Myrath - Legacy

Myrath Legacy cover
Verycords/Nightmare Records
Myrath (pronounced Mee-rath) and actually meaning “Legacy” in Tunisian (making this a bit of an eponymous album) have been going on for some quite time quietly, but effectively building their audiences initially in their native Tunis and via a simple crossing of the Mediterranean (mostly) to France where they have given a large number of shows, impressing the metal heads there and Stateside on Progpower. Their third album “Tales from the Sands” had both introduced them to a sizable enough audience outside their country but also amassed a number of great reviews. On “Legacy” the band takes the style they had pretty much perfected on “Tales...” to the extreme, with the results, oh well, being rather mixed, this time around (don’t read that as: bad)…
“Jasmin” is an splendorous and quite epic intro that segues into “Believer”, the first single (with an almost “Prince of Persia” video clip) of the band that while being quite catchy and heavy, probably goes a little overboard with ornamental, eastern instrumentation, to the point it feels a little cringe worthy, but ultimately works quite well.
“Get Your Freedom Back” retreats a bit, into the style that the band had previously, but again, there’s a quite ridiculously up-tempo rhythmical background (to the point of almost showing off midway) that does feel a bit alien to the melodies. I also have to say that in trying to get the mix perfect, the band has managed to reach a great compromise, but since they seem too set on having strings and keys quite loud and upfront a lot of the time, the whole thing tends to sound a bit brittle and overtly bright not to mention a bit of a tirade because of the whole show off aspect.
This holds true even for “Nobody’s Lives”, a half eastern flavored prog – half rocked up amanes (sorrowful/grieving) song… complete with a pretty nice solo that however really eased itself into becoming a quite firm favorite.
“The Needle” tries to be almost soundtrack like and takes too long to actually “begin”. Again the extremely upfront percussive nature of the mix is very prominent and while it’s expertly performed, it’s a little hard to fathom at least at first.
Similarly, “Through Your Eyes”, a little faster and more guitar centric, suffers pretty much from the same issues, plus portion of the guitars, believe it or not sounds like it has been lifted from Rondo Veneciano’s “La Serenissima” with some very subtle change towards the end. Bizarre, I must say and likable, but quite derivative. (Whether this was done subconsciously or not, I dunno)…
While “The Unburnt” continues down the same path of in your face, all the time, over-compressed mayhem, it’s at least quite variant and thus it keeps the listener quite engaged. Really I had to turn the volume a little down to appreciate the music – I’m sure a little less loudness would have greatly aided this type of mix.
Even on “I Want to Die”, which is an almost ballad, the band refuses to go for a more acoustic instrumentation with only the guitars really subsiding to play a secondary role. Still it is an interesting enough composition that would however probably work much better in a completely acoustic setting.
Myrath are not the first band to write about “Duat”, the Egyptian underworld… but I must say that their approach is quite authentic as they seem to strike a good balance between the “ethnic” instrumentation and heaviness on this one.
Thankfully the almost “cabaret” piano intro to “Endure the Silence” lasts only for a little bit, giving way to a more appropriate set of “ideas” to lead the song, but again the song seems to borrow a few key melodies by Westworld’s (TNT/Riot/Danger Danger sort of supergroup) “Limbo” from their sophomore “Skin”… which is a little disappointing.
“Storm of Lies” might begin with a highly syncopated part that also sounds a bit derivative of “Heaven on their Minds” as soon as the main riff begins, but soon enough it comes into its own realm and it manages to be one of the better attempts of the band on this album, both progressive, melodic and heavy enough…
And finally “Other Side” is another “good” track, quite heavy on the eastern paragon, but managing to incorporate its western influences quite harmoniously, sounding like something that Kamelot might have included on “The Fourth Legacy” if they were a little more “exotic”.
I must admit that “repeated” listens of the album did endear most of the songs to me, heck the band is talented (no question about that), but I do think that the band’s own desire to go the extra mile on this album has probably led them to over-complicating something that could have been a lot better following a much simpler and more “organic” approach.
Ultimately, “Legacy” is a way more intricate album than “Tales...” and it feels so much harder to appreciate it straight away. It will reward you if you give it enough time, but you might feel somewhat disappointed if you don’t give it sufficient time. If you‘re a “first timer” you‘ll probably be impressed by the “novelty” of their sound but flabbergasted by what’s going on... for the “fans/believers” however it might be a slightly different story. Don’t get me wrong, Myrath are still one of the most interesting bands out there bringing a much needed wind of change to a largely stagnant scene, it’s just that this release is not the “insta-classic” “Tales…” was proven to be. It’s different and different people will probably have their own slightly varying opinions about it.