Melechesh's geography which involves being a thrash/black-metal band from Israel comprising Armenian, Assyrian, Dutch, and Ukrainian musicians who've relocated to Europe makes for an interesting story, but it becomes doubly curious when you consider that the band's material fixates on ancient Mesopotamia. These are no Sumerian dilettantes, either: With album number four, Emissaries, Melechesh has reached the apex of a creative vision that's part Mesopotamian history, part Near Eastern musicology but mostly just awe-inspiring. Face-peeling blast beats aside, Emissaries' opener, "Rebirth of the Nemesis," is more Arabian folk than thrash-metal, and in the similarly droning melodies of "Ladders to Sumeria," the two-act "Deluge of Delusional Dreams," and the Sumerian-adapted cover of the Tea Party's "Gyroscope," Melechesh proves it can write albums that are both catchy and brutal. That's not saying fans of 2003's harsher Sphynx won't worship Emissaries: Despite having to fill the big shoes of old skinsman Proscriptor McGovern (Absu), new drummer Xul is the meter-shifting, velocity-pushing detonator that makes the new material explode. Sadly, where world domination is concerned, he and his bandmates face hurdles bigger than lineup shifts: They're venerating the cradle of civilization as the West is overtaking it.