Myrath: progressive metal music from Tunisia

Each one of us (or at least each one of us with a soul) can recite the bands and music we love.

Personally, I’ve been a big Maiden fan and heavy metal lover ever since I heard Iron Maiden’s Fear Of The Dark album 20 years ago. On top of that I’ve also been a fan of electronic music — predominantly industrial and its many offshoots — for the last 10 or so years.

I say that because I feel it’s a bit funny how those who may not know you so well may be surprised to find that the music you make all that noise about isn’t quite so close to your heart as the band that you’ve loved since you were 10. Yes, this is quite common. By virtue of the fact that you haven’t been ranting and raving incessantly about how wonderful your life-long favourite band is, others may think that the bands you do go on about incessantly are really what you love most. The last time this happened to me was at a black metal gig, where an acquaintance from countless EBM / industrial club nights was astounded to see me in my Iron Maiden jacket.

 My pride and joy.

Confused yet? Put it this way. Newer bands, new discoveries and hot new things inevitably get talked about (unless it’s Classic FM) wheras the old stuff isn’t ignored, just ingrained.

I can only speak for myself, but I also feel that the older you get, the harder it is to easily get really excited by so much new music. Yeah, I’m old and grey and I wish those damn kids would get off my lawn — but take a second to read the first point in this terrifying Cracked.com argument that tries to explain why all new music will suck once you hit a certain age.

So there are bands we love and naturally there are bands we hate. In alternative music scenes in particular I’ve noticed a phenomenon whereby the artists that bring out the most vitriol in us tend not to be the clearly recognisable “enemy” — commercial R&B, or anything that takes out one of the top three spots on a TV talent show.

I’ve always noticed — and I’ll conceded that I’ve been guilty of this once or twice — that it’s the artists that are most similar to the ones we love, rather than the diametric opposites, that bring out the worst. Usually this has something to do with “selling out” or being commercially successful. Metallica, Slipknot, Dimmu Borgir, Marilyn Manson, Disturbed, Korn and Cradle Of Filth all make music that is undeniably heavy, anti-mainstream and very much NOT pop music. Yet I've inevitably found that the legions of people who dislike these bands tend to hate them with far more vigour than would ever be reserved for (the affronts to good music that are) One Direction, Reece Mastin and Bieber.

And yet, you will never hear Slipknot or Cradle Of Filth on my local metropolitan commercial pop music station, 101.9 Fox FM (i.e. 101.9 this sucks). So it’s all in the eye of the beholder I suppose.

So there are bands we love. There are bands we love to hate. There are lots of bands that are quickly forgotten because they’re somewhere in the middle and they struggle to register over the strength of these powerful emotions. And occasionally there are bands that may not be one’s cup of tea but are nonetheless worth further exploration because they make music, or stand for something, that is inherently cool.

Myrath is one such band I recently stumbled upon. They’re a new progressive metal band from Tunisia of all places and they play an interesting blend of prog metal laced with liberal lashings of traditional oriental or folk sounds. Oriental folk that is. Oriental progressive folk metal maybe?

Personally, the Myrath sound doesn’t blow me away (although it does grow a little each time) but then again most prog metal doesn’t excite me. Personal taste I guess. However, fans of melodic prog metal may find something out of the usual box here. Check out the video below to see what I mean.

Someone please get them to do the music for whatever comes next in the Prince Of Persia franchise.

One thing which in my view sets them apart is, as I said, the fact that they come from Tunisia. Firstly, this gives them a moral license to play that distinct oriental sound, on top of what is most likely also a decent understanding of how it’s meant to be played, where other bands would flounder in sticky cheesiness; secondly, their heavy metal badass cred instantly goes up by several notches, what with Tunisia being where that little event known as the Arab Spring — an event which swept across half the Arab world — caught fire in 2010. Myrath lead singer Zaher Zorgatti kind of put things in perspective in a 2011 interview with Terrorizer magazine about Myrath’s (recent) Tales Of The Sands album: “That period was chaos,” he said. “Everybody was watching his neighbourhood for bad members of the old regime, and many people were killed at that time. And I was thinking about recording the album — how we would manage to finish the recording session.”

Let me state for the record that the true universal spirit of metal does not care where you’re from, what you look like, and all that — but busting your balls to record and release an album while people you know are getting killed in a country where there's a bona fide revolution going is as metal as it gets.

Finally, Myrath appear to be generally switched on in this age of instant digital gratification (except for the Twitter page maybe). I suspect that the bands that regularly update their digital presence with even half-digestible content are doing their fans and therefore themselves a big favour. For instance, videos that are a bit out of the ordinary but unlikely to appear on a ‘regular’ release tend to get the fans interested. Here’s an example…

Ok smartarse, I realise it's actually a Tarja Turunen concert. But say what you like about the
alleged prima donna antiques of the former Nightwish singer, her voice is bloody amazing.

So check out Myrath if you like your metal proggy and exotic. As I said, it doesn’t blow me into space because prog metal just isn't my thing. But if that sound is your cup of Tunisian mint tea I'd definitely soak this up.

No comments:

Post a Comment