Today, Earth is not the only thing that is scorching. Mehenet has announced their latest album NG'Ambu and we are here with the premiere track “The Mystery of Nations.”
Hailing out of New Orleans, LA, Mehenet, the five-piece Mehenet has a fairly limited discography. Being active since 2014, the band has four releases (two singles, and an EP from 2014) and a 2018 full-length. Though this latest record is going to be a doozy. NG’Ambu, as a whole, is going to be a lot more than what you hear here.
“The Mystery of Nations” is a straightforward, fiery, aggressive slice of a song. The track gets moving quickly and stampedes forward. In fact, the track has a kind of punk-like attitude in its motion. There is some melody to the track but it all feels more like a deliberate conjuring. As Mehenet put it:
"This song contends with a spirit of vengeance. The decisive moment of enacting revenge is a dance between cunning and calculation. This song deals with the survivalism required to assimilate and corrupt the devices of your enemy against themselves. The weaponization of their religion, magic and customs against themselves. The sovereignty it requires to steal your enemies life, and make it into a libation. The core of this song was written after an ecstatic moment experienced while drinking from the skull of a confederate soldier. The atonal quality to these riffs is intentional. The deliberate discomfort of the tone reflects the mocking gesture of derision: ‘I will wear your mask, I will smile like you, and you will invite me in for the kill.’”
The added context puts a lot of weight behind the track. The deliberate concentration on slaughter paves a straightforward path that leaves only a little room for the melody found later in the track. And as it swells, the song gets more vicious. It is a scene brought to life.
NG’Ambu is meant to evoke visions like this. As Mehenet also says:
"All the songs on the new album are inspired by a couple traditional pontos cantados sung for particular Mavambos. We have meditated on what these powers mean to us with regards to our own unique experiences, struggles, relationships, and from there fashioned the songs both as an offering and as a manifestation of those forces."
This song is but one part of what’s meant to be a whole hymnal around Quimbanda, an Afro-Brazilian diasporic belief system. The album also uses samples of sounds and music from the French Quarter of New Orleans. Get ready for this one. It scorches in that black metal way, but it also evokes a very different kind of ritual. Preorder below.