Band: MELECHESH
Country: the ancient lands of Assyria...
Style: Mesopotamian black metal
Questions by: Kai Mathias Stalhammar
Answers supplied by: Moloch (guitars)


Past, Present and Future.

- The concept and music of MELECHESH started in '93 by Melechesh Ashmedi (guitars / vocs), then members Lord Curse (drums) and I, Moloch (guitars) joined in. In '95 with the addition of Cimeries (keyboards) and Thamuz (bass) we recorded the "As Jerusalem Burns" demo, the two month following the release saw the departure of Thamuz and Cimeries. In '96 a very underground German label Devilish Music Propaganda released "The Siege Of Lachish" 7'EP (with Uusur on bass, he also saw his way out after the recording), the 7'EP was limited to 666 copies and the title song illustrated one of the dimensions of what MELECHESH calls Mesopotamian metal / Assyrian black metal. Months after the release, when american label Breath Of Night Recs. wanted to release the demo on CD, we took the decision to re-record the demo tracks and to add some 4 -5 more, that lead to the "As Jerusalem Burns... Al'Intisar" ('Al'Intisar' means 'victory' in arabic) CD, co-released with Pulverizer Recs. At the present time, we have reached our goal, we have reached our Assyrian black metal, we are writing and working on newer material, in order to have the second album hopefully recorded by Summer '98. As far as for releases, well the "As Jerusalem Burns... Al'Intisar" is being released on 12'LP format by Devilish Music Propaganda in very limited copies. They are also releasing now the ASHMEDI 7'EP entitled "Cosmic Deserts" - this killer project is the solo work of Melechesh Ashmedi, which appears as an ambient atmospheric music, very mid-eastern, very cosmic, very desertish... I have no words to explain his works, but as far as personal taste, I really like what he does. We are also working on a video clip, we have recorded most of the footage, although we still need more... This project became possible as a local TV station  working on the music scene in this scum country, got very interested in MELECHESH and decided to do an episode on us, so we talked things over in order to get a video clip... hell it was a good experience, we're not loosing anything of it.... Other than that, we're also working on a website, which should be completed in a month or so... The Future... Well Melechesh Ashmedi is going to Amesterdam in one year, there he will continue MELECHESH with Alex (who was our bassist recently, he has a solo project by the name of CONSPIRACY, he left this country for Holland to live with his wife), I will most probably join them later... But all this is not settled yet, whatever happens, MELECHESH will stay alive...

Morning and Evening; Light and Darkness; Good and Evil.

- Humans have classed Morning, Light and Good under one banner and the rest on another... I believe it goes back to the ideas of the early Greeks and christians of thinking that all which is seen exists, and since in darkness one cannot see, Man placed Evil in this mysterious darkness during night time... I do not know, but there is some truth in this excpet that for me I see beyond good and Evil... I see beauty in darkness, in the night, in most of what is called evil... I do not need to have an logical explanation for this, it's just in me, an obsession with darkness, as it does not place limits anymore, let's see it as darkness being my black screen and my interior visions and "hallucinations" the light on it... I create my visions in darkness and that's why I see beauty in it - at night I can think better, I even feel better for most of the times, with no life around me, and no activity.... I feel much more confortable... But I also see symbolism in light, and I see my light through darkness, I see my light, my path in this relative infinite darkness, where my spirit exalts itself... To the Good and Evil part of it all... I know what is good for me and what is bad, I do not need a religion for that, I might perceive the christian evil as in good in my eyes. Fuck everybody, I do certainly not need an ignorant priest be it of any religion to tell me what good and what's evil, and if I commit good, then good for me, and if I commit evil, I do not fear and have no need to confess... If I did it then maybe it had to be done.

Israel, Jerusalem and Jews.

- I do not care for Israel or for jews or for Israelis, as I have nothing to do with them, and neither does any of MELECHESH members, we have different nationalities, heritage and culture.... Politically talking, I don't care, I don't want to go into the political dimension of things - it gives me a headache, so let's keep this dimension aside... As for Jerusalem, I really like this city, I prefer it to the other cities in this shit country, it's less polluted, less people, more culture, more variations... Being the heart of the monotheistic religions (and the second most important for the muslims), it is spiritually very important, me, being considered and adversary I feel pride living here, among very religious people, who make me laugh... It is not their religions that I usually mock and oppose but the followers, these humans aspire towards this divine god that they created to their best vision and not god created them to his vision... as all of them preaching peace, love among brothers, the love of the same god... ha ha ha, they massacre, bomb, shoot, slaughter each other under the same banner... When you look at religion and religious people, especially in Jerusalem where I believe you can see most of that, you start wondering what exactly leads them to this... And I know what, it's their satan which brings them to what they are, they are as much as slaves to their God, Allah or Jehovah as they are to their Satan, Iblyss and Leviathan... But as a city it's very beautiful. I personally live in Bethlehem (where that jesus christ was born), which is now entitled in the state of Palestine, but Lord Curse lives in the old city of Jerusalem, within it's old walls, the same walls which witnessed the slaughters and conquests of Empires.... the Romans, the Babylonians, the Assyrians (HAIL) to the Ottomans and now the Jews... Walls drawn with blood... But one disadvantage of Jerusalem is that as a city, there is not much life for us, Metal Heads. No Metal at all and hardly any Metalheads... but in a way it's confortable for us, as a band, we are the only black metal band, and you don't get these idiots misusing the art of black metal...

Assyria.

- Ahhhh... my blood calls.... That great Empire, some 4000 years ago saw it's might, saw it's slaves and saw Jerusalem standing under it's name and of it's national god ASHUR. It is weird but people even today entitle themselves by Assyrians, and us among them... but you see, the Assyrian Society is of Assyrian heritage but claims itself now under the sun of the Christian God, so it's slowly slowly denying that great pagan past, but I see my descendance beautiful, not where it is now... These so-called Assyrians of today don't know anything of their past, and probably don't know what their forefathers were once! That is what I focus on, like the members of MELECHESH (except for Lord Curse who is Armenian), I identify myself with Assyria. This is my blood and I believe that I have to have great pride in that, although some people might think I call towards Fascism and Racism... Oh inferior human think what you want, I really enjoy people seeing "MELECHESH MEMBERS ARE NO ISRAELIS OR JEWS" as a racist connotation or even a nazi one (as some people think of us) - I know that we're not, but hell that doesn't mean I'm against it or 100 % supporting it. I don't believe that I can bring back the past to the present - let the past be the past, but that flame which once burnt still shatters it's ashes under our feet and in my heart... HAIL ASSYRIA.

Melechesh.

- An entity of our own creation, I have never been asked this question "Melechesh", but looking at it I feel pride in what we have created, especially now, where we stand, I believe, musically alone... "Melechesh" means "King of Fire" / "Lord of the Flames" in the hebraic language... I do not know what to say more, as when asked simply "Melechesh". I believe I will have to spit most of my present life through words...
 
Music and life, image and reality.

- Well, both might in some cases be contradictory or very close... We, as artists, relate a lot to our music, and it is not just a superficial thing that we wear on us when we play or present ourselves as MELECHESH. This 'true' thing in black metal has gone too far, so one thing I apply to myself is that I am true to myself and that my music is true to myself and my creations. My music doesn't place limits for me and I don't place limits to my music. Both complete each other, our music comes from us, from our visions and feelings... We live what we play in a way, what I play shivers in my fucking spine, I vomit it from my heart... and image as in corpse paint, etc. adds to this expression. Of course, if you're asking if I walk around with corpse paint - no, I don't... but I'm a metalhead, and yes I live metal every single fucking second of my life, even if I admire other kind of music, such as compositions of classical composers... but both are very close, you see, I think of music being art, like the idea behind classical music where you have a theme and you express it through music, we do the same and that's why metal is very close to classical music (look at MEKONG DELTA), especially heavy metal and black metal, they place you in an atmosphere, in a fantasy world, of hell, satan, myth, gods, magicians, sorcerers, dragons, death, torture.... that's the basis of art in general - to transmit a world to the listener, to express oneself through art and not in simple everyday words... That's why personally I am open to painting, literature, music, cinematography... as I search for themes which I relate myself to and look for their expressions in different artistic language, read Sacher Masoch, listen to BURZUM... and feel the knife cutting through your flesh, and feel suffering turning to pleasure... that's what we want to do, when we play we go insane, we feel so much we see, and we have music to express ourselves, so of course if it's in us it's going to reflect on our image, and the latest of our fears is to be considered trendies and receive hate mail by little 14 years old kids... I know what I am, and we know who and what we are... There is of course a gap between music and reality, and reality cannot be lived like your music is.... you must work, you are forced into this fucking society, for which most people won't understand your artistic dimension, and force the superficiality upon us, "It is that weakness in man which makes him sociable and it is society which perverts him" a wiseman once said... What we do lives in us.

Insanity and genius.

- Both fit very well in most cases... Look at most artists, they are what most people call insane... but we are affected a lot by what we do and it tends to make you "insane" in the other people's eyes... it is when you hallucinate, when you're in a state of madness and visions that you can write good music, and the more you get into it, the more you feel it and fuck it makes you go insane... HA HA HA HA And fuck, how it makes you feel good... Sometimes in rehearsals and in concerts, I go numb, I feel the riff possessing me... AHHHHHH, I need a knife to calm me back down....

The future of black metal.

- Honestly speaking, I don't really want to know... Like every style, it will see it's commercial end, just like death metal did, just like thrash metal before it, and just like heavy metal, etc... Especially now... I can't stand most black metal bands today, their music is too happy, too gothic... Where is that evil you're supposed to feel, where is the originality?... Some bands started interesting things, but thousands came and did the same thing again, how many emperors, cradle of filths, dissections do you have in the scene today?... shitloads, and black metal (for most) is loosing it's meaning. Too many bands, too many losers, no originality (for the sheep that follows great leader bands), and very little metal usually... black metal is turning into gothic...

Christian myth of Jesus; the Bible.

- I agree of calling the life of "jesus" as a myth, you see, I call it more a fable.... I think that christians were such and are such of peasant thinking, they see all things superficially.... They did not know how to read between the lines of their bible, but instead worshipped it's material actions more than it's messages... Yes, it's truly might be symbolic but they are being slaves to some other humans... I see christianity just being a philosophy, a very optimistic one which is way to utopic for the human kind... Look at the bible and it's myths, the message is really nothing special (to my eyes at least), their creation epic is by far an insulting myth, and can show how blinding religion can be, that forbidden apple, according to the Bible, teaches truth, good and evil, science... and most of all a test to prove human pride. We hail Eve to have bitten of the apple and people of today should suck the blood of that apple, lick the juice of truth.... The apple was considered Evil because it was unknown and all mystery turns to evil to most human eyes. It just masks their fear, but as soon as you penetrate the evil... it turns into truth.... And what about  Noah's arch, do people bother to know that the same myth of the deluge was ripped of Assyro-Babylonian myth, the jews not only ripped of the myth, but also called that same great culture "stone worshippers"... As far a jesus of Nazareth, all the good he did is not some extravagant religious or philosophical meaning, it's simple morality, which is possessed by all of us... Simple social laws in order to keep society and human kind alive... They preach love... well, everybody can love, but if you just love, love will blind you of reality, it will eclipse the real human nature, where one will steal, lute, kill to be king... While all this happens, the christian blinded by his own love will be victim of all this... Christianity like every religion is an absolute, and the aspiring towards this absolute, but man is of impure nature shall I say, he is born of the bestial absolute, and is aspires towards an absolute of his creations, he is instable... Man cannot just love, it is simply not realistic... as much as he will love, he will hate, kill, rape, vanquish... all aforementioned things appear as a part of his nature, just like the instinct to love - is it evil? No, it is truth. Or better to say - reality, just like the bestial kingdom which man seems to feel so superior to... but of impure man, you beat that animal... of jealousy, an animal is pure to his nature, it knows it's destiny... thus know yours, and know your instability, and make of it your religion - that's what satanism in my opinion is. Not religion, but philosophy, not of absolute, but putting human nature as the god, and the teaching of how to become the king amongst kings, where one must hunt or be hunted.

Death - end or beginning?

- That is one question I have never bothered to think of. I do not believe in reincarnation or the last judgment, or whatever people think comes after death... that knowledge is above me, and above my comprehension, however I consider death to be some kind of a continuation, not an end... but that is my vision of it... I know that Melechesh Ashmedi is obsessed by this question, he even tried to kill himself just in order to see what hides "beyond", to see "after-life"....

Philosophy; eternal quest for answers which could possibly solve our life problems.

- Philosophy is the work of the brain, it can answer a lot of questions... but everything can be annihilated easily... philosophy is a vicious circle of thoughts... everlasting thoughts... neverending thoughts, questions and answers... I personally admire Nietzche, Schopenhauer.... pessimist philosophy.... I identify myself more with it... even if I am open to many others... If philosophy can solve our life problems... not really, as the brain is just one concept of the human being, but remember that he was a heart and well and an bestial instinct as well as soul... these three things can annihilate all the brain activities and can affect on one's condition in a great way... that is the instability of man, is that he is composed of elements which tend to oppose themselves, that is the beauty of man... that he can lead to inner destruction, inner torment and confusion... A simple example to illustrate what I just said, look at this fucking country, take a Palestinian and a Jew... both fighting for peace... notice that first of all they are "fighting" for peace, and that each one of them in his heart feels hate and hunger, one for revenge and one for more land... but still both think that peace is the best way, while both still feel hate for one and other... Nothing can solve what man calls problems, we are cursed to live with this, with suffering, with sadness, with injustice... it is the reality of this world, which is be far not a utopic world neither if justice, love and happiness... these are but dreams and will forever remain dreams... Even  if they exist, they are also naturally opposed.

Devil; Satanism; Inferno. Dante's view on the aforementioned topics.

- I have explained my concept of satanism above...  and why I do not like to call it religion, I have realized that religion doesn't lead to much, it places gravity into empty worlds, empty heavens and empty hells... The figure of satan and the devil is controlled by christians and jews, and people seriously fear and abhor it... to tell you the truth, I don't see something negative in it at all - for me it is a symbol, not some creature living in hell, burning people (although this a very inspiring image), it is a symbol of the animal absolute, and for me it's importance in man, man resembles much more the animal, than the god he has created... I see religion as a certain perspective that man puts towards him in order to see things the way he wants to see them, but I see reality and preach dominion, the weak shall perish under the feet of the strong... man is a wolf to another man... thus, hunt or be hunted... That's what I think of satanism - a way of thinking and perceiving this world... I see symbolism through it but not spiritualism, this I work more with my soul and practice it in the art of magick, a subject which goes away of logical thinking, material world and superficial interpretation.... This is talking from a, let's say philosophical side of things... that I am a slave to no one, but myself and my nature... As for an artistic point of view and a more deeper one, I am obsessed with this satan they have created, with hell, and it's flames, I am attracted to such visions and feelings, torture, sadism, slaughter... it has it's beauty, such subjects inspire me a lot, and that's what you have in music... We feel this hell, and put it through riffs and notes... there is nothing logical about it an you shouldn't look further, it's like it posess you in a way... It's a more obsessive thing than anything else, personally speaking. As for Dante's views upon these subjects, I have never read Dante in complete, but I saw the plans of hell that he drew, interesting material, fusioning pagan mythology with christian symbolism... his views of the inferno mustn't have been very positive, knowing the christian influence at that time, and more precisely the christian witch-hunt.

The main concept of MELECHESH.

- The main concept is to unleash music, unleash feelings and visions we have in us... to be able to share common energy to create music, to make black metal, in our own very way... And all the symbolism of MELECHESH, as being an adversary in Jerusalem, the pride of a great heritage, and the pioneers of Mesopotamian Metal.

Thrash and heavy metal; it's influence on MELECHESH and modern black metal.

- All three members of MELECHESH are deeply into heavy metal as well as thrash metal. Lord Curse has been listening to MOTLEY CRUE ever since he was 9 years old, Melechesh Ashmedi has been banging his head to SLAYER ever since he was 10 years old.... And you get to hear some heavy metal as well as thrash metal in MELECHESH, but it's natural when we write songs, there is always a dimension of it which will come... and I think for bands which have been into this music for a long time tend to use it in their own style... One thing we don't do is rip offing a riff from one of a million thrash metal bands from the '80... We are influenced by an idea and we use it the way we want to. This kind of music is fucking killer, bands such as CANDLEMASS, CHASTAIN, BLIND GUARDIAN, RAZOR, BATHORY, SLAYER, CELTIC FROST, INFERNAL MAJESTY, HELLOWEEN, DIO... fill the sound of our speakers daily...

Israelian black metal scene.

- Who cares?!... The black metal scene here is bullshit, some bands get our respect (for the very few of them), I must say that SALEM deserves the respect in this scene, all these Israeli black metal bands you hear of stopped playing... MELECHESH is not part of this scene.

Europe and America; eternal war between two antagonistic civilizations.

- Maybe, but I ask you what is America... I call it a degenerated Europe... Both want to reach supremacy over the world, Europe possessed it, and now the U.S.A does... Fuck everybody, I piss on European and American imperialism, let themselves massacre their own throats, I really don't care, politics don't really interest me... and neither do these politically superior ones.

Creative stimulation; alcohol and drugs.

- We do not use alcohol for inspiration (but for taste, and for fucking metal!!!! Arghhhh)  and none of us are into drugs, we don't need them for inspiration, inspiration comes by itself, so times, we will be stuck for months, no music is coming out of us, but then, it just falls out of us... We become high of our music let's just say, serious. Just yesterday I was in rehearsals and I was fucking hypnotized by what we were doing - you tend to see things, and feel them... it possesses you, specially in a rehearsal room, where the music surrounds you like a whirlwind, you travel into the world you musically creating... We're inspired by visions we have, by themes and myths, we manipulate all like the way we see it...

Hedonism; it's view upon Good and Evil.

- Not that I know much about the movement of Hedonism, but I know it's basic ideas, putting pleasure as the center of all things kind of fits the concept of the Laveyan philosophies on Satanism, but as for it's view upon Good and Evil, I believe good will be considered all that brings pleasure, and evil and that brings pain (be it physical, emotional, and psychological)... but I would not call this Evil, but again label it as truth, life is not only loving, and in this case pleasure, sure it is good to seek pleasure, we all do and are proud of it, be it pleasure through sex, food feast... but it would be forgetting about reality which is far from being 100% perfect pleasure wise.

Politics; uprising nazi movement.

- Politics bore me... Of course I have to have a minimum interest as it affects me, being a "citizen" but it does not go really further than this (expect if it tends to become "interesting")... As for the uprising nazi movement... good for them, it doesn't really affect me, if it is people passionate of what they do and whiling to shed blood for their own goals... good, seriously it doesn't really bother me at all, but I say on some TV program about neo-nazi American nationalists, and you had really dumb people talking with no confidence and no knowledge of what they're doing. I laugh at these kinds of people, putting themselves into something for the heck of it... it insults the movement (isn't the same thing happening in black metal?)... But I hold a very deep interest in the nazi ideologies - Hitler's "Mein Kampf" should reach my hands soon...

Nature as the endless source of inspiration.

- Yes it is, it just makes you feel good; when we went to shoot the footage in the desert, I felt like a different person (having not went there for quite a while) - the air is pure, no fucking humans running around you, no noise... All natural places are very inspiring, be it the desert, forest, the sea... it holds many energies, and many doors to worlds unknown to most...I cannot talk about it, but feel it....

Moon and Sun; worshippers of these two heavenly bodies.

- Two very symbolic bodies which portray the two extremes of this world. Worshippers... worshippers can rot to my eyes, they are weak, I will not lower myself to an astral body, mind it's energies that I use, it's beauty, and all it's qualities... I will not make a god out of it, and blind myself worshipping him.

Murder; misanthropy and philanthropy.

- Murder... I don't think I need to have an opinion on murder, it is a natural thing, actually, at the present time that I am answering this interview, there is shooting right next to my house... (!!! - ED) And imagine people only died naturally, this world would drown from it's own overpopulated countries, it is nothing to be thought of, when one wants to kill he feels it, no need to think of it, but he must know that he is responsible of what he does... it is something which completes the natural instincts of hate and revenge, people will continue calling it evil, denying it, while the world will keep on murdering... Misanthropy and philanthropy... hummmm, we are more of misanthropes, but again we are cursed humans and have a certain need of other people. We are no philanthropics and I go really insane and nervous when surrounded by many people... I really feel sick... Society places a mask on you, when you're in it, you carry that mask in order to be able to live with these people, people like us a much rejected by this city's societies... FUCK EVERYBODY....

Beauty and ugliness.

- Mind me but me head is tired of answering all this, arghhhh, especially when 100000 things are passing by in my head... to answer this quickly.... Fuck what's beautiful and suck the beauty of the ugly... If that makes fucking sense... good, as this is the way to perceive it.

Planetary rites; Cosmos; Infinity.

- "Planetary Rites" was firstly a vision of Melechesh Ashmedi which he had put on paper, by writing this trance he had, that he would not forget it, it was shortly after that he put his words through music, and composed "Planetary Rites". He is a fanatic when it comes to the 'cosmos' subject. His project ASHMEDI also deals with this infinite cosmos, and inspiration it brings upon him - it is very inspiring, thinking of the infinite, of eternity, us close minded humans, which see a limit to all, they fear it...  It is something which also covers dimensions in the occult world, thus it is very close to us, astral journeys, etc...

Hymn to Gibil; Assyrian mythology.

- "Hymn To Gibil" is a track we did in the studio while recording the album, we just felt like doing it and we did, nothing stopped us, we relate a lot to Gibil, as he is, in Assyro-Babylonian mythology the god of Fire...an element and symbol we relate to a lot.  As for Assyro-Babylonian mythology in general is very interesting, with it you find the roots of more future cultures, that followed the ones of our great past, but there is also the material side of things is that archeology didn't find as much as it did for other cultures, so you tend to have troubles finding books, and information in general... myths such as "Enuma Elish" (the creation Epic), "Tammuz and Ishtar", the Epic of Gilgamesh, are very inspiring and appeal a lot to us, actually we publish a journal dealing with our Assyrian heritage, entitled "The Order Of Mesopotamia" which also deals with satanism and Magick - we rewrite some myths through it; the first volume was been out last summer and we're working on the second one, it takes a lot of time for us, as we have the band and other things on our minds, but we didn't abandon this project.

Silence and oblivion.

- Have you ever been close to pure silence, sitting in a room without a single noise?... it's tormenting, I know the experience from being in the rehearsal room, which is an underground hall, with acoustics, so when there is no sound... it becomes like torture, but it is still beautiful, very desolate, empty, it leaves the fillings of your own creations.

... The end of all...

- Thank you for this (hell of a fucking long) interview... You can contact us at the address cited below...


MELECHESH
P.O. BOX 20346
JERUSALEM
ISRAEL