Friday, October 28, 2011

Myrath "Tales of The Sand" Review


     This is the sound of the sand transcribed into the language of metal. As soon as the first track starts and you hear the melancholic singing of a woman; the synths come and and finally the guitars transport you to a world of traditional power metal combined with Arabian atmosphere. When the rest of the album wraps around you like a dust storm in the desert you are hooked. This album is fun, it's progressive and it's simply good. Take the music of Symphony X or Kamelot, change the theme and you get Myrath's Tales of The Sand.

     Myrath is a progressive power metal band from Magreb, a region located in north Africa to the northwest of Egypt. The band was formed in 2001 under the name Xtasy when the founder and lead guitarist, Malek Ben Arbia, was only 13 years old. They honed their skills by playing Death and Symphony X covers for years before they finally released their debut album “Hope” under the name Myrath in September of 2007. The music that they play is a blend of traditional power metal in the vein of Symphony X embodied in Arabian atmosphere.

     The songs are sung by Zeher in a mixture of Arabic and English, adding a lot of diversity to the vocal delivery. Zeher himself has a really wide range, able to caress the highest notes with ease and using his accent to add another layer of Arabian atmosphere. The subject matter is a mix of myth and legend; there are songs about pirates, love, anger, and self-loathing. The song “Merciless Times” is about self-loathing and waiting too long to accomplish what you want to do in life. It's also the first single and one of the strongest tracks on the album along with “Sour Sigh” “Wide Shut” and “Beyond The Stars.” If your looking for a track to listen to before making a purchasing decision I would choose “Wide Shut” as I think it shows most of what makes the band so special.

     The best aspects of the album are the way that they integrate traditional Arabic oriental sounds with modern power metal riffs; the sparingly but excellent use of synth's and strings; and the lead singers varied and beautiful vocals. These three aspects really work together in concert to create what makes this band so unique and special. There are other bands based around similar material such as Ophaned Land, but Myrath take the sound in a much different direction. Preferring fun and fantasy to the Elegance that Orphand Land provides.

     The only fault that I can really provide is that at times things get a bit too traditional and they lose their grip on what makes them really stand out. It doesn't happen often enough to really become much of a bother but it's still worth mentioning. There are also moments, particulary on the final song “Time to Grow,” that veer dangerously close the Bon-Jovi like metal of groups like Solution 45. Other than those few minor complaints I cannot find much else to fualt. Every song has something unique and interesting and while it might not push the genre forward the band does a great job intigrating their influences and Arabian sound.  

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