• I believe in this band's hopeful optimism - A review of Myrath's ''Legacy / ميراث''

    Myrath - Legacy / ميراث (2016)

    Tunisian progressive power metal quintet Myrath has completed its shift from more complex structures to a much more accessible song writing with the release of ''Legacy''. Almost each of the eleven new tracks plus the opening instrumental tune is immediately appealing, catchy and has the passionate Middle Eastern signature sound that makes this group so unique. The band has once more increased its symphonic elements and folk melodies but almost each song offers some welcome experimentation. This album is both incredibly diversified and entertaining and comes close to the high quality song writing standard of Orphaned Land. Let's also point out the band's admirable message of freedom, hope and optimism that can be felt in almost each song.

    After an atmospheric, cinematic and folkloristic overture in form of ''Jasmin'', the band blows its audience away with the first single ''Believer'' which is by far the band's catchiest track ever. The lyrics are positive and powerful, the melodies find the right balance between exotic sounds and heavy energy and the chorus is extremely catchy and passionate. The epic background chants only add to the power of this track. This masterpiece makes the mysterious world of One Thousand and One Nights come to life like no other rock song ever before. The brilliant video clip is clearly influenced by the Prince of Persia video game series and fits perfectly. If you don't feel the passion of this track, you probably don't feel anything at all anymore and shouldn't bother listening to the rest of this highly emotional record.

    Those who prefer the band's more technical side, get immediately rewarded with ''Get Your Freedom Back''. In less than four minutes, the song has more ideas than other bands put inside entire albums. Technical progressive metal riffs are intertwined with airy acoustic guitar sounds that meet a dreamy fusion of Middle Eastern folk sounds and classical symphonic elements. This atmospheric brew is spiced up with a funky bass guitar solo and decent tribal drum patterns that somehow blend in very well. This exciting song sounds like a mixture of Heaven's Cry and Orphaned Land and just like these two bands, Myrath manages to sound both technically appealing and passionately catchy.

    The band shows its opposing sides in the next two tracks. ''Nobody's Lives'' is the record's calmest song and mixes relaxed melodies with melancholic tones and convinces with an enchanting chorus performed in Arabic. The guitar work and even the rhythm section take a break and let the symphonic folk elements and the lulling vocals take the lead. ''The Needle'' has a much more sinister and dystopian tone and comes around with intense power metal riffs and rhythmic keyboard patterns before the song gets much more mysterious and builds up to another passionate chorus you won't get out of your mind.

    A promising element is the way the band uses piano and keyboard sounds to its advantage throughout the entire album. The epic and peaceful ''Through Your Eyes'' becomes truly magical when fragile and harmonious piano sounds take the lead. The confident vintage piano sounds in ''Endure the Silence'' serve as an unusual yet fitting overture and coda that immediately get the attention of the audience. The more progressive ''Duat'' rather features floating keyboard patterns that recall the space metal project Ayreon. Traditional folk elements and futuristic sound patterns fusion perfectly on this album highlight. Another track that sound like a traditional Arabic folk tune gone contemporary rock song is the great bonus track ''Other Side''. Make sure to purchase the digipak version with this track that ends the album on a high note and summarizes very well what Myrath sounds like these days.

    Another standout song is ''I Want to Die'' which is clearly the record's most epic track. The Maghreb symphonic elements and soothing vocals are so dominant yet elegant that this could easily be the title track of a future James Bond movie.

    This leads me to the conclusion of my review. Myrath's ''Legacy'' is the band's most diversified, emotional and epic record and never gets boring. The only negative element is that the passionately vibrating vocals and the cinematic symphonic elements are sometimes too overwhelming. The sound of this record is at times a little bit too theatrical, overloaded and epic and the natural main instruments such as guitars, bass guitars and drums rarely stand out and sometimes even lack power. I hope the band will include a few heavier tunes on its next album that might actually loosen the ambitious soundscapes from time to time and get back to the basics in a refreshing way. Apart of this little detail, ''Legacy'' is a solid candidate for the top spots of the rock and metal music lists of this year's best records. Join the Maghreb metal revolution.

    Final rating: 90%

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