launches into a full assault on the listener with a break-neck tempo before settling into its perpetual double-kick groove.
The album features a few guest appearances. Legendary Soulfly frontman, Max Cavalera provides a powerful vocal performance on the aptly named “Lost Tribes,” mixing well with Ashmedi‘s vocal style to create an incredibly heavy and angry combination. The second guest spot is highlighted on the track “Enki Divine Nature Awoken,” and features Rotting Christ‘s Sakis Tolis exchanging vocal duties with Ashmedi. The track has a much slower pace, and could have delivered the same punch with half of its almost nine-minute runtime, yet still remains heavy as fuck. Several tracks on Enki are arguably more accessible to black metal newcomers, such as “Multiple Truths” and the catchy groove of “The Palm, The Eye and Lapis Lazuli,” which features guitar leads by Volbeat guitarist Rob Caggiano.
Those looking only for headbanging brutality might overlook the eight minute instrumental, “Doorways to Irkala,” as it disrupts the flow of the previous scorching tracks with its somber melody and subtle Middle Eastern percussion and ethnic instrumentation. However, those who listen closer may find this a dusky jewel that mesmerizes the listener with its hypnotic rhythm. The song is dedicated to the memory of Ewa Przybylska-Kmiołek, wife of Polish heavy metal music producer, promoter, and founder of Carrion Records and Carnage Records, Mariusz Kmiołek. Enki‘s finale, “The Outsiders,” is an epic trek lasting nearly 13 minutes, and while it picks up the pace once again after the previous instrumental piece, it could have been equally effective at a much shorter duration. Overall, Enki is a strong and triumphant return for Ashmedi and Melechesh, an album filled with complex, intricate music destined to resonate with fans both old and new.