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Melechesh: Sphynx | A Mesopotamian Masterpiece


Last Updated on 05:32 PM by Giorgos Tsekas

The name Melechesh consists of two words, melech (meaning king), and esh (meaning fire) of Aramaic and Hebraic origins, a combination which has been originated by the band. The “ch” is pronounced like the Scottish ch as in the word LOCH or Greek “χ”. But many pronounce the band MeleKesh. Melechesh is an Assyrian* black metal band that originated in Jerusalem**. The band -that exists since 1993- invented the title “Assyrian metal” to describe their type of metal, while “Mesopotamian metal” is another accepted title for their music, too. How else could be better described this east oriented black metal based on Assyrian (Mesopotamian) and occult themes (both musically and lyrically)? “Sphynx” is Melechesh’s third full length album. It was released in 24 of March 2003, and was recorded during November 30 – December 21, 2002 at Los Angered Studios, in Gothenburg/Sweden. It came out via Osmose Productions. Honestly you can’t define 100%, in which genre this album belongs to. Ok, it’s Black and Thrash Metal based -with so many oriental elements-, but this Celtic Frost atmosphere is so strong here, so as the heavy metal riffing, (probably due to Andy La Roque’s production) to characterize it strictly as a Black Metal record. Speaking about production we have to mention how crystal clear it is and how this helps the listener to focus on the excellent musicianship. In this record you can listen only to top notch riffs, absolutely amazing oriental influenced melodies, brilliant drumming with creative fills (still blasting -sometimes groovy- rhythm), impressing solos and convincing vocals. Probably, because all members here give great performances and are full of confidence, while the song writing is remarkable, creating memorable songs, with poetic and metaphorical lyrics. And no, it is not the Egyptian Sphynx on the grandiose album’s cover, designed by Ron Woodall, but it’s the Assyrian Winged Bull.

*Assyria was a major Semitic kingdom (that has taken its name from the city Assur and its god with the same name that was worshipped there), of the Ancient Near East, spanning the Early Bronze Age through to the late Iron Age, centered on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia (northern Iraq, northeast Syria and southeastern Turkey.)

**Due to various personal, professional, and demographic reasons Melechesh relocated to France and the Netherlands a 1998.

*** Excellent cover on Celtic Frost’s “Babylon Fell” available only in the limited LP version

**** The cd version has the complete set of lyrics, explanations, profiles and ideas behind the songs [it’s an enhanced media cd], including a glossary of Sumerian and Mesopotamian terms.

Giorgos Tsekas
Giorgos Tsekas
"Κάποτε Όταν Θα ‘χουμε Καιρό... Θα Σκεφτούμε Πάνω Στις Ιδέες Όλων Των Μεγάλων Στοχαστών, Θα Θαυμάσουμε Τους Πίνακες Όλων Των Μεγάλων Ζωγράφων, Θα Γελάσουμε Με Όλους Τους Χωρατατζήδες, Θα Φλερτάρουμε Όλες Τις Γυναίκες, Θα Διδάξουμε Όλους Τους Ανθρώπους" Μπ. Μπρεχτ

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