Mekigah - The Serpent's Kiss Album cover

From this recording you can tell that Mekigah is a musically literate project. Part concept album, part pagan elemental allegory, this is a formidable undertaking that demands more than just a cursory background listen. The arrangements lend a great deal from metal’s classical music roots – thematic variations, melodic reprise, infectious lied-motif, operatic story telling and lots of volume.

Upon first listen I was struck by the density of this recording, the constant presence of sound. Whether it is the sustained notes of the guitar or organ, the tinkering of the keyboards or the über lush production, at times I felt as though I was drowning in the sound – craving a breath of silence. While I know this is metal, and an initiatory tale as well, a bit of space and the odd smack in the ear with the more percussive use of over driven guitars would have been the black icing on the wedding cake for me. That being said, there is little to fault the power of this album.

The accompaniment is solid and sustaining, deft in its execution, if a little too dense at times. But the real stars of this dark story telling are the vocalists, who add excitement and texture to the musical journey we undertake.

Led by the powerful and evocative strains of Sam Star, as Eve, whose gorgeous celtic warbling seduces us like a psychopomp leading us into the underworld, we are further treated by a cast of characters from Dave O’Brien’s pleading Lucifer, seeking power and redemption, to the voices of the four elements whose job it is to inflate, consume, drown and devour our heroine whilst keeping their respective vocal chops intact.

The journey each voice adds to the elemental texture is admirably cast with Unbeliever’s larynx shredding growl in Trial by Fire, and the superb elemental theme reprise and medley of Revelation two of the album’s highlights.

This is a satisfying listen and an admirable debut, and I can see Mekigah pushing the envelope in the complex genre of Metal further in the future.