Monday, February 15, 2010


Sometimes when you review a lot of different albums it can become a little bit indistinguishable from one disc to the next. Ya know, sometimes things can start to sound like one long song. You’re left wondering “When will it end???” and it ended 3 songs ago. That’s when you realize that your ears are fried and you must listen to something else, classical or piano. Something of a different genre all together in order to get your perspective.

That will then allow you to come back all refreshed and ready to start listening, not just hearing the music. Having said that, there are also times when you throw a new release on and something just grabs you because there is something pleasantly different, something special, something worth noticing.

I have found that to be the case with the sophmore release from Myrath entitled Desert Call. I honestly had not heard of them before Lance at Nightmare Records sent this release to me. Having been impressed with the current release of a different Nightmare alum, Edgend, I was anxious to hear what this would sound like especially upon learning they were from Tunisia. Metal from Northern Africa(the Mediterranean coast specificaly) how cool is that! Honestly they only things I knew about Tunisia were that it was in Northern Africa, Star Wars was filmed there and I believe General George Patton fought the Nazis there during World War II.

Myrath have a style that I believe would easily be categorized as Progressive Power Metal. Yet that only tells part of the story, the other half would be wonderful melodies, superior vocals and cultural influences that will take you out of this world. Taking the best aspects of Dream Theater, Riverside, Symphony X; Myrath has combined them into a musical package that is tremendous. This music is intelligent and moving without sacrificing a good kick up the backside.

The title track itself has several different movements, which add a Middle Eastern flair in the percussion, heavy guitars, and atmospheric keyboards with soaring vocals. It covers a lot of musical ground without feeling over indulgent but will still get the ole’ head swaying along with some tremendous air guitaring. All that in fewer than 8 minutes.

Many of the tracks are similar in that they have a superior song structure; ‘Madness’ has a killer riff which maintains it’s effectiveness throughout while leading into a melodic chorus that is smooth and almost epic in its feel. Strings and the Naii (an instrument in the family of the flute) are used, that enhance and add to the tapestry of sounds. It really is tremendous. The musicianship is fantastic and shines through this song and the rest of the album. Songs like ‘Forever and a Day,’ ‘No Turning Back’ show Myrath can rock with the best of them.

The longest song is ‘Silent Cries’ and it really is a musical journey with an extremely melodic chorus. Clocking in at just over 10 minutes, Silent Cries doesn’t get caught up in needless ‘guitar noodling’, but Myrath allow the melody to really run its course without it becoming boring. Vocalist Zaher Zorgati shines with a vibrant and passionate vocal. With a vocal tone akin to Russell Allen in register, but not style, Zaher will definitely make a name for himself.

Guitarist Malek Ben Arbia shines in many different songs ‘Silent Cries’ he plays with precision at one moment and then tremendous feel in the next. Keyboardist Elyes Bouchouca is so tasteful in the textures he adds to the various songs his talent does shine through. For example during the ballad ‘Memories’ he opens with the piano and follows with fine atmospheric keyboard touches throughout.

However I will say that my favorite song is one of the most straight forward tunes, entitled ‘Shockwave,’ it has some great guitar moments and one of the best melodies on the album. It could definitely be an opening song. It rocks and provides a lot of drive. Yet I will tell the lyrics hit me squarely and moved me, I almost got emotional, which really surprised me. Speaking of lyrics they are very positive and very introspective. The lyrics are tastefully done with intelligence and emotion. There are spiritual aspects to them but are easily accessible to everyone.

The production has enough guts left in it, solid guitar tones throughout, that it never loses its edge. I must say as well on the artwork side it’s really tragic that this wasn’t released on vinyl. The cover artwork itself is so well done and of such high quality I wish I had a poster of it.

Even for a sophmore album Desert Call is very impressive. I really enjoyed the journey I went on every time I listened to it. Progressive Power Metal with melodic sensibilities, if that is a style you enjoy this release is a must. I can’t dare give it more then an 8 axe score because I can only imagine what the next release will deliver. This album is highly recommended.

8 axes

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