The strangest shit happens sometimes, and one of those is taking place right now. I’m getting ready to tell you about the new record from black metal wanderers Mehenet, and there’s an old episode of “Murder She Wrote” on where they’re in New Orleans celebrating Mardi Gras. I had planned an intro completely different than this, but sometimes the universe pulls bizarre tricks, and here we are.
That area also has been ravaged by yet another hurricane, and people again are having to scramble to just survive, and we hope for the best for them, and please donate if you can. We’re here to discuss Mehenet, a force that, according to their bio, has a personal connection and dedication to Quimbanda, the Afro-Brazilian diasporic belief system based around magic, rituals, and offerings. It separated from Macumba at some point, taking on the darker, more black magic aspects of the religion. It also rejected the Catholic and Kardecist spiritual elements that penetrated Macumba. On their haunting second record “Ng’Ambu,” Mehenet works in sounds, samples, and music from the French Quarter, bringing you not only into the band’s home but also to their belief system to which its members have committed. Featuring members of members of Thou, though we do not know which ones, the band—vocalist/lyricist Algol, guitarists Nehushtan and Cernunnos, bassist Matr’el, drummer Acheron—inject their fiery passion and cataclysmic personality into this album that it takes a toll on you mentally, but in a refreshing way.
“Dona Sete” starts with percussion awakening souls, chanting enrapturing, and the guitars slowly dawning, like the sun poking over the horizon. Then the burst happens, and the world is engulfed in fire and lust, speeding with manic jolts and clobbering fury, returning again to chants that send fire down the spine. The vocals mangle as the playing increases the fire, maniacal energies sicken, and the flames are choked out, though the embers still crackle. “Horse to the Earth” is spirited, featuring noises from the streets, accordions dancing, and then the world is absolutely devoured. Slow mauling increases the bruising while the growls splatter, and suddenly it feels like the walls are moving. The playing punishes and sends dangerous surges, leaving you grasping for any modicum of safety.
“In the Garden of Suicide” catapults with black metal fury and a mangling pace that leads you into a darkened mash, with clean calls tingling your brain. The guitars increase the heat while the drama builds, smashing and jostling everything until it finally bows out. “Whom God Did Despise” opens with bells chiming, the drums hypnotizing, and the body slowly emerging, rumbling beneath the earth. About three minutes in, the earth is cracked, the lava spills furiously, and the pace jerks you back and forth. The vocals darken as the shouts pummels with cries of, “I am the image of my father who rides on black wings, who pecks at the rib of Adam, hear the echo of my screams!” The track increases the intensity, devastating and flattening until the final venomous stings. “The Mystery of Nations” closes the album with black metal rivers racing, rage splattering, and things somehow taking an even darker turn. The playing smashes as savage growls break through with Algol howling, “Step out! Look in my eyes, see the stolen fire of your life, torn out! Get out!” The guitars send the mind sprawling, and the animalistic finish sends ghouls and spirits drilling into the crust.
For as many times as bands call their regular shows rituals, Mehenet is a band that actually creates music designed to rouse the spirits and deliver magical offerings. The furious sprawl of black metal on “Ng’Ambu” definitely doesn’t feel like just an album as the music can swim and burst in your brain, making you see ghosts move and energies rattle your skeletal structure. This record is one that hasn’t let me go, refuses to let me settle my brain, and only relents once I agree to align spiritually and follow that black path into the night.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Abomination718/
To buy the album (vinyl to come in 2022), go here: https://gileadmedia.net/products/mehenet-ngambu-cd
Or here (cassette): https://stygianblackhand.bandcamp.com/album/ngambu
For more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/
And here: http://www.stygianblackhand.com/