Album Title: Shehili
Date of Release: 3 May 2019
I have been aware of Tunisian metal band Myrath for a number of years but this is the first time that I have penned a review of their music. Many within my rock/metal circles rave about Myrath, saying that they are one of the most exciting bands out there. However, I’ve never quite understood all the hype and gushing praise. Yes, they are decent, but if it were not for the inclusion of traditional Middle Eastern instrumentation, I’m not sure that they would have stood out from the crowd of syrup-drenched melodic metal acts. As with many bands of a similar ilk, there has always been a whiff of the Eurovision about Myrath too.
And, whilst there are still echoes of the faintly ridiculous about ‘Shehili’, the Tunisisan quintet’s fifth album has enough positives to get me tapping the keyboard about it.
Firstly, I am impressed with the way in which Myrath have almost seamlessly incorporated the authentic ethnic instrumentation into the compositions on this album. All too often, bands will use different instruments and influences in a clunky way, bolting them on to songs that either don’t need them or are simply not suited to the material. However, with Myrath, the blend of metal, hard rock and Middle-Eastern folk music is seamless. At times, whilst you can hear the traditional, authentic vocals looming large, you don’t even realise that a ney flute, strings or Arabian frame drums (yes, I had to do some research ahead of writing this review!) are being used. And, for me, that’s quite impressive.
What is equally impressive is the songwriting nous that is displayed, particularly in the first half of the disc. After the atmospheric ethnic opening of ‘Asl’, ‘Born To Survive’ erupts and delivers a delicious and hugely infectious hook-laden chorus that gets the head nodding with authority. The authentic instrumentation is cleverly interwoven into the song but it’s the all-out strength and conviction of the chunky riffing and hedonistic chorus that makes the biggest impact on.
Equally beguiling is the excellent ‘You’ve Lost Yourself’, within which vocalist Zaher Zorgati shows his considerable abilities to great effect. The urgency of the Kamelot-esque track as well as a truly gorgeous and sumptuous quasi-ballad chorus makes it an immediate hit, one that delivers a shot of pure saccharine enjoyment in the process.
‘Dance’ is equally charismatic and utterly infectious and at this stage in proceedings, I’m finding myself beginning to throw around quite a few superlatives whilst firmly berating myself for not listening to this band in earnest sooner.
Unfortunately, for my tastes, the quality of the material takes a dip towards the end of the album, with the pyrotechnics of the first few incendiary tracks fizzling out a little disappointingly. I’m not in any shape or form suggesting that the final handful of songs are not of a good standard because one listen to the final title track will demonstrate the quality on display. It is just that after the all-out bombastic, elegant and hook-laden attack of the opening to ‘Shehili’, the second half doesn’t quite live up to the early billing.
Despite my slight disappointment and subsequent misgivings, ‘Shehili’ remains a quality album with much to enjoy and appreciate in equal measure. If you’re already a fan, you’ll lap this record up; for those on the fence, it might just persuade you but sadly, it’s not quite the safe bet that I was envisaging after track five or six.
The Score of Much Metal: 7.7
If you’ve enjoyed this review, check out my others from 2019:
Prehistoric Animals – Consider It A Work Of Art
Voyager – Colours In The Sun
Odd Logic – Last Watch Of The Nightingale
Avandra – Descender
Darkwater – Human
ZW Band / Zonder Wehrkamp – If It’s Real
Teramaze – Are We Soldiers
Rendezvous Point – Universal Chaos
Our Destiny – Awakening
Evergrey – The Atlantic
You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here: