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4.17 | 36 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 2011

Filed under Progressive Metal


1. Under Siege (4:28)
2. Braving The Seas (4:20)
3. Merciless Times (3:28)
4. Tales of the Sands (5:19)
5. Sour Sigh (4:58)
6. Dawn Within (3:31)
7. Wide Shut (5:25)
8. Requiem for a Goodbye (4:23)
9. Beyond the Stars (5:15)
10. Time to Grow (4:02)

Total time: 45:09


- Malek Ben Arbia / guitar
- Zaher Zorgati / lead vocals
- Elyes Bouchoucha / keyboards
- Anis Jouini / bass
- Saif Ouhibi / drums

About this release

Release date: September 26th, 2011
Label: XIII Bis Records

Thanks to colt for the addition and adg211288, diamondblack for the updates


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siLLy puPPy
Now THIS is some seriously good Middle Eastern / Metal fusion. I can't think of a more successful hijacking of a sound, meaning they sound like the Symphony X of the Sahara with their seriously delicious brand of prog metal blended perfectly with the Middle Eastern rhythms, scales and harmonies of their native Tunisia. The songs are seriously catchy, original, entertaining, melodic and powerful.

This band is quite talented knowing just how to mix it up. They really have a knack for the prog metal element which puts newer long established acts to shame. Moments when they choose to drop the metal and just let the accompanying congas and female vocals shine in the light for a while are part of the compositional brilliance that this band delivers consistantly. Both guitar and keyboard solos are found that add virtuosic outbursts at times.

This album really adds to their already rich fusion formula. I really look forward to their hearing future releases. If they can shed the blatant Symphony X sound and find their own then this band will surely earn the crown of top prog metal act.
Myrath play a style of prog metal inspired by Symphony X and mmmmaybe a little Dream Theater, but enrich this with influences from the music of their Tunisian homeland. Whereas some bands might slip in music from North Africa or the Middle East for flavour, Myrath are no tourists - these are musical traditions they know inside and out and they are able to truly integrate them into the structure of their songs rather than toss these cultural allusions in as an empty affectation. On top of that, their mastery of progressive metal is also laudable, throwing in just enough bombast to get their point across without getting tediously heavy-handed. On the whole, this is a mature album which will hopefully give a higher profile to this hard-working unit, though to be honest I find the prog metal influences they work in a little by-the-numbers and kind of hope that they will lean a bit more heavily on the other ingredients of their sound in future releases. In particular, if they can produce prog metal that is fully infused with traditional stylings, rather than simply existing alongside more traditional music, they'd have something amazing on their hands.
Although it's a fairly established fact that Africa does not have the world's most abundant metal scene, an increasingly global economy has allowed plenty of excellent bands from exotic parts of the Earth to see greater commercial success than ever before. One band that has benefited from the modern age of internet communication and economic globalization is Tunisian progressive metal act Myrath. Though their country is currently in political turmoil, they've managed to see an impressive amount of recognition from metal fans worldwide with their third album, Tales of the Sands. And well-deserved recognition it is, indeed. Myrath's unique blend of melodic heavy metal, progressive metal, and traditional Arabic soundscapes immediately sets them apart from other prog metal acts on the scene today, and the fact that they have plenty of technical chops to back it up makes their music all the more worthwhile. Tales of the Sands is a highly successful effort that is both adventurous and professional; fans of progressive metal who are willing to hear the genre convincingly mixed with Arab influences are going to find lots to love on this record.

At the surface, Myrath's root sound can appear to be roughly similar to bands like Symphony X, Royal Hunt, Anubis Gate, and Kamelot with a few Arabic tendencies thrown in, but this is actually a rather false speculation. Rather than taking the established progressive metal formula and sprinkling Middle Eastern flavorings on top, Myrath instead takes both styles and puts them in a blender, thus allowing the two radically different genres to be thoroughly integrated into a style that can only be described as the band's own. Tales of the Sands is also a very heavy album, especially by your 'traditional non-growling' prog metal standards. The riffs chug along with a clear influence from more extreme variants of metal, the vocals are dynamic and powerful, and the drums frequently veer into fast double-kick sections. In spite of the distinctly modern brand of heaviness displayed by Myrath, they never lose sight of melody throughout Tales of the Sands - most of the songs are rather straightforward from a structural standpoint, but the melodic and catchy choruses keeps the band's 'formula' from ever growing stale. Of course, the spellbinding riffs will have an irresistibly headbanging effect on most metalheads, but I think it's the way these spectacular riffs are melded with memorable, yet entirely cheese-free, choruses is what will truly make this a memorable album for years to come. As nice as it would be to see Myrath venture beyond the five-minute songwriting format, they have obtained such a level of mastery on this style of composition that it's tough to complain.

Tales of the Sands is also incredibly well executed from all fronts, and the sleek production is probably what will immediately jump out to many listeners. The powerful, meaty sound perfectly complements the masculine metal riffs and progressive arrangements, and whilst it may be a bit too polished for some listeners, the quality of the sound is objectively spectacular. The musicians in Myrath are clearly quite experienced, and the tight rhythm section is arguably the band's finest asset - the downtuned, chugging riffs set the backbone for all of the tunes here, and they are simply hypnotizing. Zaher Zorgati's melodic and powerful vocals deliver every melody with precision and emotion, and his mid-ranged singing style consistently suits the mood of the music. His voice bears resemblance to more 'masculine' power metal vocalists like Russell Allen or Ralf Scheepers, but he still manages to sound like himself throughout the full album.

This is a memorable and professionally executed observation from Myrath, and there's really not too much to complain about when we're talking about an album with this level of quality. Tales of the Sands shows a creative young band with the ambition and ability to succeed in the crowded progressive metal climate, and I'm sure their heavy, melodic, and eclectic take on the genre will please many fans of the style. This is a truly excellent album, and I'll play it safe right now with a big 4 star rating. I may raise it even higher sometime in the future, but as of now Tales of the Sands still stands as a near-mandatory purchase. This is one of the most recommendable progressive metal albums from 2011.
Conor Fynes
'Tales Of The Sands' - Myrath (8/10)

Over the past few months, the world's eyes have been set on the Arab world, with breaths held in anticipation of the rapid political changes that are taking place. Myrath is a progressive outfit emerging from one of the region's smaller nations, Tunisia. Being the first metal band in the country to ever reach a wider audience, Myrath (the Arabic word for 'Legend') have engaged audiences already with two albums of top-tier progressive metal, fusing Middle-Eastern traditional musical influences in with their brand of melodic metal, much as the more established band Orphaned Land does. With a unique mixture of sound, excellent songwriting, and great execution, Myrath's 'Tales Of The Sands' is a fantastic album in its own right.

Being someone who was under the impression that exciting melodic prog metal died around the turn of the millennium under a blanket of Dream Theater clones, it has been a huge refreshment to hear a band that may be doing something similar to the legends of the genre, but are putting a validating new angle on their sound. Before listening to what Myrath had to offer, I was admittedly fighting a doubt that this could be a run-of-the-mill power metal band, using sounds of their homeland as a gimmick to pull in listeners, but as is fairly rare for my experience with metal music, I was proven wrong. While progressive power metal mixed with Arabic music sounds pretty much as one might expect, the Oriental sounds in the music are infused superbly in with the metal, not sounding contrived, but instead as a sincere element of the songwriting.

As far as Myrath's overall sound is concerned, I could most easily compare them to the neoclassical power metal titans Kamelot, except with the obvious replacement of European classical influence in favour of Middle-Eastern music. 'Tales Of The Sands' is a noticeable lean away from the Oriental sounds when compared to their earlier work; the Arabic music is still an integral part of the music, but its presence is more moderate. Without this main draw of their sound though, Myrath would still be an upper tier melodic progressive metal band. They do sound quite a bit like bands like Symphony X or Kamelot, but the whole thing is done so well, and unlike so many melodic prog metal apostles, Myrath knows how to make it heavy . The guitar parts here are chugging and low in many parts, especially on a track like 'Sour Sigh', which moves from a dramatic symphonic intro to a series of dark and heavy riffs that makes you think there could be a growl around any corner, but Myrath sticks to the clean and melodic vocals.

Zaher Zorgatti really a magnificent vocalist, and while at times he sounds like a pretty standard power metal vocalist, its his ability to do the metal vocals and traditional Arabic vocals with equal strength. The metal instrumentalists here are excellent, with a particular applause going to the rhythm guitar sections, which manage to sound larger than life. The Middle-Eastern sounds here are also much more than the gimmick I thought they might pull; it really sounds like authentic Arabic music has been mixed in with the metal. It's the Oriental influences which take the album from being great to being excellent.

There's really not too much I could complain about when it comes to Myrath's third album. The songwriting is all top-notch, even when the band ends their album on an AOR note with 'Apostrophe For A Legend'. It would be great to hear this band take their exciting blend of styles past the four or five minute mark and compose something even more ambitious, but Myrath's work is consistent and expertly produced. This is a great album from Tunisia's contribution to the metal scene, and I've been pleasantly surprised by this band's sound.
Myrath, a metal band hailing from Tunisia, have really been making a name for themselves within the metal and progressive communities since the release of their debut album Hope in 2007. Although best classed as a progressive metal act, Myrath also includes in their sound many influences from traditional music of Tunisia, which also sees them often included in lists of so called oriental metal acts (or if you’re like me you can just bundle them under the very board term of folk metal). Tales of the Sands is their third album, released in 2011, and it sees them incorporating even more traditional influence into their sound that also includes strong power metal influences.

Listening to this album it’s not hard to hear why there’s been such hype about Myrath. Not only do they know how to make a great metal track with strong riffs, great solos and plenty of punch to get your head banging but their traditional influences really make their sound just that bit more unique within the field. Deep down Myrath takes many cues from Symphony X, in fact the album Hope sounded pretty much like Symphony X homage, but with the group’s second album Desert Call (2010) Myrath began to develop their own identity. Tales of the Sands sees the sound that Desert Call began come into full fruition, and the result is Myrath’s best album yet, an absolutely stunning gem of prog power/folk metal that is also extremely symphonic.

Zaher Zorgati certainly has just the right sort of voice to lift Myrath’s music to great heights. He is one of those singers whose voice has a noticeable accent to it, which works in his favour for the Tunisian flavoured metal. His vocals, though he often displays the capability to do some really great power metal style vocals, such as in the extra catchy chorus of album gem Merciless Times for example, seem more orientated towards the traditional melodies. It’s most definitely the right choice and his vocals complement the music perfectly, but he also knows when to deliver in a more metal orientated way. The variation in his performance is great. Elsewhere on the album there are also some additional female vocals, which are actually the first vocals heard.

The songs on the album are generally short by progressive standards, meaning that Tales of the Sands is most definitely a song based progressive metal album. Myrath included some lengthier compositions on their first couple of releases but the longest track to be found here is just shy of five and a half minutes. Although overall I would say that Tales of the Sands does sacrifice some of the band’s progressiveness of Hope and Desert Call to make way for even more Arabic sounds Tales of the Sands is still most definitely classable as a progressive metal album. The traditional sounds are often used in such a way as to make the music progressive, such as in Wide Shut. There are also some electronic keyboard sounds from Elyes Bouchoucha on occasion, which are in contrast to the atmosphere created by the traditional sounds, but somehow don’t sound out of place.

The way Myrath produces metal anthems such as Merciless Times, Braving the Seas and Under Siege as well as highly progressive tracks like Wide Shut, Requiem for a Goodbye and Beyond the Stars is a clear showcase of just how the band has hit their stride and perfected their sound. Given the strengths of their first two records I was expecting another exceptional release from Myrath, but in Tales of the Sands the guys from Tunisia have given us their first masterpiece. May it be the first of many.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scored at 9.5/10)
Arabian sounds blended in with powerful metal riffs create a mesmirising journey.

Occasionally one hears an album that surprises for its sheer innovation. Myrath's "Tales of the Sands" was an immediate love affair for this reviewer. The music is absolutely stunning in it's originality and sleek powerful arrangements. There are truckloads of distorted metal riffs to divulge in, but the real drawcard is the way the band integrate Arabian/Tunisian melodies and instruments into the mix creating a sound that is unique and compelling. Right from the start on Under Siege, there is no mistaking the fact the band are staying close and true to the style of their country, and not only is this commendable, it is refreshing as this makes the band stand out among the plethora of other metal acts rising up. The female vocals are present on some tracks and overall the vocals are well performed, clean and powerfully delivered. The music is very listenable and quite complex utilising killer riffs and crunching time sig shapes using full blown metal blasts. There are fast tempo sections, blazing guitars, hammering drums and frenetic keyboards all balanced with strong melodic metal.

Braving the Seas is a fine example of the style of the band. The time sig shifts are terrific and the pace varies throughout. Zaher Zorgatti is an excellent vocalist, perhaps as good as any metal vocalist I have heard over recent years. He sings in English making this very accessible yet the style remains as oriental as anything you will hear from Tunisia. There is an Arabian feel throughout the album and this is noticeable especially on Merciless Times. The melody is infectious, particularly the fractured guitar riffs and wonderful keyboards by Elyes Bouchoucha that sound like Arabian violins.

On the title track Tales of the Sands the Tunisian flair is even more prominent and the massive bassline by Anis Jouini is powerful. The female vocals soar across all the metal rhythms, and it actually captures a Middle Eastern atmosphere. The keyboards match the distorted riffs and there is a divine lead break with some fret melting speed work from Malek Ben Arbia. It ends with an acoustic outro culminating in an amazing track that I could listen to numerous times and never tire of.

Oriental violin sounds begin Sour Sigh that are joined by devastating riffs and the accomplished vocals of Zaher Zorgatti. It builds in an intense chorus and some heart pounding rhythms. The riff at 3:38 is mesmirising and the lead break is sensational, serving to lift the track to another level. It reminds me of Dream Theater or Symphony X at times; dynamic metal with incredible vocals.

Dawn Within is a heavier track at first that settles into a moderate feel in the verses. There are fast paced passages balanced with melodic metal. At 2:03 minutes in it locks into a choppy riff and then is followed by the insane lead work of Malek Ben Arbia. The drum patterns of Saif Ouhibi are intense and expertly performed.

Wide Shut is one of my favourite tracks with strong Arabian keyboard violin sounds and guitar riffing. The complex time shifts on this are quite astounding. I recommend this track to all those who want to try the band for themselves. It encompasses all that makes this album great and unique. The lead break is dynamite with high squeals and frenetic speed, and there is a fabulous keyboard motif that the guitars riff along with. It even has a quiet section that showcases the gentler vocal expertise of Zorgatti.

Requiem for a Goodbye follows another dynamic synth line and Metallica like riffing, and a crunching hammer of guitar chords leading to a melodic chorus. The double kick drumming of Ouhibi are relentless. I particularly like the way the keyboard violins balance off all the distortion. Once again the lead break is scorching, super fast speed picking and sweeps, traded off with keyboard flourishes, similar to how Dream Theater take turns in the lengthy instrumental breaks. The whole thing soon settles down into a minimalist piano but it is temporary as the heavy guitars soon drive the track to its conclusion.

Beyond the Stars is another of the more Arabian sounding tracks with a violin sounding break towards the end and some warbling Arab style vocals throughout. It is a powerful mix and certainly is a part of this distinctive sound, blending perfectly and without pretentiousness. It is one of the reasons I rate this album so highly; it is unlike anything I have heard in prog metal and the band are so damned good at their craft it is amazing.

Time to Grow concludes the album with a forceful melody driven track that features a fast keyboard motif and lengthy instrumental lead break. This track sounds least Arabian but is short and the power metal riffs make a satisfying conclusion. The bonus track that is available is Apostrophe for a Legend, and it is not too bad though not as good as other tracks, sounding more AOR, though I like the melody.

In conclusion, I gained an enormous amount of enjoyment from this album, in particular the standout tracks are the title track, Under Siege, Braving the Seas, Sour Sigh, Wide Shut, Beyond the Stars and Requiem for a Goodbye. Overall the album can be recommended to Dream Theater, Symphony X, Kamelot or Riverside addicts. It is hard to find fault with it, as it just delivers from track to track; all killer and no filler. Metal heads will love this as will the prog fanatic into a heavier sound. It is certainly one of the most refreshing unique prog metal albums of recent times. I am going the full 5 stars for this; I was completely mesmirised from beginning to end.

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