MYRATH has been through a lot over the years: their home country of Tunisia has undergone periods of severe oppression in the last couple of decades, they survived a revolution, and their appearance at ProgPower USA XIV in 2013 was almost derailed by lost equipment and delayed travel. Despite all of that, they’ve never looked back and continue to work hard and release some excellent albums. The new disc, Legacy (out now on Nightmare Records) is one of the best releases of a very young 2016 and is going to be hanging around on a lot of top ten lists by the time the year is done.
They self-describe as “Oriental metal”, and while there are some definite influences along those lines, they’re really an amazing mixture of Middle Eastern traditional music, progressive and folk metal, and even a little pop mixed in here and there to provide an extra hook or two as needed.
Malek Ben Ariba’s guitar work is flawless. I was blown away by his playing live, and remain as impressed on the new disc. He’s got some amazing solos and never-ending riffs, and I really can’t get enough of it. He’s complimented perfectly by the keyboards of Elyes Bouchoucha – the interplay between the two of them really makes the album work more than anything else – color me blown away.
Anis Jouini (bass) and Morgan Berthet (drums) provide an excellent rhythm section. While Anis’ bass playing stays mostly in the background and supports the guitar and keyboards, the drums really come out in the mix in all of the right places and fill their spaces perfectly, and in some places it sounds like he has at least three arms, if not four.
Zaher Zorgati’s vocals tie everything together, and his voice is amazing indeed. He’s a master of the middle vocal range, and his slight rasp really adds some bite to his singing. Songs like “The Unburnt” have an epic feel as a result of his power, and he mixes more traditional metal singing with a Middle Eastern flair that, at times, is almost evocative of the Islamic call to prayer in its timbre. He’s a unique talent and rounds out the band perfectly.
Some favorites from Legacy are the previously mentioned “The Unburnt”, “Duat”, “Believer”, and “The Needle”, but every single track is a winner in these ears. I can’t stress strongly enough what a great album. Even if you’re not a huge fan of progressive metal (which I am most certainly not), there’s plenty of diversity and creativity to satisfy just about anyone. Give it a try, and chances are that you’ll be swept away by MYRATH, like I was one night a few years ago in Atlanta.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM – This is a solid album of the year candidate!