>Mesopotamian Black Metal

Posted: 2010/10/08 in Black Metal


* Formed :1993–present
* Genre(s): Mesopotamian Black Metal
* Representative Albums: “Sphynx”, “Emissaries”, “Djinn”

Melechesh is a solo project started by vocalist/guitarist Melechesh Ashmedi, 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.

In 1996 they re-recorded As Jerusalem Burns for an official CD release with the newly joined bassist Al’Hazred.

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.


The name Melechesh consists of two words of Aramaic and Hebraic origins, (melech, king) and (esh, fire), a combination which has been originated by the band. The ch is pronounced like the Scottish ch as in the word LOCH or Dutch G(Kh). Another accepted and common pronunciation is MeleKesh.


The band’s release in 1995 of the official demo As jerusalem burns!!… and 7″ EP The Siege of Lachish attracted attention from both underground metal fans and local authorities. Melechesh were accused of “Dark Cult activities” by the law enforcement authorities of the city of Jerusalem, especially by a frontpage newspaper article which twisted some facts. The charges were eventually dropped.

In 1996, The band released their debut album As Jerusalem Burns…Al´Intisar on an American black metal record label; then newly recruited bassist Al´Hazred completed the line-up. This was marked the band as the first signed Non -Israeli band from the Middle East. And also First international signed metal band from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Due to various personal, professional reasons and demographic reasons, the band members had to relocate. 1998 armed with a new promo CD “Mesopotamian Metal” and after a farewell gig in Jerusalem – The Holy Land, Melechesh relocated to France and the Netherlands . Lord Curse remained in Jerusalem and later moved to the USA to continue with his Art studies (and now works for George Lucas’ ILM company), hence, the band had to recruit a new drummer. Absu mainman and drummer Proscriptor soon filled the vacant position. From that point on, Melechesh have released two full-length albums: Djinn (2001), dealing with Mesopotamian mythology, and Sphynx (2003), dealing with Mesopotamian/Sumerian mythology while always keeping the dark and Near Eastern occult themes close to their hearts. The band recorded their fourth and highly acclaimed album Emissaries which is available in Europe (Osmose Productions) and by The End Records in the United States and Canada . Meanwhile, Xul has replaced Proscriptor as the band’s fulltime drummer. A film is being made about the founding member’s plight to create the band. There is no set date for the release of the film as of yet. Curious spirits can read Ashmedi’s biographical articles which reveal very personal information about Melechesh’s mainman. The articles are posted on several reputable websites and printed magazines around the world, such as Decibel and Legacy magazines.

In March 2010, Melechesh revealed that on April 10 they will enter the studio to record their fifth album for a period of 4-5 weeks. However the band spent almost 12 weeks in the studio perfecting the album with every possible detail. “The Epigenesis” is set to be released via Nuclear Blast records on 1 October 2010 (Europe/world) and 27 October (USA). The album is already gaining critical acclaim with several cover stories across the world and being rated number 1 on the magazine critics’ play-lists. The album is considered as one of the most highly anticipated metal albums in 2010.


The band started their career in Jerusalem (and Bethlehem) and operated from there between 1993–1998; however, they have resided mainly in Amsterdam since 1998 for several personal, professional and demographic reasons.

Band members

Current members

* Ashmedi – lead vocals, lead & rhythm 6 & 12 string electric guitars, elec.Guitar/Sitar , Sitar (1993–present)
* Moloch – lead & rhythm 6 & 12 string electric guitars, buzuq (1994–present)
* Xul – drums, percussion (2005–present)
* Rahm – bass (2009–present)

Former members

* Thamuz – bass (1994–1995)
* Uusur – bass (1996)
* Al’ Hazred – bass, vocals (1996–2008)
* Lord Curse – drums, percussion (1994–1999)
* Proscriptor – drums, percussion, vocals (1999–2005)
* Cimeries – keyboard (1996)


* As Jerusalem Burns… (Demo, 1995)
* The Siege of Lachish (EP, 1995)
* As Jerusalem Burns…Al´Intisar (1996)
* Djinn (2001)
* Sphynx (2003, 2004 in North America)
* The Ziggurat Scrolls (EP, 2004)
* Emissaries (2006, 2007 in North America)
* The Epigenesis (2010)

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