MELECHESH opening for SEPTICFLESH and KRISIUN with EX DEO and INQUISITION at the Annex Wreckroom (794 Bathurst), Friday (October 12), doors 5:30 pm, all ages. $25-$30. RT.
In a few short days, Melechesh will fly to North America to begin the Conquerors Of The World tour, which sees the Middle Eastern black metal band open for headliners Septicflesh, masters of towering, bombastic Greek death metal, and Brazilian death metal legends Krisium.
Immediately after that tour finishes, they'll get on a plane to Europe for a month-long stint with Marduk. That means that on Halloween, they'll perform in San Antonio. And on November 1 Copenhagen.
When I reach guitarist/vocalist Ashmedi, he's energized by and slightly manic about the task of planning for two consecutive tours.
"The airport is literally 10 minutes from my house in Amsterdam," he says, "and even though we are landing there before we go on to join Marduk, I won't even have time to see my place.
"It's busy, but that's the way we want it. Right now, we want to play as much as possible."
Ashmedi's deftly juggling the schedule but admits to having got just a few hours of sleep - starting at 9 am. "I ate breakfast, then I slept," he says, in part to keep up with the pace of things and to deal with merch designers and promoters in different time zones.
Melechesh's music sounds like something a Sumerian warlock might write, yet Ashmedi is articulate and composed in conversation. No surprise. For all the band's mysticism and vicious sounds, they're educated and intelligent; Ashmedi holds an MBA, and guitarist Moloch has a Ph.D.
Ashmedi is also the band's manager, and has found ways to use the business acumen and skills he earned from working at record labels to make the band both an artistic outlet and a viable business. That requires constant dedication. He admits that he doesn't take vacations.
"Even on the beach, I make sure I have a wi-fi connection so I can keep working."
Melechesh have built an extreme-music career through sacrifice, reordering their lives around what is, for them, vital expression. As Ashmedi points out in his often brutal autobiography (released as serialized instalments online on a variety of websites, with an english translation on Decibel), they've had to overcome many barriers, including those that came with being the first signed non-Israeli band from Jerusalem.
Their desire to create black metal left them estranged from some family members and friends, and they were accused of "dark cult activities" by authorities. Ultimately they chose to relocate to Amsterdam.
Ashmedi admits that he often self-censored during the writing process. "I didn't want to depress people or be too controversial. Still, it was therapy for me. I did not need a counsellor. You were all my counsellors."
With their desire to create burning as brightly as ever, Melechesh return to Toronto, the first North American city they ever played, reinvigorated and with an even deeper and more intimate relationship with their fans.