I had no idea that Melechesh even existed until a few days ago. I came across various tracks from this album on Youtube. I was very quickly hooked.
I've always been interested in bands that feature local cultural influences, be it Nordic, middle eastern, European, far eastern or whatever. In this day & age of somewhat formulaic and entirely boring "nu-metal", bands such as Melechesh offer a breath of fresh air. Emissaries is a work of pure genius. The band members are very obviously incredibly talented musicians. Though the music bears little similarity, I'm talking about musicians on a comparable skill level to the best that Iron Maiden, Turisas & Slayer can offer. Technical perfection is married with thematic intricacies that offer a genuinely unique listening experience.
Most Melechesh songs are crushingly heavy and yet are easy on the ear in a way that most "extreme" metal certainly isn't. The production is exemplary as is the quality of the song writing. I should point out that the vocals are far more incidental to the music than in most metal records, as opposed to be a central element of the songs. In this respect Melechesh remind me of Forefather - the vocals are good but merely add another layer to the incredible quality of the playing and composition. Perhaps I've not explained this well - check out Melechesh on YouTube & you'll see what I mean. The band has an obvious middle eastern influence, specifically ancient Sumerian apparently. I think it works very, very well and it's certainly incredibly engaging to listen to. Most Melechesh tracks really do paint an audio picture of an ancient civilization at it's height of power & glory. Stiring stuff! They also include some almost introspective instrumental tracks which are frankly beautiful to listen to.
Do yourself a favour - check out the band on YouTube. I did and instantly bought ALL their work. Absolutely essential for all fans of metal that's a bit interesting & out of the ordinary.
I bought Emissaries because I like Absu and as Proscriptor, the main man of Absu, used to drum for them I thought it must be worth a listen and I was right. It fact, it is worth more than a listen it is worth a five star review.
There are similiarities in musical style with Absu and both bands are very innovative. Melechech's music apart from being extremely tight in terms of musicianship is very different from anything else you will hear. The closest comparision is Absu, however, given the Middle Eastern origins of the band, Emissaries is very unique sounding and to an ear raised on western musical scales it sounds very exotic and different. System of a Down (SOAD) are more mainstream rock that use Middle Eastern song structures and scales though not to the extent used by Melechesh.
For me it is the eastern style guitar work that makes Emissaries unique. The album is fuelled from start to finish by some awesome high octane riffing. Just sample the first track 'Rebirth of the Nemesis' to see what I mean. I have to plead ignorance on the structure of Middle Eastern music but it sounds fantastic when used in Rock. The mix of bone crunching guitaring, pounding drumming and Middle Eastern song structure is a joy to listen to.
The album only changes down a gear for the 'Scribes of Kur' which sounds very Middle Eastern using traditional instruments.
Its difficult to express my feelings to this album other than they are very good. For me the album conjours up images of a hot desert with searing blue skies.
I would recommend Emissaries to fans of Absu if you don't already have it. I also think fans of SOAD may like it. If you like SOAD's eastern influences there is a chance you will like this. Be warned though the vocals here are very raspy and nothing like Serg's. However, the guitar work has more Middle Eastern influence than SOAD's.
Emissaries is for you if you appreciate music with a twist played by excellent musicians and don't mind raspy vocals.
Emissaries is the fourth full-length studio album by the unique Metal band from Jerusalem, Melechesh. It was released in 2006 through Nuclear Blast.
Melechesh started out with a style of music sort of close to Black Metal, but by this stage in their career have evolved into something different. There are some Blast-beats and shrieking vocals, but its more bouncy rhythms than icy-atmosphere. The songs largely revolve around big fat grooves and adventurous song structuring but give way to blistering Thrash passages now and again to keep the energy levels up. They are pretty “dynamic” in their mixture of fast and slow, loud and soft, eastern and western.
Lyrically, as on all their albums the band write about interesting historical and fictional things from their own culture (Sumerian/ Assyrian/ Mesopotamian folklore). It gives the band a nice unique angle, and it is handled in a tasteful and non-cheesy way.
Melechesh are just a really unique, incredibly interesting and talented band, and fittingly, Emissaries is a pretty interesting and talent-filled record. One of the best in their catalougue even. If you’re already a fan then you won’t be disappointed at all by the masterfully crafted collection of punchy and vicious, yet strangely accessible tunes.
Everything on this record is pure gold, but highlights include the furious ‘Ladders To Sumeria,’ as well as the menacing album-closer ‘Emissaries And The Mysterium Magnum’ and of course ‘Gyroscope,’ which is a cover of The Tea Party reworked into the Melechesh style.
Overall, Emissaries is a confident, exciting entry in the Melechesh timeline that is strong from beginning to end and highlights everything that is great about the band. Its an incredibly strong listening experience. New listener or existing fan – check it out either way, you won’t regret it!
Me and the boys often used to sit around the Suvvern bemoaning the lack of Mesopotamian metal. Where are all the Assyrians, Babylonians and Sumerians who ought to be presenting us with some splendid Black Metal, we'd often ask after walking the dog once too often.
Fortunately for all, Melechesh came along a few years back, led by Jerusalem born Ashemdi to put matters to right. They've now reached album number 4 and the reason I grabbed it with both hands from out of the clutches of the usual bestial black metal baboons who populate the Metal4Life office is the presence of track 5, 'Gyroscope', a rearranged version of a classic track by the sadly departed The Tea Party [sniff]. Not only is it absolutely splendid but the surrounding, original material is mad as a very mad thing doing mad things down the mad shop. And thus should be clutched to our heaving bosoms.
Where else are you going to find Sumerian spells, Mesopotamian mysticism, near Eastern occult and 5000 year old text comprising specially transcribed Akkadian and Sumerian lines? Nowhere, that's where. Ashmedi, Moloch, Al'Hazred and Xul claim they sound like no-one else, and for once it's not a band blowing their own trumpet or, in this case, strumming their own buzuk (hang on, I thought was Albanian? Unless it should be buzuq with a q. Ach well, they're all furriners from where I'm standing, especially ones who name musical instruments after the word for burnt head - I mean we don't even have a word for that).
Back to what remains of the point. A stunning black metal release, augmented rather than diluted by the outside influences, it's one of the albums of the year.