Melechesh - Enki 01I am absolutely aware that many of you readers have been waiting with overflowing anticipation for a review of Melechesh‘s sixth opus, Enki. And who can blame you? 2010’s The Epigenesis was a solid, heavy, and above all enjoyable slab of Sumerian blackened thrash goodness that not only impressed The Big Boss himself, but also got yours truly to go searching through their back catalog to investigate their music further, discovering a treasure trove of incredible music from these Israeli wizards. So when Angry Metal Guy himself handed Enki off to me last week for review, I was frothing at the bit to deliver the goods to you. So what sonic magick have Ashmedi and cohorts delivered this fine eve for the readers of All Guys (and Madams) Metal and Angry?

When “Tempest Temper Enlil Enraged” truly kicks in at the :47 mark, you’re thrown into a sandstorm of brutality and melodic riffery. Ashmedi and fellow guitarist Moloch just shred and flail you alive with melody after crazed melody, with Lord Curse blasting his way like his very life depends on it. As the song progresses, it slows down just enough to keep from completely going off the rails but still keeps the intensity intact. Make no mistakes, you will windmill the ever-loving hell out of your neck and head to this, I promise you.

And while the first couple of tracks are just solid, perfect slabs of blackened thrash, you get some rather unpleasant sand kicked in your face once “Lost Tribes” plays, and this nagging problem is what keeps me from loving Enki more. Featuring one hell of a vocal duet with Max Cavalera (Soulfly), it’s a heavy, unforgiving scorcher of a track. Max hasn’t sounded this pissed off in ages, and Ashmedi plays off him very well, and when the duo hits their screams at 3:54, it’s such a perfect capstone to a great tune… but it continues on for another two minutes, and those two minutes aren’t nearly as captivating or intense as the previous almost-four. And it’s such a persistent problem throughout the majority of Enki: when a song has met its nadir and satisfied all hunger, it keeps feeding you with unnecessary calories. “Enki Divine Nature Awoken” features another duet, this time with Rotting Christ‘s Sakis Tolis, and would have been better shaved down to half its nearly-nine-minute runtime. The acoustic instrumental “Doorways to Irkala,” although incredibly peaceful, could have been left off the album entirely with no ill repercussions. The 12-plus-minute finale, “The Outsiders,” while picking things up a hair, still goes on for too long.

Melechesh - Enki 02

Another beef I have with the album is how squashed it is sonically. While George Bokos (ex-Rotting Christ) did a good job in capturing the richness of the guitars and the pummeling of Lord Curse’s drumming, Jonas Kjellgren’s mix compressed things way too much, with bassist Scorpios taking a major hit. This wouldn’t be too big a deal if their sound wasn’t so heavily based on their tuning their instruments to 432 MHz instead of the standard A440, which is perceived to leave deeper sonic vibrations within your psyche and make the listener more attuned with the universe. Of course, when you brickwall the music so much that Nergal is shaking his head at you, it becomes moot, and it’s such a bummer as there’s a ton of rich instrumentation to be had. Also, some edits have to be made. There’s about 40 minutes worth of captivating material on here, and this is an hour-and-two-minute long album. There’s obviously need for restraint there.

So while I’m happy that our Sumerian emissaries have returned from a five-year absence, I just wish Enki was condensed a bit more. There’s no denying that Melechesh deliver the goods quite well, but there’s also no denying that you can say a lot more with a bit less. It’s good, but it could have been a whole lot better.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: v0 mp3
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Dates: EU: 2015.02.27 | NA: 03.10.2015

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  • While I agree with the issue of the insane brick walling, I feel that I don’t mind the lenght that much. But then again, I’m used to love 10 min. plus slabs of metallic goodness. I can see why it will not be everybody’s deal, but the sheer intensity alone makes me feel this baby will get a very nice spot on year’s end.

  • Umulamahri

    Yeah, it’s a good album but nothing special. I’m enjoying it, but, as said in the review, sometimes the tracks go on for too long!

  • Platon

    I don’t mind the length at all (i mean, the epigenesis was just as long, wasn’t it?) The closer is a fucking epic!

    • Grymm

      The quality was just a little bit higher on The Epigenesis for me, and most of the problem here isn’t just simply relegated to “The Outsiders” alone (and I do like that song).

  • Monsterth Goatom

    A lot of power and great riffing here. But, it’s LOUD, and, indeed, it’s hard to pick out the Bass. I wonder how Scorpios feels about being such an absent presence on this album. I wouldn’t be too happy.

    Still, I love the funky vibe in songs like Multiple Truths. And does anyone else feel that the vocalist (Ashmedi) sounds somewhat like Skeletonwitch’s Chance Garnette?

    • Grymm

      Now that you mention it, he DOES!

    • Scorpios Androctonus

      I am ok with the bass sound, it does it’s job, I don’t need to show off, and it is a busy mix, with all things considered. If you can’t hear the bass, you haven’t listened to the whole album, got confused by the fretless bass or just don’t know what a bass sounds like when it is not solo. The strange thing, is a lot of people can hear the bass but I read this…. maybe you are listening to it through mp3/youtube/shitty stereo. I don’t feel like me presence is absent, it’s a collective effort. whoever says it is brickwalled with compression, I don’t get that either, maybe they know how to master better than Jonas Kjellgren… or maybe they just like demo material. Whatever floats your boat, reviews are a simple opinion of a simple individual.
      Just to sum things up, I don’t really care if a review is good, bad or mediocre. I am quite used to doing music that most people simply don’t understand, and there is a reason behind it. If you need a review to tell you what is good, it’s a pathetic thing. Just listen and be your own judge.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Hey Scorpios, thanks for the feedback. Yea, I was listening to a stream on Rdio. I always give albums a trial run to see if they click with me before purchasing, even though I’ve come to trust the calibre of reviews here at AMG.

        I’m not a musician, though I did take bass guitar lessons for a while, despite my obvious lack of talent. So likely there are things I’m missing.

        I don’t agree with everything you’ve said, but I’m all behind your artistic vision, because I love what you guys do and look forward to future releases. Epigenesis was the first album of yours I heard, and it was one of those times when I had to just stop whatever I was doing and sit down to concentrate entirely on the music.

  • De2013

    “Of course, when you brickwall the music so much that Nergal is shaking his head at you,”

    Very nice!

  • beurbs

    As a classical musician that has played stringed instruments tuned to 432hz forever, I can say that there is barely any difference and ZERO evidence to support an effect of that tuning on the “psyche”

    • Jean-Luc Ricard

      Is that a standard where you play or out of personal choice? In the UK it’s usually 440 Hz but in Germany I think it’s 444 Hz.

      • beurbs

        it’s common to play in lower tunings everywhere when doing music of the Classical period or earlier (about 1820 or earlier )

        • Jean-Luc Ricard

          Hmm, I’ve heard of tuning down for Baroque and earlier but not so much for classical. But I see there is a wiki article on pitch standards that I should go and read :D

    • Grymm

      Having heard two identical riffs played in both tunings on guitar, I can agree that there’s no difference.

      I was just going by their press release.

  • Guys, I was going to review this but I have been swamped at work. I would like to say that the vinyl edition has a less limited master and is absolutely the way to go if you plan to buy it (that’s straight from the band). Grymm…totally agree on the score (mine was a 3 as well…it’s just too long and combine that with DR4…ouch).

    • Grymm

      I would probably enjoy the vinyl mix more, and if the album was tightened up some, this would have scored higher, as I enjoy the hell out of Melechesh.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Off topic is there a Steven Wilson review coming out?

    • Matus Dust

      More off-topic, but how about Enslaved?

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Probably less off topic :)
        But good question!

        • André Snyde Lopes

          > inb4 AMG whines about your whining.

  • Wilhelm

    You go through all the trouble of writing an album, recording it, and mixing it then you fuck up the entire process by heavy compression…sad.

  • RuySan

    I had this cd the other day on my hand, and i was about to buy it just because of the brilliant (literally) cover.

    But then i remember that i have Sphynx somewhere and i never gave it much spins. I remember having the same problem as this album: an interesting and enjoying sound, but the songs drag on a bit

  • manimal

    432Hz I don’t get…

    442Hz, now THAT would be metal. That means 17Hz is a few octaves down…

    …and you all know what 17Hz mean, kids?

    Some believe, the alleged, lesser spotted and oft-argued-about brown note, aye.

    I’m thinking of all the micro-genre possibilities here…

    Second-wave Norwegian Brown metal.


    Brown sludge.

    Nu-brown. (could double as breakfast cereal with extra dietary fibre.)

    The possibilities are ENDLESS!

    • beurbs

      there is no brown note

      • manimal

        Agreed. Just like 432Hz is horse manure masquerading as unicorn poop.

        • beurbs

          I guess gimmicks are more necessary now since modern metal all sounds like a violent shit in an aluminum bathroom stall

      • sir_c

        there’s only the famous painter with the brown finger

  • This is one of the shortest reviews I’ve read here in a while. Take out the intro and conclusion paragraphs, and you have a mere 465 words of actual review… Salieri would be impressed! :)

  • André Snyde Lopes

    This album surprised me a lot (in a positive way). It’s the first Melechesh album I listened to and the surprise mostly comes from that but I am quite enthralled by what I hear, The only problems (to me) are the length and the mastering, which is quite atrocious.

    I must look through their back catalogue.

  • AndySynn

    It always saddens me to find my own opinions and those of the Angry Metal Team in conflict. It’s like one of those inevitable “superhero vs superhero” fights that will either end in a classic team-up, or a tragic death…

    Still, I thought this was quite possibly Melechesh’s best album, with some of their best riffs and drumwork (Lord Curse does a fantastic job imo), and never thought the songs went on too long at all (unlike a certain other band who recently released a new album… KoK… I’m looking at you).

    Even the mastering didn’t bother me!

    • Eztoknoel

      And your the guy I always agree with (here again). Though, everyone always needs that voice in the back of their head growling: “music is totally subjective brah. Except if it’s on MTV, that shit should burn.”

  • Colin Stuart

    Couldn’t wipe the smile off my face after 0:45 of the first track. Really dig this album, production issues aside.

  • Doomdeathrosh

    The embed song is as badass as that band pic! But the brickwalling is near irritating at times…could have toned that down a bit.

  • Vice-President of Hell

    Every Melechesh album was an hour long, sometimes more