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Myrath - Shehili CD (album) cover

SHEHILI

Myrath

 

Progressive Metal

3.30 | 18 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
3 stars MYRATH return from its North African hideaway with the fifth album SHEHILI thus proving that this Tunisian band that has made a career out of mixing Middle Eastern folk music with metal is in no danger of going away any time soon. In fact this quintet plus session musicians has only become more famous internationally since its 2006 formation however despite the band's exotic flair that has caught the rest of the world's attention, these guys still don't resonate very much in their native lands. It's been three years since MYRATH released "Legacy" which found the band taking a softer less progressive approach than on the preceding "Hope," "Desert Call" and "Tales of the Sands." SHEHILI emulates "Legacy" with lush symphonically embellished power metal inspired metal tracks that wrap themselves around the classic Arab sounds of the Sahara.

Unlike MYRATH's earliest albums which focused on the metal aspects of the band's idiosyncratic fusion, SHEHILI continues the thick atmospheric cloud covers of "Legacy" and crafts more accessible pop hooks that take a blatant dip into the mainstream with catchy sing-songy melodic hooks with simpler compositional constructs that add some power metal heft but focus a lot of attention on more AOR flavors that demonstrates that the band is clearly going for the mainstream breakthrough jugular which is what makes this album a little weak compared to the earliest powerful displays of metal music that has now been tamed into one trick camel races all the way to the top of the charts.

On the positive side of things, vocalist Zaher Zorgati still delivers a powerful vocal charm and is perfect for the type of music that MYRATH has conjured up. The other winner is the strong symphonic string section that includes the usual menagerie of instruments such as the violin, viola and the new which is a Persian flute that is prominent in most forms of traditional Middle Eastern music. Also included are traces of lute and elegant piano arrangements that add touches of Western classical teased into the Eastern sounds. The symphonic touches overall are what define SHEHILI much more than the rather subordinate heavy rock aspects that barely even qualify for metal any longer. The production is also perfect as it allows each little sound to find its own space without intruding on the others.

Ah, i loved early MYRATH. The five-piece metal band from the far flung non-metal lands of Tunisia who dared conjure up metal mirages with local flavors. The early albums were powerful and delivered all the goods while weaving it all together in highly progressive ways. Most of those complexities have been replaced at this point with easy on the ears flavorings that keep most of the tracks sounding rather similar in approach. The formula is rather simple. Recycle the same Eastern musical scales, add a bit of guitar heft with the only occasional solo along with a rather subordinate bass and drum rhythm section. While Zorgati is clearly the star of the show with his passionate and intricately designed vocal style, the rest of the music falls rather flat compared to the earliest offerings.

MYRATH have obviously fallen into the trap that many bands do as they flirt with commercial success and by that they lose the passion that was generated in the beginning when the music was intended as a statement rather than a means of economic opportunity. While many bands find a way to balance these two acts by having a few more commercial tracks and some more sophisticated experimental and progressive ones, MYRATH have chosen to create a rather monotonic album's worth of 12 tracks where the overall feel of the individual songs doesn't really advance. It all sounds like a series of reshuffling with a few minor bursts of bombast for a little contrast. It's clear form the videos that this band is aiming for the mainstream and that involves healthy amounts of cheese to pull it off. While the sound of the band is clearly intact, there's just not enough going on on this new album to get me really excited. Personally i want the old MYRATH back. This just feels shallow. Not bad but not great either.

3.5 rounded down

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |

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