Myrath - Tales of the Sands
Nightmare Records
Progressive Metal
11 songs (45'09")
Release year: 2011
Myrath, Nightmare Records
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

One of the interesting experiences here at MetalReviews is being able to discover bands from the places less common for Heavy Metal to proliferate. It is doubly rewarding when such a discovery turns out to be a discovery not for the exotics sake, but when the music/art presented is of the commendable quality.

The band called Myrath qualifies on both fronts. How many bands from Tunisia can you name? Even more frankly I do not think I can name many Arabic metal bands at all. Arkan or Melechesh could be mentioned, but it is much easier to create when you are an expatriate to Europe. Lebanese Ayat are the staunch defenders of black metal, but after that I draw a blank.

Myrath does not base their music on anti-religious rebellion, extreme metal with distorted guitars domination. Although relying heavily on the tunes Myrath members probably imbibed with their mothers’ milk, it is very important to say Tales of the Sands is not a gimmicky Arabic folk music made heavy. Instead, the band managed to deliver progressive melodic metal of excellent quality, into which unmistakable traces of mid-Eastern and Mediterranean music culture are intrinsically woven.

Myrath announce their intentions and make their hefty presence known from the very first chords of the opener Under Siege and pretty much do not relax for the duration of the record. I am supergenuinely impressed that Tales of the Sands does not rely on a pair of strong tracks here and there, with the rest being obvious filler. Every song on the album is strong and captivating, making the whole 45 min exposure a very pleasant experience. With the heavy and tight bottom end, the band relies on rhythmic guitar riffs with an obvious mid-Eastern twist when it gets to a harmonic part of the music. The heaviness of the riffs and penetrating ambiance of carefully inserted keyboards is a signature of just about every song on Tales of the Sands. At the same time, choruses on the album is where the hooks and catchiness come truly forward. To make those choruses float and embed deeply in the mind, the voice of Zaher Zorgatti is a perfect fit. Sometimes overlayed on top of each other, his smooth vocal lines create a polyphonic effect and complete the picture of the busy Arabic bazaar or a caravan flowing through some remote dunes (title track). At the same time production and mix, courtesy of known masters Fredrik Nordstrom and Jens Bogren, respectively, make sure that the music is presented as a whole, not simply as a meager support act for some talented crooner. It is good to have Zaher to invoke comparisons with Russell Allen or Urban Breed, but it is the overall Myrath act which astounds.

The band does indulge in some progressive instrumental inserts, but those are never overextended, and when they rely on the native percussion or more modern synth effects, they only add to the flavor. It is all about the songs in the end for every composition, but Myrath is varied with how every track will be remembered. Bonus track Apostrophe for a Legend is a more obvious rocking tune. Wide Shut gives a darker sense of drama, Dawn Within begins almost with a blast, only to resolve to become one of the most melodic and catchiest on the album. Using Arabic in choruses of the title track and Beyond the Stars confirms Myrath authenticity.

In terms of progressive power metal bent, Myrath is probably closer to Symphony X or possibly Evergrey (without the dark depression), but the most obvious comparison is Israeli Orphaned Land. The weeping violin in Beyond the Stars and percussive rhythms of Merciless Times and the title track unquestionably point in that direction. This, one more time, reinforces the ethnic closeness or Israeli and Arabic people, the common root in their evolution. It is good to know then, that the more established Orphaned Land is to embark on the joint tour with Myrath later in 2011 and help Tunisians reach broader European audience. There is hope that these two can become the ambassadors of evidence as to how things can work out where some see no hope of collaboration on any front ever.

Killing Songs :
Braving the Sees, Tales of the Sands, Dawn Within, Requiem for a Goodbye, Beyond the Stars
Alex quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Myrath that we have reviewed:
Myrath - Legacy reviewed by Alex and quoted 95 / 100
Myrath - Desert Call reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
Myrath - Hope reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
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