Myrath - LegacyMyrath makes what they call “Tunisian metal.” While this is a totally legit way of framing it, it’s also fair to say that they really make a kind of orchestral power metal laced with the sounds and stories of North Africa. Despite having debuted in 2007, I’ve only previously listened to 2010’s Desert Call. It might be that I had just gotten to the album directly after reviewing the absolutely transcendent The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR by Orphaned Land, but the album didn’t stand up for me and I didn’t really follow up on them. Legacy marks the band’s first album since 2011’s Tales of the Sands and five years has done these Tunisians-by-way-of-France (or French-by-way-of-Tunisia?) a hell of a lot of good.

Legacy is unashamedly poppy. There are times when I’m feeling like I’m listening to metaled-up versions of future Eurovision-winning Azerbaijan songs. That this isn’t meant as a slight, though, likely says uncomfortable things about my metal cred.1 It’s tough to deny that Myrath does an excellent job of blending “traditional vocal styles”2 and sounds from their Tunisian heritage with the swooping Arabian orchestras and a power metal base. But similar to Yossi Sassi‘s post-Orphaned Land material, there are times when Myrath lands firmly in MENApop,3 which can be slightly disorienting for the avid metal fan trying to protect his precious metal cred. “Endure the Silence,” which starts with Casablanca piano, has an addictive bridge and an epic chorus. The album’s second track “Believer” has a hook so sharp that Max Martin probably called them to give them props.

Myrath also drives into film score territory with remarkable alacrity. The intro to “Through Your Eyes” could be the soundtrack to a Hollywood blockbuster (likely involving mummies and rampant orientalism), while “The Unburnt” sees them shooting for the heavier side of their sound with the opening riff, but rock an artful, orchestral bridge here. And throughout the album the band knocks out interesting musical moments; technical, but poppy, walking the fine line that is so hard to navigate. Reminiscent of Angra‘s Secret Garden the songwriting here is remarkably strong. Despite being poppy, it doesn’t lose its swagger with repeated listens. Legacy never feels like a sugar high. Rather, it’s the kind of album that the band just simply crafted to perfection. Each song is razor sharp and immediate, but surprisingly deep.

Unfortunately, Myrath is way too invested in a hypermodern production sound, including borderline Amaranthe/Stratovarius tinkly techno keyboards lacing the opening track and other parts of the album. The production is dense and clean, giving the MENA-pop tag meaning in a way little else could. I love well-produced albums, but there’s something that feels artificial about this level of polish. Second, while the album clocks in at an hour, it doesn’t feel too long. It also doesn’t feel so much like an “album” as a collection of songs. Rather than making the ebbs and flows work with the tracklisting, there are moments on Legacy where I would actually look up to double check that I was listening to the same record. It’s slightly jarring at times, and it suggests that the band could probably have dropped a couple of the slower tracks (“Duat,” for example), or some of the heavier ones, to double down on the slick feel.

Myrath 2016

Of course, Myrath is a band loaded with talent, rendering the production to not much more than a fly in the ointment. But that fly still draws attention away from the instrumental tapestry. Because of the tonality, the bassist Anis Jouni and the new drummer Morgan Berthet become musical decorations—Berthet even delivers a killer performance, which possibly peaks on “Endure the Silence.” But they blend into the background, never being given room to shine. Rather, the focus narrows in on keyboardist and orchestral director Elyes Bouchoucha’s gorgeous arrangements and Malek Ben Arbia’s stellar shredding. Both the keys and guitars offer context to and bolster Zaher Zorgati’s dynamic vocals. Zaher is Legacy‘s star without a doubt. While the production guarantees this, his vocals would shine without it. The vocals balance between Jasper Steverlinck’s (Guilt Machine) purity and poppy poise and early Russel Allen’s range and growl. Zaher, however, throws in an extra twist by blending in traditional vocal inflections which really define Myrath‘s unique sound.

Taken as a whole, Legacy is an album that sets a high bar for Myrath‘s future releases. It’s slick, well-written, fun to listen to, and laced with awesome performances. Legacy ain’t gonna get you metal cred—no, your true metal friends will definitely mock you mercilessly for enjoying this—but if you like your music driven, fun and catchy, with that amazing Arabian orchestral style punctuating the music, Legacy fills that niche.

Rating: Very good!
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Nightmare Records
Out Worldwide: February 12th, 2016

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Note, however, that the Azerbaijan song that won Eurovision was totally fucking miserable. So bad. What the fuck Europe?
  2. BTW, if the type of vibrato used in “traditional vocal styles” from the MENA region has an official name that someone would like to tell me, I would very much like to know. Use the comment section with a gusto!
  3. Middle East/North Africa Pop. Like J-pop, except not from Japan. Also, to be fair, more metal. And less girls in pink wigs and bloomers.
Share →
  • Darren

    I still haven’t managed to purchase this yet, even though Tales of the Sands is one of my most played discs of the last few years (which I was extremely late to the party with as well). I’m pleased to hear that Legacy is high quality stuff as well.

    • dellers

      It’s the most consistent album I have in my collection. I really like each and every song, so it’s probably the best purchase I’ve done in many years. Highly recommended!

  • Oscar Albretsen

    That song didn’t have me exactly jumping out of my seat, but it wasn’t bad or anything. Definitely an Orphaned Land feel, and that band was also one I was iffy on the first couple times I heard, but “Time and patience turns the mulberry leaf to silk,” and I really enjoy Orphaned Land now. I’ve got a feeling this will really grow on me, too, as everything about the music (performance, production) is very high quality.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    By the way, AMG – please go back to the number reviews! You’re killing my brain here!

    • Scionyde

      Very Good = 3.5 according to his number chart at the top of his page. :P

      • Oscar Albretsen

        The score is on the bottom of the page. That chart is on the top of the page. Look at what I’m being asked to do!

      • El Lado Oscuro

        Maybe ‘Very Good’, but with an exclamation symbol, might means 3.75…

        • [not a Dr]

          It just means he’s saying it loudly: 3.5!

    • As much as I like the numeric rating, the term “very good” should be quite understandable for anyone versed enough in English to read the review in the first place.

      I do like me some exotic flavors in metal, and as such, this is good music, and the video for Believer is fantastic. Unfortunately it becomes a wee bit to power(puff) poppy for my taste.

      • BaboonKing

        Yes, the pop leanings in Believer are quite strong (still a good song, and a fun one live). Haven’t heard the rest of the new album, so I can’t comment on the rest of songs in there. But may I suggest you check out “Tales of the Sands”, their previous album? It’s slightly heavier/proggier than this, and pretty good overall. Search YouTube for “myrath beyond the stars” for a good taste.

        • Sounds a bit rougher ’round the edges for sure. I’m a bit more of a Melechesh person, but I must admit that I did enjoyed Orphaned Land last album a little bit.

  • sssgadget

    Great album. Very catchy I must say!

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Not bad, almost as good as Anthrax’s new album…

  • robpal

    Good album, quite catchy, but I liked their previous records better, especially “Tales Of The Sands” which was heavier.

  • I love Tuareg rock, Bombino is amazing. Is this like that?

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    “Less girls in pink wigs and bloomers.”

    I’m gonna have to give this one a pass

  • Blueberry Balls

    I’ve cracked your code, you sly dog.

    5.0 – Perfect
    4.75 – Excellent!
    4.5 – Excellent
    4.25 – Great!
    4.0 – Great
    3.75 – Very Good!
    3.5 – Very Good
    3.25 – Good!
    3.0 – Good
    2.75 – Mixed but good
    2.5 – Mixed
    2.25 – Not the best
    2.0 – Disappointing
    1.75 – Poor
    1.5 – Bad
    1.25 – Really bad
    1.0 – Embarrassing
    0.75 – Really embarrassing
    0.5 – Pathetic
    0.25 – Shameful
    0.0 – Worthless

    • Ehhhh? Not so much. Also your Avatar is super NSFW and I’m super at work right now. Goddammit man.

      • Blueberry Balls

        Ugh, sorry mate.

  • TminusEight

    Those dancing girls in the breakdown…

    • Here’s Johnny

      Not to mention a smoke solo….a fucking smoke solo.

  • Ronnie James Dio Linnane

    sounds like maroon 5…awful

  • Gingersami

    “BTW, if the type of vibrato used in “traditional vocal styles” from the MENA region has an official name that someone would like to tell me, I would very much like to know. Use the comment section with a gusto!”

    Here in israel its called a “Silsul”(סלסול) which is translated as a trill or a curl,but isnt the same thing from what I have heard.

    • Any idea why it isn’t the same thing? I think it’s a beautiful and unique style. Kobi from Orphaned Land definitely uses it from time to time as well. But, of course, it’s more associated with North Africa for me. But I know dick about music from the MENA region, so that’s probably just me being ignorant.

      • Gingersami

        Vocal trill is the term i find when i look it up in Hebrew,although the few examples ive heard of the trill sound just like any other vibrato and nothing like what kobi or other middle eastern singers do.
        Curl is more of the literal translation of the word from Hebrew to English.
        From what i know this singing style isnt exclusive to middle eastern/north africa/arabic countries and also has its roots within greek music.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      The extent of my knowledge about vibrato has to do with the difference in styles between classical North American/European singers and Slavic singers. Slavic singers often have thick vibrato (some would say “wobbly”, or “thick enough to drive a truck through”), while North American/European singers tend to have very tight vibrato.

      You comment has piqued my interest, though. I just might do some Googling!

    • Ryan-James

      That vocal technique is called Melisma. It is used to varying effect worldwide, but is very common in Arabic music.

  • Henrik Christensen

    There’s just so much great metal being produced all over the globe. I look forward to hear this in its entirety! Would also like to recommend Nine Treasures, a folk metal band from Inner Mongolia, and Al-Namrood, Saudi black/folk metal. Great music!

  • Choodi

    I have really been enjoying their previous album Tales from the Sands. Compared to the sample tracks above, it’s a little more ‘metal’ and I think stronger for it (helps with the ‘metal cred’ too).

    Definitely going to reserve my judgment until I give the whole album a try though.

    Plus, you’ve gotta love the Prince of Persia-inspired film clip.

    • I guess I need to check Tales from the Sand. I might be more open to it. I guess I thought that the previous record I heard was way too Dream Theater inspired and not enough of the folksy stuff that I like so much.

      • Choodi

        Definitely check out Tales from the Sands then. Plenty of the folksy stuff, but with a nice hard edge to it that i thought was a little bit lacking in the sample tracks here.

        • Levly

          I agree a 100%, Tales from the Sands is my favorite record from them and it’s less poppy and more Metal, without too much DT-style wank. And there are actually even more sections sung in Arabic with nice vocal acrobatics (for instance on the title track) so you should enjoy it :).

      • PS-RagE

        I’ve always felt Myrath to be more of a Symphony X clone with a middle eastern sound (as opposed to DT).

        • Hm, maybe. But I don’t think they’ve got Symphony X’s grind. So maybe the prog parts strike me as more DT than SX because SX still kind of has a heavier feel to them.

          • PS-RagE

            Similar to Adagio (what happened to them?) with the older, more progressive style (better)

      • San Eutocio

        Do it, TotS is a great album, where metal meets the arabic/north african/whatever influences with brilliance. They made a nice mix, with catchy song and good musicianship.

        I find this new album, mellower and not as intrincated. Enjoyable but nothing like the previos one, and I do enjoy their first 2 albums too.

        It was clear to me durign their live show, when they palyed the 2 songs form TotS the band has to put a lot more effort into their instruments, step their concentration up to paly the stuff correctly.

  • Feytalist

    Who needs metal cred when you’ve got music this catchy.

    Been listening to this for a while, and yeah it’s great. It’s very slick, yeah, and that can detract from the metal a bit at times, but I love Myrath enough for it not to be a huge problem. Plus we can always use more African metal.

  • tomasjacobi

    Interestingly, the vinyl version is a single LP with only 8 tracks and a runtime of 38 minutes.
    Vinyl: 1
    Bands refusing to edit: 0

  • AnnieK13

    From what I’ve heard so far this is a tad on the ‘fluffy’ side for me. It is catchy but….still I did find myself listening to the sample tracks all the way through.

  • Hammersmith

    I’m just going to go ahead and spin Mabool this morning.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Anyone know where one could find a digital download? The link to Nightmare Records isn’t working, and while Google returns a hit for a bandcamp page, the page is no longer in existence

    • Lance King

      iTunes and Amazon of course :)

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Right. I should have thought of that. Need more coffee, I guess. Would be nice to hear a stream, but nothing on Spotify, at least in Canada. Thanks.

        • Tom Hardy

          Spend on some good Canadian albums instead mate. Parasignosis, Obscura or the whole Gorguts discography, None So Vile, Blasphemy Made Flesh, Whisper Supremacy, City, Dimension Hatross, Truth Beyond…, Apocalyptic Dawning, Reign of Lunacy to name a few.

      • Lance King in da house!

        • Monsterth Goatom

          First Tom Hardy, now Lance King. How long until Obama shows up? “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the hard working Metal musicians that make this country great.”

          • Difference being this is the actual Lance King.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Yep. ; )

  • Zadion

    Duat is one of the best songs on the album, man.

    I agree with the review otherwise though. Super good collection of songs, but I never listen to this as a full album otherwise I get bored. I also recommend Tales from the Sands, which is much more proggy when compared to this. They sounded way more like a Symphony X clone with Middle Eastern folk influences on that one than a straight up MENApop band like with this one.

  • TminusEight

    “Are you going to buy it?”
    … Yes!

  • Sidenote, for fans of Middle Eastern sounds:
    Blaak Heat will be releasing their album Shifting Mirrors via Svart Records on April 15.
    It’s more of a psych rock thingy, sort of in the alleyway of The Doors, with Arabian tonalities.
    I got the promo yesterday, but I don’t review rock. Now, at least, I’ve “spread the word”.

  • Innit Bartender

    I’ve been listening to this ever since your “push” in the last ROTM, and although musically is totally my plate, the vocals are the weakest link in this chain. With all the respect in the world, the singer lacks any kind of “gravitas” and “truth” in his delivery, souns so bland to me like some guy auditioning for a Helloween tribute band but totally not being into it. It kills every song. A pity because the music is very good.

  • Bloated Goat

    Disappointing when compared with their older albums.

  • Tom Hardy

    That band picture was funny enough but I saw the rating and decided to check out the embedded track. AGM, you’re losing your touch. Check out Khaled’s Di Di. Came out 25 years ago and it’s a lot better than this. Myrath’s like Gods of Egypt, proof that high production and crappy CG don’t make the product good.

  • Tofu muncher

    I’m loving the crisp sound. Myrath and Narjahanam (check this wicked band out, AMG d’uh) nicely fill the niche for that beautiful middle Eastern music I grew up with heh.

  • Tom Swinnen

    Very late to this party, but must say that after Tales of the Sand I’ve been waiting so long for a new Myrath album (am also still waiting for an Amaseffer album, have given that up a long time ago)… But now that it’s here, It’s even better than I hoped. More mature and diverse than Tales… and equally catchy. I – love – it. Must buy for me.

  • Curter

    what’s the name of the song playing at the beginning inside the store in the music video (believer) ?

  • Ryan-James

    That vocal technique is called Melisma. It is used to varying effect worldwide, but is very common in Arabic music (amongst others).