Originally a solo project established in 1993 by vocalist/guitarist Melechesh Ashmedi, Melechesh -- the band -- were one of the first death metal/black metal groups to emerge from the city of Jerusalem. Guitarist Moloch and drummer Lord Curse were recruited the following year, and Melechesh quickly began developing their admittedly extreme but culturally relevant "Mesopotamian metal" by combining Middle Eastern music and history with heavy metal. By naming their first demo As Jerusalem Burns...Al' Intisar and openly admitting to Satanic worship in interviews, Melechesh understandably gained both local notoriety and a police rap sheet, seeing as such heretical behavior is literally illegal in that holiest of cities. Then again, there's no such thing as bad press, and all of this hullabaloo only served to fuel the band's fast-rising underground profile, and scored Melechesh the opportunity to release their The Siege of Lachish EP via the Devilish Music Propaganda label.
Come 1996, with bassist Al'Hazred having joined their merry crew, Melechesh also agreed to re-record As Jerusalem Burns for an official CD release, but, more than anything else, this inauspicious debut mostly served to prove that Melechesh's musical abilities had yet to catch up to the controversy that preceded them. By then, their geographic location had also become a limiting factor, Jerusalem not exactly being known for its bustling music industry. So, having tired of nearly impossible working conditions and rare concert opportunities, beginning in 1998 the members of Melechesh, minus drummer Lord Curse, started migrating to Continental Europe: Moloch to France, the other two to the Netherlands. Then, after securing a new record deal with French independent Osmose Productions, Melechesh achieved a major coup when they convinced renowned Absu drummer Proscriptor (real name Russ Givens) to perform on their international debut, 2001's Djinn.
In the end, the long wait had been well worth it, since this landmark release most certainly met, even exceeded, prior expectations for the band's vaunted "Mesopotamian metal." A string of international concert dates followed, and a promo video was even recorded for the track "Genies, Sorcerers and Mesopotamian Nights" before Melechesh finally took some time off to bask in their newfound underground fame. Three years later, they were back with another acclaimed album named Sphynx, and after welcoming new drummer Xul (real name Yuri Rinkel), Melechesh unleashed arguably their finest opus to date in late 2006, entitled Emissaries. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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