I have to be honest, as a fan of Melechesh, at least their last few albums, I had never heard their 1996 debut As Jerusalem Burns… Al’Intisar, so when this came across my desk I was more than interested in checking it out. One of this group’s biggest draws, for me, is the fact that they combine Middle Eastern instrumentation and scales with straight-up, balls-to-the-wall black metal — with a great degree of success.

Listening to this debut, after already hearing their newer stuff, might not have been the way to go. This early release, while somewhat influenced by the Middle Eastern vibes is more of a traditional black metal recording along the lines of Bathory or Marduk. It is furiously fast and heavy as hell, and Ashmedi has a howl that is, for lack of better words, unearthly — it has a way of drilling into your brain. That said, there are some bangers on here for sure, “Planetary Rites,” and “The Sorcerers of Melechesh” are so fast and aggressive that they will melt your face from your skull.

At the end of the day, though, while this is a solid black metal reissue, it just doesn’t enough have the elements I have come to really enjoy from Melechesh (though, I’m sure die-hard fans will love it!). However, it is kind of cool to see the band’s progression with greater incorporation of Middle Eastern themes on their later stuff like the two fantastic records The Epigenisis and Enki.

As Jerusalem Burns… Al’Intisar (Reissue)Track Listing:

01. Intro – 0:34
02. Sultan of Mischief – 3:51
03. Assyrian Spirit – 9:44
04. Planetary Rites – 4:57
05. Hymn to Gibil – 2:48
06. The Sorcerers of Melechesh – 4:45
07. Dance of the Black Genii – 2:22
08. Baphomet’s Lust – 3:13
09. Devil’s Night – 3:29
10. As Jerusalem Burns…Al ‘Intisar – 7:09
11. The Siege of Lachish (EP)
12. Malek Al´Nar EP

Run Time: 42:52
Release Date: February 23, 2018

Can’t wait for the reissue tor release? Stream the entire original album here.