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Myrath - "Legacy" (CD)

Myrath - "Legacy" CD cover image

"Legacy" track listing:

1. Jasmin
2. Believer
3. Get Your Freedom Back
4. Nobody's Lives
5. The Needle
6. Through Your Eyes
7. The Unburnt
8. I Want to Die
9. Duat
10. Endure the Silence
11. Storm of Lies
12. Other Side (North American Bonus Track)

Reviewed by on February 12, 2016

"There is a true beauty to those North African desert sands. The thing about sand – it gets into just about anything...leaving 'Legacy' filled with fine grains of culture and artistic wonder."

Oriental metal….Middle Eastern folk metal…Arabic symphonic metal…Aladdin power metal – whatever you want to call it, there are but only a few machinations of progressive metal that can instantaneously pique my interest. Only one of them stands tall among them all – this one. Myrath blew the doors off the subgenre back in 2011 with “Tales of the Sands” and ever since there has been an agonizing and painful wait for new material. The hype has never been more real when the band unleashed the brilliant new video and introduced the world to “Believer.” The year is young, but the only thing that can possibly top “Legacy” in 2016 is a new Orphaned Land album.

There is a true beauty to those North African desert sands. The thing about sand – it gets into just about anything...leaving "Legacy" filled with fine grains of culture and artistic wonder. Take those Arabic influences and blend them into a heavier style of music and you will reveal the true beauty and power of heavy metal. It’s no secret that blending any style of music with metal will make it instantly better. Metal provides the added punch and conversely is given depth of style and culture by its adjunct. Myrath is a master of the craft and “Legacy” will be the band’s defining and enduring moment.

Songs that are heavily influenced by the band members’ personal culture represent the highlights of any Myrath album. Here it’s the wide open powerful “Believer,” the very danceable and jumpy “Get Your Freedom Back,” the mid-paced almost prayer like “Nobody Lives,” and the daedal workings of “Duat.” The use of violins is remarkable throughout, intermixed with Elyes Bouchoucha’s masterful and unique keyboard work. Add the powerful Zaher Zorgati, who adds complex rhythmic structures and tense tones with his vocals (check out 3:28-3:58 of “Nobody Lives”). There are standout performances by all involved, including the brilliant bass play of Anis Jouini, who is as distinct as any of the greats (check out his work at 2:00 on “Get Your Freedom Back”).

One of the best features of “Legacy” is the way Myrath keeps true to Middle Eastern tradition with baroque sophisticated build up right into a stunning tarab with the chorus. The style is insurmountable and has the very daunting effect of being too good – leaving the listener agape and a bit hopeless in the face of its labyrinthine intensity. Perfect example is in “Endure the Silence” – a track that features all the finest ingredients Myrath has to offer.

While much of the focus lies on the orchestration and oriental nature of “Legacy,” it’s easy to overlook the deceptive heaviness underlying it all. Riding beneath the waves of tangled elegance are the riffs and striking solos of Malek Ben Ariba. Check out “The Needle” and “Storm of Lies” – two of the album’s heaviest and best. Even within the punchy positive “Get Your Freedom Back” lies a covert fat riff. Songwriting is key here; the blueprint high on melody and low on boredom.

Myrath has truly crafted something exceptional and the style is something I hope will stay composed by a select and unique few (Orphaned Land, Amadeus Awad and Amaseffer come to mind). An explosion of like acts will only serve to water down its value and stunning impact on the listener. “Legacy” is masterful in weaving the technical with cultural influences of the band and the production (handled by Adagio keyboardist Kevin Codfert) is top notch. Myrath has raised the bar and it’s going to be very interesting if anyone can catch up.

Highs: Symphonic oriental metal that is perfect in both its cultural aspects and songwriting.

Lows: Zero

Bottom line: 2016...meet your Album Of The Year - "Legacy" cemented.

Rated 5 out of 5 skulls
5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)