ROTTING CHRIST, MELECHESH, HATE, ABIGAIL WILLIAMS @ Chain Reaction, Anaheim, CA (3/28/11)

This tour has a great mix for fans of different genres, as the top billed bands are from Europe, but they all bring a different flavor to the table. ROTTING CHRIST and MELECHESH provide the slower and heavy dosage, while HATE brings the brutal death metal end. I wasn’t too worried that I missed the hardcore-turned-black metal band, ABIGAIL WILLIAMS, but death metal veterans HATE brought the crowd to life with an energetic set focused mainly on their new album, Erebos. With speed, intensity and blast beats filling the air, HATE has transformed from a Polish DEICIDE copycat band to BEHEMOTH Jr., but that’s not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.

While HATE teased the crowd, everyone was prepared for the Middle Eastern onslaught of MELECHESH. I’m always excited when bands come to play in the U.S. for the first time, and MELECHESH did not disappoint, as they plowed through an intense set ranging from Sphynx to the latest album, The Epigenesis. Vocalist Ashmedi fired up the crowd with his enthusiastic guitar playing and screeches from hell. Highlights of the set included “Ghouls of Nineveh” and “Deluge of Delusional Dreams,” while “Grand Gathas of Baal Sin” got everyone amped up as the entire crowd was doing fist pumps and chanting along with Ashmedi. As MELECHESH closed with “Rebirth of Nemesis,” the fury of the crowd was unleashed as a sea of hair was flying everywhere, and both the band and crowd were satisfied with each other.

ROTTING CHRIST had a tough act to follow, as MELECHESH had the crowd in a frenzy, but almost everybody stuck around to watch the headliners. While mostly playing tracks off Aealo, the band threw in a few oldies for good measure. One-third of the way through the set, frontman Sakis Tolis had issues with his guitar and wrist, and the band continued the show with only one guitar. Guitarist Giorgos Bokos kept the fans entertained with solos and scales while waiting for Sakis to come back on stage. As Sakis returned, he sang the songs with gusto while making hilarious faces and entertaining the crowd with his gestures. ROTTING CHRIST weren’t fast or brutal, but they were sure heavy as hell. Despite the technical difficulties, everybody had a good time and enjoyed the set by the Greek metallers and are anxious for the band to come back to the states again.

Check out some pictures of MELECHESH and ROTTING CHRIST above.

Watch MELECHESH’s New Video for “Grand Gathas Of Baal Sin”

Mesopotamian thrashing black metal pioneers MELECHESH have released the video clip for the song “Grand Gathas of Baal Sin” from their latest record, The Epigenesis.

Commented mainman Ashmedi: “Finally the video clip for ‘Grand Gathas of Baal Sin’ is ready. It was not an easy process but worth the effort. We are very proud of this clip and we consider our collaboration with Rouzbeh to be very positive.”

The clip was shot at the cisterns in Istanbul, Turkey in late 2010 by Canadian director Rouzbeh Heydari and produced by Tumay Irgas.

MELECHESH to Enter the Studio in April

On April 10 Mesopotamian Metal pioneers MELECHESH will enter the studio to record their fifth and as of yet untitled album for a period of 4-5 weeks. In an unprecedented move in metal, the band has chosen to record the album in Istanbul in an attempt to capture the inspiring surroundings. Babajim Studios which opened their doors this week is run by some of the elite sound engineers in Turkey. The album is set to be released in summer 2010 via Nuclear Blast Records.

Commented vocalist/guitarist Ashmedi: “We have been looking for a place to record that can offer us an inspiring surrounding. We also decided to stay true to our spirits, to break the Mold (again) and also to defy the norm, hence we will record in Istanbul; you see the norm is to record westwards it is rather customary, we want to head eastwards. So, Istanbul seemed the best place since This is the city where the east and west meet, mesh, clash, blend, collide etc. and has been as such for milleniums. The music is definitely MELECHESH and as always, this album has its own characteristic.”

The band is now locked again in the rehearsing studio with guitarist Moloch arriving to Amsterdam next week from Virginia, USA. The song writing is 90% complete.

For more info visit: www.melechesh.com | www.myspace.com/melechesh

ABSU – Absu

The term “U.S. Black Metal” is not taken very seriously, and rightfully so because of the weak bands that have spawned from the States. However, after a lengthy eight year hiatus, these occult veterans from Texas show that there is at least one USBM band that steps up to the plate.

ABSU simply shines on this release, as they bring the black metal/thrash attack to the forefront. Proscriptor returns to form with a whole new lineup, but the result will not disappoint ABSU fans. Production wise, the album is extremely clean, and the melodies are stronger than ever. This glossy new version of ABSU is perfected with the opening track, “Between the Absu of Eridu & Erich” – a simply fantastic, and catchy track, and a clear indication of what’s to come. There is a MELECHESH feel throughout Absu, and elements of thrash, black metal, and experimental ambiance are all prevalent. Some interesting chords and timing are displayed in “Night Fire Canonization,” thanks to a guest spot by ex-MAYHEM guitarist Blasphemer. “Amy” and “13 Globes” are the most straightforward songs with beautiful guitar work which lead to “…of the Dead Who Never Rest in Their Tombs…” – a magical track which entices the listener to some fancy keyboard wankery towards the end of the track. A dark and unique approach with these keyboard spots is what separates ABSU from a typical boring DIMMU BORGIR clone. Tons of riffs fly throughout Absu with no letdown in sight. A bizarre, ambient, experimental and interesting keyboard break is inserted in “Those of the Void Will Re-Enter” before breaking into climactic guitar shredding chaos. “Twix Yesterday, the Day & the Morrow” closes the chapter on Absu with a fitting keyboard outro, reminiscent of the instrumentals featured on MORBID ANGEL‘s Domination.

As a whole, Absu takes elements from old ABSU or MELECHESH and the end result is a fantastic 53 minute gem that makes sense of a mesh of different metal genres into one cohesive brilliant mess. This effort definitely gives you the best bang for your buck and should result in countless plays for quite a long time. (Candlelight Records)

MELECHESH Parts Ways with OSMOSE PRODUCTIONS

MELECHESH have fulfilled their three-album recording contract with Osmose Productions. The band has decided not to renew the agreement with Osmose and will soon announce a new label home.

Comments founding member Ashmedi: “After circa eight years with Osmose Productions, we feel this is the right time to move on. This does not change our high opinion of this cult record company who truly does good old-fashioned A&R work and builds bands over the course of time. I, on behalf of MELECHESH, extend our best wishes to Osmose Productions and their staff, especially Herve and Nicolas, who have become with the years people we can call our friends; we also extend our regards and appreciation to The End Records, the exclusive licensee label in USA, for their efforts on the North American continent.”

APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2007

It’s been a grossly successful 2007 for APESHIT, and though we find it hard pressed to make that same general claim for metal in 2007, a handful of albums did manage to leave a strong impression on us. We here at APESHIT individually compiled our own top 10 metal albums of 2007 lists for a new “blog” category that we look forward to experimenting with in 2008. Let us know what you think and post your own top 10 metal albums of 2007 in the comments section below. Cheers!

dr.park’s top 10

1. MANES How the World Came to an End

This album really just came out of nowhere and turned out to be one of the best albums in recent years. The album is so deep in its scope, ambition, and execution and is a winner in every facet. Ideally, this should be an underground/indie hit. [Read our full review]

2. ULVER Shadows of the Sun

It’s sounds tired to say but ULVER have done it yet again. Shadows of the Sun is another creative gem. The strong melancholic, subdued atmospheres make for some of the best mood music you can find. [Read our full review]

3. TURBONEGRO Retox

Retox is far better and more solid than their recent efforts. Finally, fans have been given an album that comes as close to their zenith, Apocalypse Dudes, as the band can get. Retox is also prime party music. [Read our full review]

4. MAYHEM Ordo Ad Chao

Just when you thought Norwegian black metal had grown too safe, accessible, and popular, MAYHEM makes an essential album that crushes all. Ordo Ad Chao is a powerful statement of true Norwegian black metal the way it used to be: pure, dark, raw, and evil. [Read our full review]

5. SHINING V: Halmstad

SHINING are one of the best underground Swedish death/black bands that many underground fans have yet to hear. Great riffs, flow, balance and strong vocal presence from band leader and raging maniac, Niclas Kvarforth. V: Halmstad is some of the best (Swedish) metal not coming from Gothenburg. [Read our full review]

6. DIR EN GREYThe Marrow of a Bone

Though most of their U.S. fans are teenage girls with Japanese pop culture fever, don’t let that subtract and detract from this quality album. The Marrow of a Bone is ugly, dark, and has the right balance of hooks and brutality that has allowed it to be another worldwide hit for the band. [Read our full review]

7. WATAIN Sworn to the Dark

To steal a thought from shady rajah: This is the album that DISSECTION should’ve written as their final album. WATAIN keep the flame of classic Swedish black/death metal burning with no peers in sight. [Read our full review]

8. PRIMORDIAL To the Nameless Dead

Ireland’s premier metal band, PRIMORDIAL, have written yet another excellent album of folk/black metal that is so much grander, powerful, and spirited than so much else out there. [Read our full review]

9. MELECHESH Emissaries

If you haven’t heard this band or this album, you are missing out on a lot. There’s nothing like MELECHESH‘s Mesopotamian metal and Emissaries is easily their best album. NILE is good and all but MELECHESH are better at conjuring the ancient rhythms, spirits, and mythology of the gods. [Read our full review]

10. PARADISE LOSTIn Requiem

It’s always a great thing when underground legends can continue to make high quality music so deep into their careers. In Requiem is not your flavor of the month underground metal but who cares…it’s timeless stuff. [Read our full review]

shady rajah’s top 10

1. WATAIN Sworn to the Dark

As the only worthy successor to the departed DISSECTION, WATAIN has carved their own bloody path to black metal glory. Sworn to the Dark is an album filled seething aggression and evil atmosphere that is complex in details, but undeniable in song craft. WAITAIN are a band that’s made black metal dangerous again. [Read our full review]

2. DOWNIII: Over the Under

DOWN‘s third album couldn’t have had a more fitting title, as the band overcame a mountain of adversity. Over the Under successfully captures all the pain, sweat and struggle with all the heat and density of an Louisiana swamp, resulting in 2007’s most heartfelt, honest and real album. [Read our full review]

3. EXODUSThe Atrocity Exhibition Exhibit A

A recent thrash metal trend has surfaced ushering hordes imitators still trying capture that classic 80’s sound. EXODUS isn’t it making it any easier for these wannabes as The Atrocity Exhibition drove shards of razor sharp thrash in to the jugular of pretenders everywhere. Nearly thirty years later, these Bay-area bruisers just seem to keep getting heavier, and are keeping true thrash alive and killing. [Read our full review]

4. SHININGV: Halmstad

Niklas Kvarforth has kept the flame of darkness and hatred burning for a decade now, with each album becoming increasingly more complex and intricate while retaining the feeling dread and despair that has existed since the band’s beginning. V: Halmstad is the band’s masterwork, engulfing the listener in darkness. Suicide has never sounded better. [Read our full review]

5. MIDDIANAge Eternal

Formed from the ashes of YOB, MIDDIAN was the vision that continued Mike Scheidt‘s path of doom metal mastery, laying the foundation for the future of sludge. Age Eternal brought the power of slow and the strength of the riff. Unfortunately the band was dropped and forced to change their name, but in their brief moment time, MIDDIAN created a small piece of doom metal history. [Read our full review]

6. DIMMU BORGIRIn Sorte Diaboli

Norway’s premier black metal(ish) super group, DIMMU BORGIR delivered yet another powerful entry in their already considerable catalog, with a driving guitar heavy album that was catchy as it was complex. Having Hellhammer on board didn’t hurt either, as Jan Axel carved layer of intricate drum patterns to enhance the band’s already ambitious anti-Christian concept album. A successful anti-Christian concept album…how awesome is that? [Read our full review]

7. ABORTEDSlaughter and Apparatus: A Methodical Overture

Sven De Caluwe may have lost all his original members, but nothing detered the growling machine. He simply assembled a new death squad and delivered another precise, surgical slaughter of bludgeoning death metal. Relentless and furious yet containing some of the catchiest songs about mutilation written in recent memory, Slaughter and Apparatus continues the band’s excellent carnage. [Read our full review]

8. MACHINE HEADThe Blackening

After dabbling in bland nu-metal for a spell, MACHINE HEAD came roaring back with their return to form, Through Ashes of Empires. But that was just the warm up. The Blackening is the main course, with the band firing on all levels, encompassing MACHINE HEAD‘s most challenging work to date. The Blackening serves as both a defining moment in the band’s history as well as one of 2007’s finest albums. [Read our full review]

9. IMMOLATIONShadows in the Light

These death metal veterans helped shape and form death metal in it’s earliest stages, but the Yonker’s natives still show they have plenty of tricks up their sleeve. IMMOLATION deliver an intricate maze of riffs, complex drum patterns, and heapings of sinister atmosphere…not to mention an ample amount of guitar shredding. Their legacy of death continues to grow. [Read our full review]

10. SOILWORKSworn to a Great Divide

Despite losing a pivotal member with the departure of Peter Wichers, the band nonetheless stepped up to the plate, dove in to their considerable arsenal of hooks, and soldiered on with one of the year’s catchiest records. Balancing song craft and drummer Dirk Verbeuren‘s well thought out drum patterns, Sworn to a Great Divide is full of hooks that stick in your head. [Read our full review]

roycifer’s top 10

1. HIM Venus Doom

These Finns have always been top-notch songwriters, and they succeed again while under the delicious influence of doom. Ville Valo‘s singing and songwriting don’t miss a step, and the band sound at home with the heavier vibe. “Sleepwalking Past Hope” is a magnificent epic of “November Rain” proportions.

2. MAYHEM Ordo Ad Chao

With Ordo Ad Chao, MAYHEM made black metal sound exciting and totally fucking evil again! The album trembles with such unnerving, nihilistic ferocity not heard since the inception of black metal. Hellhammer‘s best performance. [Read our full review]

3. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGEEra Vulgaris

Josh Homme is a music making beast with such a distinct style and vision. Everything he touches, turns into gold. Their best album since Rated R. [Read our full review]

4. SCARVE The Undercurrent

Guitar music hasn’t been this exciting since SOILWORK emerged onto the scene. But SCARVE are not merely a guitar band. Drummer Dirk Verburen really helps shapes the band’s sound and provides a necessary dynamic with his drumming. [Read our full review]

5. CHIMAIRA Resurrection

This was the album that should have followed The Impossibility of Reason. CHIMAIRA have always had a lot of potential and are continuing to show their steady growth as musicians and songwriters. Move over LAMB OF GOD, CHIMAIRA are the true heir to PANTERA‘s throne. [Read our full review]

6. SHINING V: Halmstad

V: Halmstad is uniquely black metal in that it draws a lot of influence from rock and classical music but is pieced together in a very progressive manner. The excellent songwriting is topped by the tortured vocals of Niclas Kvarforth. Suicide never sounded so damn inviting. [Read our full review]

7. MANES How the World Came to an End

How the World Came to an End is an eclectic album for the ages that spans rock, electronic, and hip-hop while still feeling every bit metal. ULVER, eat your heart out. [Read our full review]

8. AMORPHIS Silent Waters

Silent waters was where the band was treading about for a few releases. But their latest album is solid collection of timeless listening. Singer Tomi Joutsen has breathed new life into a group of vets making waves once again. [Read our full review]

9. MARDUK Rom 5:12

Black metal’s ever-black sons of Swedish blackness keep getting better (and blacker) with age. New singer Mortuus‘ is ferocious and has a voice all his own. To quote dr.park, “it sounds like he’s gurgling blood.” Rom 5:12 also marks a newfound reach to diversify and expand their style…and those risks certainly pay off. [Read our full review]

10. ION DISSONANCEMinus the Herd

While the bees were busy buzzing about JOB FOR A COWBOY, ION DISSONANCE were having a ho down of their own. Minus the Herd tops JOB FOR A COWBOY‘s Genesis on technicality, dynamics, and lasting interestingness. [Read our full review]

SIGH, MELECHESH to Team Up for North American Tour

Groundbreaking Japanese act SIGH have announced a few tour dates from their upcoming North American tour with Mesopotamian masters MELECHESH.

The band is touring North America in support of their upcoming album, Hangman’s Hymn, out June 12th, 2007 on The End Records. This is the first North American tour for MELECHESH, who released their critically-acclaimed album, Emissaries, in January of this year. Also on the touring bill is Atlanta’s sludge/doom outfit ZOROASTER.

Says SIGH frontman Mirai Kawashima about touring, “We are excited about coming over to play North America again. The timing of the tour is perfect. Hope to see you all on tour!”

More tour dates will be released in the coming weeks, but the confirmed shows are:
07/06/07 Fri @ Europa – Brooklyn, NY
07/13/07 Fri @ Opera House – Toronto, CA
07/14/07 Sat @ Sapphire Club – Montreal, QC

SIGH also has two live dates with Norway’s MAYHEM:
July 17 – Santa Ana, CA @ Galaxy Theatre
July 18 – West Hollywood, CA @ Key Club

MELECHESH – Emissaries

It’s been too long since we’ve heard from MELECHESH; four years to be exact. Their last album, Sphynx, was damn good but Emissaries easily surpasses it. MELECHESH immediately set the tone for their tremendous new album from the first second. “Rebirth of the Nemesis” blasts forth conjuring up a violent and dark sandstorm with their trademark Middle Eastern riffing and rhythms, and seething aggression. “Ladders to Sumeria” follows with a great demonstration of riff progressions balanced with strong hooks. Ominous chanting vocals help to accentuate the dark atmospheres. “Deluge of Delusional Dreams” has just such a well-written intro as the rhythms and awesome riffs build tension and energy that is finally unleashed in with the first main riff. One thing that becomes readily apparent as Emissaries progresses is that MELECHESH have chosen to up the intensity via blast beats and super fast guitars/bass. Each song stays in perpetual motion as they have this feel of ever-shifting tension and a great sense of natural flow. The band’s cover of THE TEA PARTY’s “Gyroscope” is fantastic as they give it the trademark MELECHESH-treatment and make it their own. Seriously, the entire album is a clinic in writing compelling and powerful metal music. Mainman Ashmedi not only puts most guitarists to shame but also shows more conviction and soul in his venomous vocal performance than most other faceless vocalists out there. The album title couldn’t be any more fitting as MELECHESH are on a mission to show you the superiority of their unique style of Mesopotamian Metal. No doubt about it, MELECHESH have established with Emissaries that they are in the upper echelon of extreme metal. (Osmose Productions USA/The End Records)

MELECHESH: “We Will Tour North America in 2007”

Sumerian thrashing black metallers MELECHESH have announced plans for some select North American shows in 2007. Frontman Ashmedi issued the following statement:

“We have just returned from doing press in New York City this weekend and it was an outstanding experience. Lots of feedback and great responses from the press over Emissaries so far. We are also in negotiations right now to bring MELECHESH to North America for a few select dates. We will tour North America in 2007. We’ll keep you posted.”

Emissaries is set for a January 23rd release via Osmose USA/The End Records.

MELECHESH’s Emissaries Scheduled for January 23rd, 2007 Release

Emissaries, the fourth album from MELECHESH, is the much-anticipated follow-up to 2003’s brilliant opus, Sphynx. Easily the band’s top album to date, and debut for new drummer Xul, Emissaries is a collection of Sumerian spells, Mesopotamian mysticism and its cosmic connection.

The album also features a cover of the song, “Gyroscope,” by world-renowned Canadian band, THE TEA PARTY. THE TEA PARTY gave the band full permission to cover the song and the liberty to change it if they wanted to – which the band did, adding their own creative touch.

Emissaries tracklisting:
1. “Rebirth of the Nemesis (Enuma Elish Rewritten)
2. “Ladders to Sumeria” (download mp3)
3. “Deluge of Delusional Dreams:Act.I Cast Tempest from the East
Act II. Enlil’s Retaliation
4. “Touching the Spheres of Sephiroth
5. “Gyroscope
6. “Double Helixed Sceptre
7. “The Scribes of Kur
8. “Leper Jerusalem
9. “Sand Grain Universe
10. “Emissaries and the Mysterium Magnum