Answers by guitarist and vocalist Ashmedi after the recording of "Sphynx"





-What improvements do you see comparing "Sphynx" to your previous "Djinn"?
Beside a technical and songwriting improvement because we, as musicians have rehearsed a lot, we can say that the new material sounds fresher as the songs for "Djinn" were written on ideas come from 1996 to '99. Moreover we see things better now, there was a liberated process like never before. The record is a bit more aggressive and this time we didn't think: "Can we put this or not?". This time we had no limitations.

-Are the Bible or other religious/historical books a source of inspiration?
We're mainly inspired by literature and radio and Sumerian civilization themes.

-Is the use of Arabian, Iraqi, Armenian patches in "Sphynx" due to musical studies?
We're self-taught musicians except our drummer, we learned those patches ourselves.

-Your style is extreme thrash and black and in 3 songs of your latest CD you remind me of Exodus. I know it sounds funny, but I wonder what you think about it...
It's not funny, it's a great compliment. I'm 28 and I lived the Bay Area thrash scene like you. I'd define our style as black thrash with Mediterranean patches and even some classic metal elements, we call it Mesopotamian Metal!

-Your line-up seems steady now...
Yes, me and Moloch are the original members and in '96 our bassplayer Al'Hazred joined the band at the time of our first album till now. Proscriptor has been with us since '99, so it's already 4 years.

-Some find suspicious that you came out after Nile became popular with their old classical instrumements and historical lyrics...
I and Nile's voc. are good freinds and we keep in contact and discuss about our lyrics, instruments, etc., yet I think it's a bad comparison, because they talk about Egypt and we about the Sumerians; their first album came out a little before ours, but our first demo was released before theirs. Before them other bands had lyrics about Sumerian themes or Necronomicon like Morbid Angel...It's just somebody who didn't go deep enough and didn't study the story of the band who says this; it's like comparing a Celtic band with a Viking one. Finally, fans of Dying Fetus like Nile too but not us.

-Well, I both like you and Nile and Dying Fetus!
That's because you're a fan of extreme metal (Yes and not only, I'm a fan of all metal and a lot of other styles and I think many people lose a lot by listening to one style only as already stated in my biography/Note of Markus).

-Whose was the excellent idea of a multimedia CD?
It was mine and our webmaster's; he's the brother of our bassist and has been following us since the beginning. We did it to give value to our listeners and buyers, and it's the first CD rom by Osmose.

-Why have you decided to operate in 3 different countries (NL, F and USA)?
For many reasons; Moloch has been in Holland since '98; I've been in Jerusalem for 5 years and the other five in France with Al'Hazred; remember I'm an Armenian and there's a strong community here. You already know that Proscriptor is from the USA.

-I've been searching about an explanation of your name in vain and I'm sorry for asking you this question you must've heard a million times...
It's not a surprise you haven't found it as it's a word formed by the mix of 2 (Hebrew?) ones that you can't find on any dictionary; it means 'Kings of Fire'; we wanted an occult and magical name different from the typical Latin-based word that many can easily copy and change a little for their bands.

-Are you ever gonna write a song in Hebrew?
I can speak some Hebrew, Arabian and Syrian, maybe in the future we'll use some for a song or just a part of a song.

-Like Megadeth used to do with a song?
I can speak French very well!

-Yes, but I don't think it'll sound too good in your songs, ahah, so we'll wait and see. What about the Israelian metal scene? Do you have any bands to recommend us
I'm not in contact with that and I haven't been there for some years; I don't know it well, I know it's improving and there're some good bands like Salem, but I don't feel apt to be the spokesman of that scene.

-Do you use traditional instruments live as you did on the CD like Daf, Riqq, Darbukka and Saz or just samples of those ancient instruments?
We used them as cosmetics and we haven't been on stage since '98 because we wanted to be concentrated on "Djinn" and prepare the video. We used Mediterranean percussions live on an instrumental song only, "As Jerusalem Burned". We haven't talked about it much.

-Last time on stage in '98?!!! 5 years ago. It's quite rare nowadays; were you not afraid many could forget you meanwhile?
Yes, if you play live the popularity grows the double than with other means, but we were too busy on that stuff.

-And as to scene backgrounds, lights or effects live? Will you just be concentrated on the music?
It'll depend on the opportunities, the kind of schedule, money...Of course we have ideas to increase the right atmosphere in the audience.

-As you're a Mediterranean influenced band, did your old records have more success in Latin countries like Italy, Spain, Greece or not?
I thought it'd be like you expect now in the beginning, but we were well accepted in Italy and we had good sales in France too; a huge response came from the media in Germany and the USA.

-Some funny or weird episode happened on or off stage?
So many as any band has, from some guys backstage to me wielding a whip on stage; the people were screaming and were afraid; it was enjoying like when I was holding a huge scimitar live; the public was afraid I might decapitate somebody like in an ancient battle. And so on.

-Any side projects?
I don't have anymore as I wanna focus on Melechesh exclusively; our drummer has many of different styles.

-A final message to your Italian fans?
We want to come and see your area if you know what I mean, play there and meet our supporters. Thank you Markus for the interview!


The Sphynxologists of Melechesh are

Lead ,Rhythm Guitars & Lead Vocals

Lead & Rhythm Guitars

Bass & Vocals

Drums, Percussions & Vocals

Keyboards Al’Hazred and Ashmedi
Percussive work (Daf, Riqq, Darbukka) by Ashmedi, Moloch
Saz by Moloch

GUEST MUSICIANS:Backing vocals on ‘Apkallu Counsel’ by Niclas Rudolfsson
Guitar solo on ‘Purifier Of The Stars’ by Andy LaRocque