Melechesh - Enki - (8.5/10)
Published on February 8, 2015
Recapturing the Magick
It’s been five years since Melechesh’s last full-length album, 2010’s stellar The Epigenesis. In that time there have been several lineup changes of note, with guitarist and backing vocalist Moloch leaving and coming back, the recruitment of new bassist Scorpios, and original drummer Lord Curse returning after a long hiatus. Enki, the band’s sixth album, delivers the quality we’ve come to expect from Melechesh.
All of the attributes that made past Melechesh albums such enjoyable listens are well-represented on Enki. The Middle Eastern musical influences, a huge part of Melechesh’s sound, are still prominent. So is the focus on Mesopotamian mythology, with Enki being the god of creation. Melechesh’s trademark serpentine riffs (“Tempest Temper Enlil Enraged, “The Pendulum Speaks”) sound perhaps more energetic than ever, as do the quick, whirling guitar lines of “Lost Tribes.” Enki sounds slightly angrier than past Melechesh albums, thanks in part to the furious opener “Tempest Temper Enlil Enraged” and Lord Curse’s driving beats. But Enki also sounds like a band that’s more comfortable playing live, which is understandable considering Melechesh have toured more than ever since The Epigenesis. I imagine many of the tracks of Enki will become live staples.
In addition to furious blackened thrash, Melechesh dials down the speed in spots on Enki, as demonstrated by “Multiple Truths” and “The Palm, the Eye, and Lapis Lazuli.” The slow grooves often retain the Middle Eastern influence, but parts of Enki sound more conventionally thrashy than past albums, specifically on parts of “Metatron and Man” and briefly on “Lost Tribes.” Melechesh’s tendency to use long, mostly instrumental passages continues on “Enki-Divine Nature Awoken” and the epic closer “The Outsiders” and these are some of the album’s strongest moments. The former track also features the kind of atmospheric chanting Melechesh have used so memorably in the past on tracks like “Rebirth of the Nemesis” from Emissaries. This time around there’s only one Middle Eastern instrumental, entitled “Doorways to Irkala.” It’s quite good, but basically functions as a breather and extended intro for “The Outsiders.”
Enki also features several notable guest appearances. Max Cavalera appears on “Lost Tribes” and he sounds great. Sakis Tolis from Greek legends Rotting Christ appears on “Enki-Divine Nature Awoken” and Rob Caggiano (Volbeat, ex-Anthrax) provides a guest solo on “The Palm, the Eye, and Lapis Lazuli.” All three are incorporated meaningfully into their respective tracks; Cavalera’s roar provides a nice contrast to Ashmedi’s witchy rasp, as does Tolis. Caggiano’s lead is melodic and works well with the more Eastern-sounding guitars on the track.
Enki does not possess any serious flaws. Ashmedi sounds a tad more indecipherable than before but not to the point of distraction. Enki is very similar to Emissaries and The Epigenesis but certainly not to the point that the band has run out of ideas. It would difficult to choose a favorite from the three; Melechesh have been on a roll, and Enki continues that trend. If Enki does not quite reach the heights of Emissaries or The Epigenesis, it comes extremely close and is a fantastic album in its own right.
Simply put, Enki is another winning effort for Melechesh . Its energy and excellent grasp of dynamics makes it an extremely fun listen. Enki adds to what is already an extremely impressive discography and it demonstrates that Melechesh’s triumphant career arc continues.