|"The Order of Melchezedik" by Chezidek [JahSolidRock]|
Now, finally, we get to take a look back at an album which I've been meaning to get back into for awhile now as one of the sitting best albums of the year thus far and one which is all kinds of interesting for so many reasons. A few years back, impressive vocalist Chezidek would link with Dutch label, JahSolidRock, and produce the single best album for artist and label in "Judgement Time", which has been deemed a modern classic on these pages. It was just an outstanding release and, again, I now hold it as the best piece of work of his career. But so many times something like that happens, it's the last link. And we're now sitting around waiting for some artist to work with some label again and we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives because THAT will never happen again. THIS, however, was a different story as clearly both artist and producer realized that, in each other, they had potentially found a goldmine of vibes, so THANKFULLY the musical union manifested again in an album which had something serious to live up to and did so without problems. Today we go back and take a look at one of the single best albums of 2013 and another step forward for a powerful pairing and Rewind! "The Order of Melchezedik" by Chezidek.
#1. 'All My Life'
"All my life - in all my days
The joy of my heart is to give Rastafari praise
Put down that burden
Ease that pain
I & I trodding Rastafari way
Mighty Jah, I King who make all good things possible
To be alone, I call when my heart is in trouble
Keeper of my soul, Jah is in control
All ye weary souls - Rasta door is wide open
The love of Jah so great
Trod up and keep the faith
No time to contemplate or linger no more
Exalt Jah name!
For He is worthy!"
The lasting impression that the opener of "The Order of Melchezedik" has made, at least for me, is just how FUN and inviting the tune is. Presumably, because of the nature of the piece, you wouldn't automatically think of such a creation conjuring up terms like "fun", but that is what leaps into the forefront of my mind each and every time I hear it these days. Why exactly? First of all is just how immediately pleasing it is. As [I THINK] I said originally, this tune is a perfect one to begin the album because it really draws you in and it just sounds remarkable -- it sounds like something which would have fit on the "Judgement Time" album -- and furthermore, Chezidek sings it in a way which almost seems like he's smiling through the entire track. And really he does it in a way that you would imagine someone would while singing about the "joy of my heart", which is praising His Majesty. BOOM!
#2. 'All My Life' Version
JahSolidRock then serve up an instrumental version of the album's first tune, 'All My Life', and it's golden. It is an absolutely lovely composition and something which, as we saw on "Judgement Time", is clearly a staple of theirs. To my opinion it really helps to showcase and define the music and just how much work went into not only writing and singing these songs, but also perfecting them, musically, down to the most minute of details. This thing could have went on for about three hours and I would not have complained at all.
#3. 'Faya Pon Dem'
In retrospect, 'Faya Pon Dem' may just be one of the sweetest brutal songs that I have ever heard in my entire life (another good one like that is 'Annihilation' by I Wayne and Icoflamez) ["TOTAL ANNIHILATION! Straight to the morgue I ah send dem!"] [WHAT!]. On one side, it is delightful! The vibes of this song at least match the best work of Chezidek's entire career and, as a listener, it just makes you feel good. HOWEVER, it comes through beneath the 'umbrella' that is the singer is… kind of pissed off. He's clearly exhausted of evil people plying their evil trades and he's long passed the idea of reform and rehabilitation and is ready to wash them all away in an unforgiving stream of flames. But, again, if you listen through 'Faya Pon Dem' in a cursory and casual way, you may not get all of that, but what you will get is something still damn impressive (and an instrumental of this one would have been LOVELY!).
#4. 'Search and You Will Find'
… Through my first spin of "The Order of Melchezedik", the tune which took top honours is the one which still does that for me, the MAMMOTH 'Search and You Will Find'. I now consider this one somewhat of a 'prequel' to 'All My Life'. On that tune Chezidek spoke about reveling in this greatest joy in the world, the love of His Majesty, but here we find him talking about how you arrive at that point. The most compelling aspect of the song, for me, is that lyrically Chezidek suggests that what is being searched for is already owned, and perhaps even inevitable if the right steps are taken:
"IT IS SOMEWHERE THERE INSIDE"
"THERE IS NO PLACE THAT YOU CAN HIDE"
This is just BEAUTIFUL writing and when you take that concept and develop within a downright ROYAL riddim which is what you find here, you have a song well on its way to being a classic and its journey there won't be a long one! DAMN!
#5. 'Rain Come Falling'
'Rain Come Falling' is just a fascinating piece of work and one which definitely hasn't left my thoughts from the first time that I dug into it. I now look at it just a bit different from the way I first did, but essentially the same. To my opinion, the idea of "rain" isn't an inherently negative one. When you look at a song like this which talks about things such as "rain" and "dark clouds" and "thunder", metaphorically you almost naturally think the writer is talking about something bad and the mood of the song is also somewhat slower and moribund (WHAT! Yes, I just successfully used the word "moribund" in a sentence!) (…at least I think that I did) and somber, but I do not actually think that this was intended to be a sad song because the "rain" is something to be respected and even loved at times -- the farmer, obviously, loves the rain -- and instead it really is a commentary on life: The good and bad.
#6. 'Jah In Our Heart'
"It'll always be a fight
If you really wanna reach the heights
You keep on pushing -
For whatever you're looking - it won't come over night
Are you wiling to pay the price?
To make that sacrifice?
You work til you're dripping
You can't be quitting
Find that overdrive!
As long as you're living you can make it happen
Trust in Jah and keep on doing your thing
Jah in our heart!
Everything is possible
Whatever you want, you can accomplish
Victory from the start-
Only with self-confidence
Whatever you want is already given
It's no easy road
Babylon make life so difficult
Inna mental prison and you just can't get out
THE DOOR IS OPEN AND YOU STILL CAN'T STEP OUT
Wiseness and knowledge!
Jah give I the courage
TROD FURTHER THAN THEIR BOUNDARIES
King Selassie I never give up!
Marcus Garvey never give up!
IF YOU DOWN, YOU BETTA GET UP
Can't hold back Jah powers -
Like a river damn ah buss!"
#7. 'Tumbling Down'
BOOM! I definitely enjoyed 'Tumbling Down' from the very first time that I heard it, but I now have an even greater appreciation of it these days. Besides the wonderful and fairly self-explanatory sentiments expressed here, what you simply cannot overlook in regards to this tune is that riddim! I mean… it's one of the best on the album, without question, but I think it ranks even highly beyond just a one record. It's fantastic and Chezidek, for his part, doesn't disappoint on the moment and serves up an incredible tune to go with the madness behind it.
#8. 'One Family'
While 'One Family' may actually be the best written song on the whole of "The Order of Melchezedik", it is also one of those rare cases where what takes precedence and seems to stand out most are those lyrics, which can kind of overwhelm something else very nice with this song. 'One Family' has this great simplicity to it which actually, at least at some points, can fuel those lyrics. The middle portions of this song are SUBLIME and are so, partially, because you hit this point where delivery doesn't seem to be a priority and you find Chezidek sitting there saying what he has to say. It sounds like nothing special, I'm sure, but if you've heard this song, I'm sure that you know precisely what I'm talking about - an amazing song!
"When they call for mercy, do you hear?
Or do we only love those who are near"
#9. 'Plant A Tree'
Next, Chezidek tells us all to 'Plant A Tree' and do our own parts, respectively, in beautifying the world. At the same time he finds a way to scold those who have harmed it as well and what eventually happens is that this song becomes a very diverse and complex social commentary specifically dealing with the environment specifically. This song wasn't one which seemed to get a great deal of attention and when I heard it I didn't think that it would, but if you've tuned it in completely, you don't need someone like me to tell you how good it was… though I don't mind doing it anyway
"How will it work?
The green paradise dem turn inna desert
They robbed the earth of all the greenness that cover
Will we prosper?
The fertile soil and the wetlands --
Now turning into landfills
The rivers and the mountains now running down inna little stream
When the sun get hotter, to the highest degree
TELL ME WHERE YOU'RE GONNA RUN TO, TO FIND A LITTLE SHADY TREE!"
#10. 'Praises To Jah'
As the album's first single, 'Praises To Jah' has well gone onto become one of the biggest and best regarded tunes from it and even if it were another song buried amongst the rest, not given the slightest bit of the spotlight, it would have still earned such acclaim. The song is nearly perfect and, as another praising piece, it is quite distinguishable from other similarly vibed pieces on the record. This one has more of an edge to it. While I wouldn't necessarily call it 'aggressive', I don't think that it is far from it either and a better word would be 'confident' (more on that later) and that confidence comes pouring through on a nearly perfect creation.
#11. 'Hail Up The Roots'
And finally, Chezidek brings us all together with the wonderful 'Hail Up The Roots'. Here, the vocalist takes a trip and takes all of his listeners with him throughout current Afrika and its history as well. The song, obviously, was made with a dual intent as it not only brings up a whole heap of knowledge, but it also is music to make you feel good and be encouraged and be proud as well. It does all of those things and more.
#12. 'Rootical Reprise'
The 'Rootical Reprise' keeps the vibes of the previous tune going and though it isn't an instrumental, it is, arguably, something even more. It's a fun track to listen to and seriously adds to the overall enjoyment of listening to "The Order of Melchezedik".
So, if you have yet to pick up the latest release from the well impressive and reliable Chezidek, "The Order of Melchezedik" (what is taking you so long?!) you're really running out of excuses not to. Looking back now, as I alluded to, I think a large piece of the attraction to this one is just how well it is presented and that is something which is unique to great artists. In my mind, you do not (or you should not) sing about loving your woman in the same way you sing about giving praises and the ills of society and protecting and defending the land. There should be some difference in tone and delivery and emotion, but that's not always the case and with someone who has such an organically unusual style that Chezidek does, it isn't something that you always notice, but this collection of songs is a master class of how it should be done. If you pay a good attention - you'll notice it here and you'll also notice a release which is, easily, one of the year's finest and a more than fitting followup to a magical album.