Melechesh has something that a few bands have; its own sound.
Formed in Jerusalem, Israel back in 1995 which was not the most ideal place to start a black metal band which led them to relocate later to Netherlands for professional and personal reasons, even for their own security. But before that, Kings of Fire managed to release their first album As Jerusalem Burns… Al’Intisar (which means victory). And in a certain way, it is.
In this pretty much a nostalgic review of the newest reissue and remaster of the album and in a way a desert full circle since their original drummer Lord Curse returned for the newest album Enki played on this one as well (small trivia: the guy now works for Lucas studios. Not bad for a black metal drummer eh?).
Since there is a five year gap between this and the second album Djiin, As Jerusalem Burns tends to fall in the shadow of their successors mainly because of the black metal outfit and lesser production, but for a personal point of view this is Melecheshes rawest blueprint of their sound, flawlessly incorporating their middle-east background into the black metal genre and without a doubt their darkest, most vicious release.
Picking up the best of the Scandinavian black metal scene; Swedish blast beat death ride in Hymn to Gibil like its torn of bands like Infernal War and Panzer Division Marduk era to the beautiful Planetary Rites which is taking the atmospheric from early Norwegian black metal bands before most of them took a mainstream nosedive. Not to mention their almost ten minute length epic Assyrian Spirit which is mine personal favorite and really stands neck to neck with the new material. It really shows that the band was never an one trick pony.
You can see how much the band was an anomaly in Israel by the scope how metal was uncommon there, not to mention black metal. But the band has all the right ingredients. All this with adding their now much known Middle Eastern sound, keeping things unique and interesting.
Despite being interesting, it does have a lack of numbers to look back upon, especially in this today overcrowded black metal scene. So in some regards, you can definitely say that the albums have not aged that well, including the production as well.
But its heart is on the right place, and worth checking out for every Melechesh and black metal fan.