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Review: Melechesh - Sphynx

Label: Osmose Productions
Year released: 2003
Duration: 67:48
Tracks: 11
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: February 5, 2004
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating

Rated 4.78/5 (95.56%) (54 Votes)

Took me long enough to get ahold of this one.. This album always seem to be out of stock. Anyway, after nearly 7 months I finally get to hear Melechesh's followup to the highly-acclaimed "Djinn". "Sphynx" differs from the previous albums by distancing itself musically, moving slightly more toward a blackened thrash sound - predominantly thrash - with vocals that still show a strong Black Metal influences, but oftentimes also heading toward a more thrashy style.

The Middle Eastern musical influence is still there, but interestingly seems to rely less on more "exotic" instruments (more of a "toning down"), leaving the corresponding melodic work more for the guitars and to a lesser extent, the drums. The result is a more "metallic" Middle Eastern sound this time around. Overall you get quite a "catchy" album of expertly crafted metal like Melechesh have gotten us used to, with the added bonus that the band shows a marked improvement in songwriting and musicianship. It's probably superfluous to say this, but Proscriptor McGovern's drumming is just amazing once again and is worth focusing on for a few listens to really enjoy the talented work. But let me stop right here, before this turns into verbal wankering. :)

For a good dose of Blackened Thrash with a Middle Eastern twist, you can't go wrong with this album. Too bad the vocals will scare a good number of people away, but that's their loss. :) The CD contains a CD-ROM track with articles (including a description of the Middle Eastern instruments they use), a video, wallpapers and photos. Well worth the look.

I do feel the need to bitch about "Caravans To Ur" (the album closer on a normal edition), which contains about 6 minutes of silence. Maybe one day I'll know why the hell some bands do this on their albums, but I'd sure like them to stop this useless annoying crap already. Other than that, excellent album!

Other related information on the site
Review: As Jerusalem Burns… Al'Intisar (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Djinn (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Emissaries (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Enki (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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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