earMusic [Release date 17.04.20]
Carthage has a lot of history, not all good unfortunately. It was one of the richest cities in the ancient world and was the centre of the Punic empire which proved to be a thorn in the side of the Romans. It was the scene of the three Punic wars, the second of which featured their most famous son Hannibal, and it was also sacked during the Crusades. Quite the past then!
This is Myrath’s addition to the Carthage story and thankfully it is a less gory affair than its ancient history, but it does feature the band laying waste to a baying crowd of Carthaginians armed only with an array of killer riffs and melodies to die for.
This album follows on from the band’s last studio album ‘Shehili’ released last year and a number of major festival appearances including Sweden Rock and Wacken. The band blend the sounds of their native Tunisia with well honed power metal to great effect and this album highlights Myrath’s excellent musicianship and song writing ability.
The album, although live, starts off with a studio track featuring none other than Deep Purple’s Don Airey on keys. ‘Believer’ is a great track with Airey blasting out the Hammond organ along with the Arab influenced melody.
The live recording though is the main feature and quite rightly so. ‘Asl’ starts off the set with what sounds like a call to prayer before tribal like drumming runs on into ‘Born To Survive’. Big riffs, huge choruses and heavy melodies are the order of the day here and the band deliver in spades.
‘Storm Of Lies’ showcases the vocal prowess of frontman Zaher Zorgati and once again is a perfect blend of musical styles. It is hard these days to find something fresh in the realms of rock and as this is my first introduction to Myrath, although they have been together for almost 20 years, the North African and Arabian influences were a revelation.
Over the course of the 16 live tracks on offer the band cover all bases from epic ballads to all out almost prog metal workouts all featuring outstanding guitar work from Malek Ben Arbia.
The band are at their most accessible on tracks like ‘Dance’ and the aforementioned ‘Believer. It is the more complex tracks however like ‘Wide Shut’, ‘Sour Sigh’ and the soaring ‘Beyond The Stars’ which impress most. ‘Duat’ is one of the slower numbers but it is no less powerful for that and ‘Tales Of The Sand’ evokes the image of shifting sand dunes complete with distant camel train.
For me, this live set is the perfect introduction to Myrath and I can recommend it to both current fans and those looking for a different rock slant in equal measure. It sounds to me as though the Carthaginians were more than happy to welcome the onslaught on this occasion and thankfully this album is part of the city’s history with a joyous ending. ****
Review by Dave Wilson
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