Review by Maciek on March 28, 2015.
It's been always my dream to find a good band that would mix extreme metal with Middle Eastern melodies as I always thought that it would be a perfect combination. Throughout many years I found only few examples when it worked well (in my opinion, of course, not everyone has to agree). I guess the first impressive example was Clawfinger with their "Two Sides" with guest vocals by Antoinette Saigh. I know it's not really a true metal band, but I cannot recall better mix of something close to the genre with Middle Eastern atmosphere around 1997. Next good attempt worth mentioning in my opinion is Cradle of Filth with their "Doberman Pharaoh", I still get goose bumps when listening to first sounds from it. And obviously Rotting Christ had a decent attempt in their "Enuma Elish".
But I was always waiting for some band which would focus on this magical mixture and release the whole album with that in mind and that's why I was following Melechesh for some time to hear their style develop and I have to say this band is getting better and better at it with every next album.
And I think that "Enki" is really close to that ideal Middle-Eastern-black-metal I'm craving for. It's their sixth album, so their technical level is now really impressive and it shows with more diversity in melody lines used. If you haven't heard the band before, I would compare it to Dimmu Borgir, but with the aforementioned Middle Eastern melody lines and I mean more harsh, old-school Dimmu, with less keyboards. Really impressive drumwork, with powerful blast-beats, especially the opening track "Tempest Temper Enlil Enraged", which reminds a lot of opening track from "Emissaries", "Rebirth of the Nemesis". The album has generally quite raw atmosphere, with tracks packed with many riffs, all kept in the same climate, much of the time filled with 3 or more guitar lines. It definitely is not an easy album to get used to, solid 3-4 listenings before you get the flow of the rhythms, passages and leading melody lines. What I really like is that the sound is not too polished, therefore it maintains dirty, chaotic style. The atmosphere is also enhanced by pitch effect used mostly on guitars playing leading melody lines.
Overall really well-done album with very good inclusion of Middle Eastern style in black metal. Very complex compositions, with a lot of experimentation with guitar effects, rhythms and constructions. Really good position on the shelf with black metal with monumental "Enki - Divine Nature Awoken" among my favourite tracks.
Overall score: 7 out of 10