Thursday, July 2, 2020

Melechesh - "As Jerusalem Burns... Al'Intisar" [1996]

Artist: Melechesh
Title: As Jerusalem Burns... Al'Intisar
Genre: Black Metal
Country: Israel
Year: 1996

Track List:
  1. Intro
  2. Sultan of Mischief
  3. Assyrian Spirit
  4. Planetary Rites
  5. Hymn to Gibil
  6. The Sorcerers of Melechesh
  7. Dance of the Black Genii
  8. Baphomet's Lust
  9. Devil Night
  10. As Jerusalem Burns... Al'Intisar
Along with Orphaned Land, Melechesh are the founders of the "oriental metal" subgenre, although their debut album (and the only one that they've recorded in Israel) doesn't feature much "oriental" influences. In fact, it mostly sounds quite similar to the Norwegian black metal of the same time, apart from some tracks like the instrumental "Dance of the Black Genii". Nevertheless, the fact that there's black metal in Jerusalem of all places was quite astonishing to me when I was a teenager.

Despite originally coming from Israel, Melechesh are mostly inspired by the Mesopotamian mythology, and their founding member Ashmedi is of mixed Assyrian/Armenian descent (his mother comes from Syria and the father - from Turkey). During the mid-90s, Jerusalem wasn't a particularly more friendly place for metal than, say, Teheran, so the band has relocated to Netherlands shortly after recording this album (which was timely, because all hell broke loose in Jerusalem after the start of Intifada Al-Aqsa just a few years later). Honestly there are more interesting oriental metal bands than Melechesh when it comes to music, yet let's not forget they were one of the first in the genre, and their lyrics always were quite interesting, especially if you love the history and mythology of ancient Mesopotamia.

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