Released: 2011, Nightmare Records
Hailing from Tunisia, Myrath have caused something of a stir in progressive metal circles in the last five years, as their effortless blend of oriental rhythms and sounds with heavy metal has rarely been heard. However, this is now mere novelty act – these guys are deadly serious and write absolutely excellent metal that stands on its own. TALES OF THE SANDS is the band’s third album, and much anticipated this year.
With complex rhythmical patterns and constant time changes, TALES OF THE SANDS is undoubtedly progressive power metal, but the somehow the band manages to fit incredibly amounts of technicality into manageable song lengths; indeed the longest songs on the album just over five minutes. Once you add in the potentially off-putting (on first listen anyway) oriental elements, it becomes clear that Myrath’s music can be a lot to digest. Yet again though, the band’s song writing is such that there is always an incredible central riff that you can grasp while the song rages around you. Of course, there’s also the band’s ace in the hole – vocalist Zaher Zogati and his infectiously powerful voice. The man is in terms of both technicality and passion. Yes, detractors say he sounds too much like Symphony X’s Russell Allen – which he does, but really, if the worst thing you can say about Myrath is that the music and singer sound like those prog-metal overlords, you’re kinda grasping at straws methinks.
Anyway – at this point I think I’ve made it clear that TALES OF THE SANDS is a startlingly good album. What’s most surprising though, is the fact that it’s the two songs that are sung mostly in the band’s native Arabic that resonate strongest: both “Beyond the Stars” and especially the title track are absolutely enchanting and epic in scope, if not length. Still, there’s not a bad song in the bunch, even if a couple of the middle songs (“Requiem for a Goodbye”) don’t quite resonant as strongly as the rest. The band even shows a playful side at the end of the album with the metal-praising fist pump that is “Apostrophe for a Legend” which even eschews the progressive elements for a straight ahead power metal romp through Hammerfall/Sabaton terrain.
You just can’t help loving Myrath and TALES OF THE SANDS is the proof – I’ve been playing it non-stop for a month. These guys deserve to be huge – buy it!