~reviewed by Joel Steudler

For part of my review of Melechesh's Sphynx-an instrument of sonic torture if ever there was one- I will present an unedited, stream-of-consciousness chat log that transpired as I listened to the album.  To wit:

(4:50 AM) : 
this is like mercyful fate on steroids and amphetamines after a glass or two of really strong coffee.

(4:55 AM) : 
I want to slap this song and tell it to shut up and just sit still for a minute.

(4:58 AM) : 
aaaaaaaaagh.  this album is 11 minutes in and its still on  track 2 of... 11 ...  and its nonstop intenseness is KILLING ME!!!!

(4:59 AM) : 

(4:59 AM) : 
oh god it just got even faster

(5:00 AM) : 
why won't the guitarist's tendons just rupture and spare the rest of us the misery?!?

(5:00 AM) : 
it's giving me carpal tunnel syndrome just thinking about him playing this fast

Don't ask what I was doing awake at 5am listening to such things.  What a man does while he drains his victims of bodily fluids is his own business!  um.  As I was saying, this is an extremely EXTREME album full of such intenseness as men were not built to withstand.  It's really pretty good, in a painfully intolerable way.  Guitarists Moloch and Ashmedi must have had their ligaments fortified with steel cable.  There is no other way their wrists could survive such rapid oscillation intact.  Or they may be robots.  Cyborgs, perhaps.

It is worth noting that Melechesh is from Israel, and Sphynx is full of characteristically middle-eastern melodies and percussion... set within an extreme metal context, of course.  The guitar playing is technically impressive for the endurance it must have required as much as for it's precision and pure speed.  The drums, too, are precise and pound merrily away behind the relentless fusilade of other noises, though the production renders them a bit thin and less potent than they may have been with more of a low end kick.  I am thankful for that.  Any more intensity and I may have had a heart attack.  Some respite from the beatdown is found at track seven in the form of a very effective and moody ambient piece featuring creepy atmosphere and ghostly drums... but it comes over thirty minutes into the album, long after most weakhearted men will have perished.

Though there is quite a lot going on in each of the absurdly long songs (most run 5-7 min.), my mind tended to shut down after about the third track to preserve my cognitive reasoning faculties and my ability to think... stuff.  Maybe it didn't act soon enough.  Over an hour of this is too much for me to take.  I am old, and feeble, and there are wolves after me. If you are hyperactive, enjoy vibrating, or live in a dimension that perceives time at a rate several orders of magnitude faster than I do, this is for you.  I guess fans of extreme metal would dig it, too.  Melechesh has a mostly unique sound, which may cause you bodily harm.  Be warned.

Track List:
01.) Of Mercury And Mercury
02.) Secrets Of Sumerian Sphynxology
03.) Annunaki's Golden Thrones
04.) Apkallu Councel
05.) Tablets Of Fate
06.) Triangular Tattvic Fire
07.) The Arrival Ritual (Instrumental)
08.) Incendium Between Mirage And Time
09.) Purifier Of The Stars
10.) Caravans To Ur (Instrumental)
11.) Babylon Fell (Bonus)

Melechesh is:
Ashmedi - Vocals/Guitar
Moloch - Guitar
Al’Hazred - Bass
Proscriptor - Drums

Melechesh Official Site:

Osmose Productions:

The End Records (US):