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Meshiaak - Alliance of Thieves Award winner

Alliance of Thieves
by JF "Thrashing Assault" Briard at 23 September 2016, 6:14 AM

Hailing from Australia, MESHIAAK (pronounced Meh-she-yuk, which means Messiah in Hebrew) is a trash Metal band composed of former 4ARMS' frontman Danny "Tomb" Camilleri, TERAMAZE's lead guitarist Dean Wells and SLAYER/TESTAMENT's drummer Jon Dette. Completing the already quite stellar line up is bassist Nick Walker. The band however evolved beyond the "classic thrash" sound and has incorporated strong progressive influences to many of the leads and melodies present on this debut album, largely thanks to Mr. Wells' experience in TERAMAZE. It's a profound and rich musical experience that should be enjoyed by a wide range of metalheads, ultimately transcending both thrash and prog… and becoming something neither of them could ever achieve alone! The end result is simply astounding!

The opener “Chronicles of the Dead” introduces us to the intriguing sound of the band and what we have to expect from them onward. The verses have some rather low pitched harsh thrash vocals and alternates with raging, high pitched vocals during the chorus sections. It is one of the more aggressive songs (with impressive drumwork from Jon Dette) and a good way to jump-start an album! “It Burns at Both Ends” has some rather exotic guitar riffs during its intro, with stellar choruses that you will definitively sing along to. Some pleasing clean vocals (with very intelligent lyrics) are also featured before the second solo. “I am Among You” has a definite dual nature; the beginning and the end being permeated with anger, while the mid section is all clean vocals and unsettlingly calm. As the quiet whispering with acoustic guitar section fades away, a very melodic and memorable guitar solo kicks in, before reverting back to violence completely. This one has a rather unusual sound, compared to the rest of the album at least; very progressive, but it's almost nu-metal by moments I'd say. While I don't particularly like this sub-genre in general, admittedly this song is the most unique and does its job of bringing more variety in very, very well. It totally took me off guard on the first listen!

Drowning, Fading, Falling” is the first single that was unveiled some months before the official album release. It starts off very calm, with an almost melodic death metal vibe, instrumentally speaking. Danny then alternates between quiet whispering and standard thrash vocals, with a brief clean vocal part thrown in, near the middle. The guitar solo is more chaotic and wild, but yet still melodic. Again, the chorus is very solid, with a lot of emotion put in the voice, especially in closure. “At The Edge Of The World” is one of the 2 ballads on the album and also the second single released as a video. It's a rather simple song, but a very effective one. There is also some hints of anger, just before the solo… which is one of the finest work done by Dean Wells in this new venture. “Last Breath Taken” is shorter and a more conventional thrash affair, for the most part… But it still features some clean vocals mixed with the harsh ones, this time in the choruses. The lyrics are another fine display of exemplary work; the same goes with the technical drumwork and the mischievous guitar solo. Overall, I think this one ranks out within my favorites.

Maniacal” is another one of my favorites and an already quintessential piece for the band. The vocals in the choruses, particularly the clean ones, are simply marvelous. The same goes with the melodic guitar solo, truly outstanding work. Jon Dette once again kicks ass, especially following the aforementioned guitar solo.  The only (slight) misstep however is at the very end; it's dragging on a tiny bit too much I think. Still, I replayed this one many times and overall, one of the better tracks. “Alliance of Thieves” is the title song… and rightfully so! This is the first song written for MESHIAAK I believe, since there exist a (now) private video that was made 2 years ago, when the project was first announced. It encompasses the whole essence of the band itself; a bridge between raging thrash and complex/epic melodies from the prog sub-genre. In the humble opinion of this reviewer, this is the true jewel of the whole album, complete with a very melancholic ending… hauntingly beautiful and dreamy! “Death of an Anthem” is the other tranquil track, with no actual thrash elements at all, instead featuring clean and acoustic guitar parts. The vocals, which are clean only, are also layered with back vocals from guitarist Dean Wells; the lyrics are truly the most hopeful and inspiring ones here. The harmonies from the vocals thorough the end are also extremely catchy and you will probably get that part stuck in your head for days after just a listen! A worthy epilogue to an already amazing album!

This is clearly near flawless… I rarely give out perfect scores, but what we have here is something very, very special… Being a thrash album at its very core, there is however many subtle nuances thrown in. Other sub-genre influences (mainly prog) have considerably developed their sound into something grandiose and epic. It's the perfect balance between melody and aggression… and it will blow you away with its originality, intensity and sincerity, both instrumentally and vocally. There is not a single bad chorus to be heard and every track sounds very memorable, which is a feat by itself, really. The album keeps getting better and better as it goes on and the quality of the music is easily on par with what the best veterans of thrash can do! This release will most probably ends up in my personal Top 10 of the year. We can definitively have high hopes for MESHIAAK's future, as the bar has been set very high now.

Production: 9
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Chronicles of the Dead
2. It Burns at Both Ends
3. I Am Among You
4. Drowning, Fading, Falling
5. At the Edge of the World
6. Last Breath Taken
7. Maniacal
8. Alliance of Thieves
9. Death of an Anthem
Danny "Tomb" Camilleri - Guitar/Vocals
Dean Wells - Lead Guitar/Backing vocals
Jon Dette - Drums
Nick Walker - Bass 
Record Label: Mascot Label Group


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Edited 02 December 2022

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