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Myrath: Tales of the Sands

Compared to Myrath's debut album, Tales of the Sands embarks on the more 'oriental' sound they established with their previous disc, Desert Call. While the first album was heavily influenced by Symphony X, featuring plenty of neoclassical guitar work and a more traditional prog metal singer, with the arrival of Zaher Zorgatti, the band has opted to create a sound steeped in Arabic, or 'oriental' as some call it, melodies and a more straightforward power metal sound with the occasional shred guitars, ethnic instrumentation, and more space alloted for Zorgatti's unorthodox yet engaging vocals. Zorgatti is as far removed from the operatic high-pitched wailers of the genre as only possible. He possesses a low, midrange voice which he utilizes to integrate quarter-step vocal lines to achieve a more Middle Eastern vibe. There is plenty of Arabic singing on the title track as well as "Beyond the Stars," which is used for bigger effect during the choruses.

Being from Turkey, I am quite familiar with these 'oriental', North African, or Middle Eastern soundscapes, so hearing the region's instruments and overtly emphasized melodies mixed into the metal genre does not impress me as much as it may impress those unfamiliar with these sounds. I like it better when the Middle Eastern element is used moreso as a separate component of the music (think Mezarkabul's Unspoken or Amaseffer's Slaves for Life) rather than dictating and supporting everything under the moniker of progressive metal. Most, if not all, of these songs are melodic power metal pieces with heavy use of keyboards, neoclassic-tinged fretwork, and somewhat extended instrumental sections. There is nothing wrong with that, as it is done greatly, but it may leave fans of Dream Theater or Symphony X wanting for more. Highlights include "Apostrophe for a Legend" due to the strong vocals (it would be great if Zorgatti explored this style a bit further), the Orphaned Land-like stretch of instrumental break of "Under Siege", the ethnic percussion planted underneath a groovy bass pattern on "Merciless Times", and the weird midsection of "Sour Sigh" as well as the partly Arabic, partly English sung pieces.

If you liked the previous album, you'll definitely like this one as well.

Track Listing

  1. Under Siege
  2. Braving the Seas
  3. Merciless Times
  4. Tales of the Sands
  5. Sour Sigh
  6. Dawn Within
  7. Wide Shut
  8. Requiem for a Goodbye
  9. Beyond the Stars
  10. Time to Grow
  11. Apostrophe for a Legend

Added: October 1st 2011
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Myrath website
Hits: 4140
Language: english

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Myrath: Tales of the Sands
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-10-01 06:03:12
My Score:

I'm not a huge fan of comparing a band's new album against their previous releases, instead being a firm believer that each should be listened to on their own merits. However after numerous spins of Tales Of The Sands, which is the third release from Tunisian band Myrath, I was compelled to go back to the band's second outing Desert Call for a refresher. My motivation for that was not to compare the quality of the two releases, but instead to check my memory. Desert Call, while infused with hand percussion, swathes of Eastern strings and on occasion some prayer like vocals, still had strong hints of Dream Theater and Symphony X holding all of those elements together. Tales Of The Sands on the other hand however, keeps bringing to mind Kamelot, albeit Kamelot with Eastern rhythms, sounds and structures.

That's not to suggest that in any way are Myrath attempting to clone the US Symphonic Power Metallers, however in terms of production, construction, vibe and especially the vocal arrangements, the similarity is at times uncanny, although not distracting. More importantly though, Myrath have achieved this slight side-step without missing a single beat, as the thunderous riffs, mesmerising ethnic rhythms and soaring vocals combine to make an album of captivating power and subtle intricacies. The overall effect is one not quite as original as their first two albums, but still there's no mistaking who this is, nor is there any other band out there right now doing something that sounds exactly like this.

It is tracks such as "Dawn Within" or "Wide Shut" that best allow Myrath to stretch out their musical scope, with the former containing a stunning mixture of traditional Symphonic style singing and overtly Eastern vocal sounds, while the latter uses the swooping strings to again bring a slice of Tunisian culture to the strident riffs and battering drums. Add to that some of the more straight ahead (in comparison) tracks like "Under Siege" or "Time To Grow" and you have an album which not only moves with ease between approaches, but also continents.

So not exactly what I was expecting, however Myrath have once again delivered a hard hitting album that, thanks to some excellent arrangements and eclectic instrumentation also contains more than enough twists and turns to fully grab your attention time after time.

Not many bands have the ability to convincingly blend styles and genres, never mind cultures, Myrath on the other hand do it with such expertise that you barely even notice. Instead you simply revel in eleven excellent tracks from one of the most exciting bands out there right now.

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