REVIEW: MESHIAAK – “Alliance Of Thieves”
Formed in Melbourne, Australia by 4ARM‘s Danny Camilleri and Teramaze’s Dean Wells, Meshiaak is rounded off by bassist Nick Walker and drummer Jon Dette of Evildead, Iced Earth, Slayer, Testament and an honorable mention must be made for his temporary position filling in for Anthrax. Meshiaak are gearing up to release their debut album ‘Alliance of Thieves’ and if you have not yet heard of these guys you best prepare yourself for what is to come.
Meshiaak pull no punches as they completely bypass the almost expected and border line typically long winded orchestral metal album introductions with “Chronicles of the Dead”. A well paced, grooving six minute thrasher that blatantly highlights the chemistry and originality within the band. Only taking a breath to see the track come to its doomy finish, “It Burns at Both Ends” forces a fond sense of familiarity with duel guitar playing reminiscent of many of the greats before charging back into their own style. Following suit to their predecessors, “I Am Among You” features both one of the strongest choruses and guitar solos on ‘Alliance’. The quality headbanger that is ‘Drowning, Fading, Falling’ holds its own among these tracks that just continue to get stronger the deeper one gets into the record and the bands personal favourite for a potential leading single ‘At the Edge of the World’ only cements the seemingly obvious fact that Meshiaak can do no wrong, thus far!
Having just torn passed the half way mark on ‘Alliance of Thieves’, nothing changes in the best way possible as “Last Breath Taken” offers up another contender for strongest chorus and also has all the ingredients (maybe more than “Edge of the World”) for a leading single. If there had to be one, the weakest track found here would be in ‘Maniacal’ and this is due only to personal preference. The song reaches a point that it sees to have come to an end and does so masterfully. A few moments of silence pass and the band unexpectedly return for another minute of pure sluggish, fade out riff repetition that does not quite work as well as when the song had appeared to end initially. Some listeners will find great joy in this choice. Others may feel it dragged unnecessarily.
Well timed volume swells amongst some killer riffing, an epic chorus and guitar solo outro, the album title track “Alliance of Thieves” earns its place on the front of the packaging. Finally, the beautifully titled ‘Death of an Anthem’ is the album closer ‘Alliance’ deserves. With acoustic guitar at its core acting as the heart of the song, the music and layers of vocals upon Camilleri‘s already incredibly strong voice keep building and building ‘Anthem’ up until the moment the tension is pierced by the inevitable end to this incredible debut.
Supergroups come and go and the initial excitement surrounding them is usually short lived as the music usually fails to match or live up to the line up. In the case of Meshiaak, this band have formed an alliance, if you will, of incredibly strong songwriters and musicians and it shows! ‘Alliance of Thieves’ is a welcomed blend of some of the best metal has to offer and still retains a potent originality. It would come as a heavy shock if upon this release, Meshiaak were a name one had not heard of as they have written what could easily be one of the best debut metal albums in recent years.