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Review: Melechesh - Emissaries

Label: Osmose Productions
Year released: 2006
Duration: 55:35
Tracks: 10
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: November 10, 2006
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 4.68/5 (93.51%) (37 Votes)

Well here we have the new Melechesh, their 4th studio album and their first with their new drummer Xul, who had the unenviable task of stepping into Proscriptor's shoes. After the runaway acclaim they got for Sphynx in 2003, the band had a tough act to follow, and I have to say they really came through, because Emissaries delivers on almost every level.

The good and the bad thing about this is that Melechesh have changed almost nothing from their last release. One of the things that was so startling and so good about Sphynx was just how original and different it was. It sounded almost nothing like Djinn – or like anything else for that matter. It was a whole new sound, mutated out of their old one but still a great step into new territory backed up by magnificent musicianship and terrific songwriting. Emissaries could just as well have been called Sphynx: The Sequel it is so similar to it in almost every way. On one level that's a good thing, as that album is so awesome more of it is nothing but good. But in light of the leaps and bounds Melechesh have made in their songwriting over the years, this is much less development than I expected. Here and there, as on "Ladders To Sumeria" or on album highlight "Double Helixed Sceptre" Melechesh do add some new flavors to their sound, with some clean chanted backing vocals and some genuinely catchy choruses. But overall, despite the extreme quality, a certain 'been-there-done-that" feel creeps in that is undeniable, it's just there and no amount of wishing on my part will make it go away. New drummer Xul does an excellent job, but he can't hold a candle to Proscriptor, and his playing is just not as technical or heavy as I would like.

Make no mistake, this is an album every metalhead should own, and it will deservedly wind up on a lot of 'best of' lists for 2006. But as much as I wanted this album to be brilliant, I guess I will have to settle for excellent. Emissaries finds Melechesh standing still for the first time in a decade, rather than forging fearlessly into lands where mortals fear to tread. It's a great album, but I guess my expectations were just too high, because this doesn't quite match the godly Sphynx.

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