Released: 2007, Osmose Productions
Both performing and thematically plumbing the intricacies and obscurities at stake in monstrous (pro)creation, EMISSARIES, interspersed with macabre, elegant riffing, shines light on the often under looked Seleucid juggernaut Melechesh. If you haven’t given them a fair listen yet, or were turned away by SPHYNX, EMISSARIES might be a suitable fresh tablet.
As the Ummu-Hubur of “Mesopotamian Metal” (blackened thrash with chanting and virtuosity), Melechesh eschews any premise of a self-conscious Babylonian historian, which poses problems for people who enjoy their lyrics niched with a heavy hand (see Jon Schaffer’s “history textbook lyrics”), since the barbed antediluvian testicles that constitute this narrative about annihilation, magic(k), and leprosy are fetishized in their own Assyrian homeworld and are not blunted with any kind of consolatory, overbearing omniscience. In this sense they are akin to Nile, Vidna Obmana (divine comedy), or Peter Green.
EMISSARIES opens with a neckwrecker called “Rebirth of the Nemesis.” The track is sub-titled “Enuma Elish Rewritten,” so for those of you not familiar with Ancient Babylonian Anthropology we’re dealing with a re-mix on the Sumerian creation myth. The track is reminiscent of Behemoth’s “Sculpting the Throne of Set” (the opening track of DEMIGOD) in that it’s crushing, abrasive, and artistically-redefining. “Redefining” in the sense that Melechesh has finally successfully incorporated middle-eastern musical patterns, within their brand of black thrash. Gone are the over-played contrived riffs heard on SPHYNX…Gone is the directionless Darkthrone worship…Gone the banal arrangements and crisp “who gives a shit?” production. Melechesh replace all this by channeling a real middle-eastern / traditionalist influence, and by providing new innovative riffs that, finally, give them their own unique and multi-dexterous voice.
“Ladders to Sumeria” follows suit proving that the construction of a Ziggurat can, in fact, be very metal. “Gyroscope” contains some quick guitar acrobatics that can only be the soundtrack for Enkidu’s sperm throwing onto the Gates of Ishtar. “Leper Jerusalem” thrashes, trashes, and gains momentum in an awe-inspiring vertiginous erotic conundra. Absurdity aside, throughout all this is Xul (replacing Proscriptor) who has rapidly become my new favorite precision drummer. He really adds a new dimension to this band…consistently mixing it up…and making everything feel, well, more grandiose than it already is.
The album, of course, has its acoustic dirge; and in the case of EMMISARIES we have “The Scribes of Kur,” a beautiful track chronicling the personification of the Sumerian home for the dead.
The funny thing is “Kur” is also a slang term for genitalia.
Recommended for all fans of extreme metal
…and for ancient history nerds.