First of all thanks for the great album. How was the general press/fan response to your new record „The Epigenesis“ yet?
The response is very good. Generally the Media gave the album intense coverage and positive critics. There are the odds that did not understand our perspective musically but that’s normal. Fans the ones who sat and listened to the album more than once, love it !. Some expected repetition we offered creation
All your releases so far got average to amazing reviews in print magazine and online blogs. Why didn't you have such a great success like similar sounding bands such as NILE worldwide yet? You were more like a insider tip until now. Any explanations?
Yes we work on delivering credible albums so they gained critical acclaim. Our previous label was not very big so they did not reach many people. Yet the sales of the previous album were very good so maybe it depends on the scene! Also we were considered Black Metal and many fans were more receptive to bands coming from Scandinavian countries when concerned with this genre than to a band coming from the holy land ; ) . I honestly dont think us and Nile sound similar they are a brutal death metal band we are a black thrash hybrid we have different takes on Metal , even with the lyrcis. But yes the common denominator is the Mid eastern music but even that can be represented in countless ways.
Do you think the new contract with Nuclear Blast will help you to get more popularity?
The idea is that they have more reach to the fans that our previous record company so yes i do think this helps Melechesh.
I have to say I don't really know the middle eastern metal scene. So, where there some influencing bands around Jerusalem when you started in 1993? Has the metal scene in the middle east improved since then?
Jerusalem did not have too many bands and we were the first black metal band there. Also we were residing in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem where there was no metal scene yet our social lives were in west jerusalem , it was a small but nice scene there. The rest of the mid east was not very active in metal then but now it is very active and growing . In Some countries making heavy metal is illegal while other places it is legal but socially unacceptable so many bands have a tough time . Naturally there are place like Dubai and Israel were it is liberal.
Your recorded the new album in Istanbul. Did you choose this city because it marks the line between the middle east and europe? Does it have a special meaning to you?
Yes we chose Istanbul due to this fact it is a place where east and west meet and they are used to having eastern music and rock music blended, they have been doing so since the 60ies. But also the rock and metal scene there is really huge. The studio there „Babajim“ is of a very high caliber with amazing acoustics and analogue consoles, but also extremely comfortable to be in. Night life is great so the band could have some recreation during such a long recording session
On „The Epigenesis“ there is a lot of oriental instrumentation; Sitars, Tars, Santurs and much different styles of percussion to name some. How do you decide which instrument would work on a particular song?
Well let me say first and foremost we are defined by the drums and guitar structures, meaning we are a metal band that have an own identity. However , we used traditional instruments in specific parts or as instrumentals . The idea was to choose instruments that have dark and eerie sounds not per se cliche stuff. We thought using real instruments gives a more organic feel than using computers or such. Well some songs needed certain feels, for example a touch of sitar to a raw black metal song that had a slight hint of an indian scale. We tried out several things and when the music felt right we gave it the green light. We played some of the instruments and guest musicians played some others such as Cahit Berkay of the 60ies Anatolian rock band ( still active) Moðollar he played the Yayli Tambour.
Can you explain the lyrical theme/s behind „The Epigenesis“?
The lyrics on this album they are my interpretations of specific Mesopotamian /Sumerian aspects, as well as I blend this with Near eastern occult. The lyric also have subliminal dual meanings.
I try to explore concepts, ideas, philosophies and paradigms so as to develop my mind and spirituality with hopes to gain understanding of the cosmos and the state of being ,
In the end, are you going to tour? Are there some dates in Germany? (I saw you 2007 on the Party.San Festival and I remember it as one of the best gigs on the festival back then, would be cool to see you again)
Thanks! Well we will be touring a lot. First week of December 2010 we got Awakening The Giants mini tour which is meant to celebrate the release of the Epigenesis album in central Europe we do have one date in Essen then January /February we hit the road with Nile across Europe (central, east , UK, Scandinavia) and then we head to USA in March/ April. We will also do some festivals.
The last words are yours!
Thanks for the interview , we look forward to seeing you all on the road!
Thank you for the interview! I hope you have as much success with the record as you deserve!