The 2016 Arsies: January 22, 2016

January 22, 2016 arse

Today's installment of metal mayhem is a strictly European affair, starting with Mizrahi metalheads Melechesh. Enki is a solid hour of raging fusion, pushed to the point of charming pantomime. This band rarely if ever misses a chance to go full-Phrygian or drop a maqam on your ass. Really, it's an absurd amount of flavor, but to this thoroughly Western palate it's delicious. More to the point, these guys are just so earnestly metal (from the elaborate song intros, to the swaggering riffs, to even the production tone itself) that one can't help but fistpump. The utterly wasted closing track aside, this album is retro without being overly nostalgic. It's pure, adolescent, Middle Eastern fun.
Ufomammut have always been about something entirely different. With their latest album Ecate, the Italian doom trio have fine-tuned their ever-evolving blend of sludgey deterioration and ethereal atmospherics to perfection. This time around, the band's energies are channeled less on experimentation and instead on focus, pacing, and impact. Focus is not something that Ufomammut are often accused of, but somehow they manage to use the whole carcass throughout the whole 45-minute masterpiece. Longer tracks like Somnium take you on compelling journeys that culminate gratifyingly, whereas shorter tracks like Plouton go from Zero to Filthy with a quickness. There's four minutes of pure atmosphere in the penultimate Revelation that is anything but, but the band get back to business and finish strong.
Both albums today represent the best of each band. Both albums also stumble on a single track, which of course cancels each other out. But after that's been settled, Ufomammut earn a clear win! They'll move on to the next round. Who will challenge them? Find out on Monday, when we end the Round of 32 with Ghost and Scale The Summit.

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