Melechesh – “Rebirth of the Nemesis”

We recently looked at the reception of the primordial duel of Zeus and Typhoeus, a battle for control of the young cosmos, by the Greek band Wrathblade. Today we look at an earlier tradition from further east of a similar confrontation between a storm-god and serpent of chaos, by a band that draws from the ancient legacy of their native near east. The names of many a familiar metal band are drawn from the deities of the mythology of the Tigris and Euphrates.

Discovered on a series of cuneiform-inscribed tablets in the library of Ashurbanipal amid the ruins of Nineveh in Assyria, the Enuma Elish records ancient Mesopotamia’s take on the genesis of the cosmos and the series of divine power struggles for its control. In the beginning was a vast watery expanse, a mixture of the fresh-water god Absu and his salt-water dragon-goddess Tiamat. From this original pair arose the generations of gods, including Ea, Enki, and Marduk. Absu’s sleep was disturbed by the commotion of new deities, and his plot to destroy them was foiled by Ea’s preemptive strike that destroyed him. To avenge her consort, Tiamat enlisted her son Kingu to lead her armies and let chaos rule the universe. The gods elected the storm-god Marduk as their savior. He killed Kingu in battle and the drops of his blood mixed with earth to form humans as the servants of the gods. Marduk then confronted Tiamat, the dragon-goddess, and with his net and invincible spear, snared her and ran her through. He then used her corpse to form both the vaulted firmament of the sky, and the solid ground of the earth. Thus, the creation of the known universe coincides with the victory of order over chaos, male over female, separation over unity, storm over sea, and technology over nature.

Originally from Israel but since relocated to the Netherlands, then Germany, Melechesh are known for their unique settings of middle eastern melody to blackened death metal. This opening track to their 2006 album Emissaries is one of the finest examples of this. “Rebirth of the Nemesis” envisions a reversal of the events of the Enuma Elish, of the erstwhile triumphant order returning to primordial chaos through the resurrection of order’s original nemesis, Tiamat herself. The band assigns her the epithets of a salt-water dragon, “Aqua Demon,” “Scaled Deity,” “Serpent Nemesis.” Her return is not only heralded by whirlwinds and tidal waves, but as her body no longer props up earth and sky, her resurrection necessarily precipitates total cosmic collapse, the “integration of the celestial and terrestrial.” All will return to primordial unity as the orderly separation of elements contracts.

Melechesh pen an anthem of rebellion against the world order as not something meant to last forever. “Fate was never sealed in stone.” The allure of chaos and its manifestations as a disruption of the status quo are at the core of heavy metal itself and shall always be. The cosmic tyranny of Marduk, of Zeus, or of any current establishment is doomed to fall to its nemesis ever waiting to be reborn, entropy.

Dynasty of the Salt-Water People
Time is ripe for Uruk’s typhoon
The circle is completed, the feeble is stampeded
The storm of shredded glass has proceeded

The howl of the Scaled Deity
Shrill like a whirlwind in a cave
Asserting its return
As a million lost souls tidal wave

Realized is the legend of legions
Headed by the Aqua Demon!
Tribes of the serpent – iron clad
Rebirth of the Nemesis – TIAMAT

Return with wings of liquid fire
From the desolate pre-universe
Ruling a domain much higher
You are the Creator! Are you the Creator?

Enumma Elish is re-written
Fate was never sealed in stone

The Aqua Demon once forgotten
Integration of the celestial (and) terrestrial

Enumma Elish is re-written
Fate was never sealed in stone

Returning with arrogant pride
Linking polarities of conjectures

Proclaimed on the citadels
of the Alpha post

It’s all mapped on the hand

Returning with arrogant pride
Linking polarities of conjectures

Return with arrogant pride
The Serpent Nemesis
Queen of creation
Polytheistic light

Lla Tchaf Lla min Tiamat
Enuma Elish is re-written

Queen of the universe

Lla Tchaf Lla (min) Tiamat
Enuma Elish is re-written (repeat)

Don’t fear don’t, this deity, don’t!
Rebirth of the Nemesis has been foretold
Return with wings of liquid fire
Fate was never sealed in stone

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