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Review: Melechesh - As Jerusalem Burns… Al'Intisar
As Jerusalem Burns… Al'Intisar

Label: War is Imminent Productions
Year released: 2001
Duration: 59:06
Tracks: 13
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: January 13, 2004
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
As Jerusalem Burns… Al'Intisar

Rated 4.25/5 (85%) (16 Votes)

My first exposure to Melechesh was their second album, "Djinn" which distinguished itself by a Black/Death metal mixed with a good dose of Middle-Eastern musical instruments - which would prompt the use of "Mesopotamian Black Metal" to describe the band's music. This first release here is not as distinctive as "Djinn" was, since only a few songs have that Middle-Eastern stuff thrown into them - some more obvious than the others, some where it's pretty discreet. Note that this 2001 re-issue does mention "Mesopotamian Black Metal", most likely to catch on "Djinn" momentum since it was one of the highly-acclaimed albums that year.

That said, this doesn't take anything away from this debut album which, Middle-Eastern instrumentation aside, is quite a good Black Metal album in itself. On that side, this is overall pretty much your typical BM - fast-paced (but not Setherial-fast) with screechy vocals. I can hear some of you say "Boring! Been there, done that!", but Melechesh's music is quite polished and diversified, with good riffs aplenty and some damn catchy melodies (yes, melodies - but without earning the ill-fated "Melodic BM" monicker.) Now, today this might sound "used" to some, but remember that the original release was in 1996.

The addition of the Middle-Eastern elements is what put Melechesh on the map, and they did a surprisingly good job at it - let's face it, many bands totally screw up the inclusion of different music and/or instruments in metal. Some will scream "gimmick" or "overrated", and to them I can only say one thing: Just listen to something else then. :) Melechesh have incorporated sounds that are about as far away from metal as you can get, yet managed to remain undoubtedly metal, no doubt possible. I can't say the same for many, and I do mean many bands. Alright, enough said. For a good slice of well-executed Black Metal with an unusual twist, this is a sure bet. This thing is stuck in my CD player.

Additional Information

Originally released in 1996 by Breath of Night Records/Pulverizer Records.

Other related information on the site
Review: Djinn (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Emissaries (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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Review: Sphynx (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Epigenesis (reviewed by MetalMike)
Interview with vocalist and guitarist Ashmedi on August 2, 2015 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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