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MYRATH: a Desert Call to progressive metal fans

MYRATH: a Desert Call to progressive metal fans
BANDS : Myrath

Myrath's second album - Desert Call - produced one of this year's first revelations on the progressive metal scene. Since most of us weren't even aware that they play metal in Tunisia, we thought you'd like to know more about these guys who are hard at work to bridge the gap between Occidental progressive metal and Oriental music.



Metalfan: Hello! First of all, congratulations for your new album "Desert Call", it's a killer! It's been out for a few weeks now, are you satisfied with the reactions you got so far?
Zaher Zorgati (Lead vocals): Thank you for you kind words and for offering us the opportunity to answer your questions. The new album ‘’Desert Call’’ is so far highly appreciated by the fans and acclaimed by the media as expressed in the numerous reviews ,so let’s say so far so good
The album is also getting much bigger media attention thanks to the superb promotion strategy of our labels XIII Bis Records and Nightmare Records as well as to the growing fans interest.

Metalfan: How would you describe Myrath to somebody who has never heard about you yet? Do you consider Myrath to be a progressive metal act?

Malek Ben Arbia (guitars): Myrath is an emerging Metal band from Tunis-Tunisia,in just few years what started out in 2001 as a teenager cover band became in just few years a relatively well known and respected band by the international prog-power metal community. So far we have released just 2 albums woldwide, HOPE in October 2007 and DESERT CALL on 25 January 2010. Myrath is more of an oriental/metal band, however if your listen to our previous album, HOPE, you would caracterize our music as more of a progressive kind, but if you listen to our newest release (DESERT CALL), you would caracterise it as prog-power oriental metal  with a mix between Metal and traditional tunisian music specific to Myrath. I guess the best way to put it is as summarized in the following extract from one of the reviews:
“Myrath - Desert Call is to date, my favorite album of 2010. It deserves to be one of the best that's for sure. This music has everything a Progressive metal fan could want. Hugely based on this bands playing, and writing abilities. Beautiful music that is sure to get you both head banging, and filling your heart full of raw, metal emotion. Natural exotic sounds, that come naturally, and amazing musicianship make Desert Call a must buy!

Metalfan: And how would describe your new album to someone who is familiar with your music? What is different about Desert Call, compared to your previous records?
Anis Jouini (bass player): Well, Desert call is inline with HOPE but yet different in many ways. First of all we have a new singer (Zaher Zorgati) who has a much softer and melodic voice than Elyes, so that helps us staying away from the SymphonyX influence at least on the vocals side. The album is more melodic with alot more arabian tunes and orchestrations, yet it’s still prog-power metal ’’Myrath way” with very diverse tracks. I think that, with DESRT CALL, Myrath has brought something new to the prog-power metal music, by a somewhat new style which mixes metal with Arabian tunes in a way different from what other band did before. As far as I know anyway.
Here is the way which one of the reviewers puts it best
‘All the music on this album fuse together beautifully, like some mind blowing energy drink. One of the most interesting things about Myrath is the distinct Arabic sounds going on. But this sound is strong all through-out Desert Call. And perhaps the most refreshing thing is that it’s not forced. Most bands trying to replicate these beautiful sounds fail by repeating the same style riff. And it just looses the amazing feeling of emotion this type of music is meant to have. This is no problem for Myrath, they have created this sound almost as if it was natural. Which, coming from Tunisia probably is.’’



Metalfan: What's the musical background of the members of Myrath, you guys went to the music academy or are you self-taught?
Malek Ben Arbia (guitars): When we got into Metal, we all started out as self taught, mainly by learning and improving our playing techniques, it’s just something you have to practice for a long time. In addition each band member attended a concervatory or a music academy. Personally I started playing guitar when I was about 12 years old. I first took basic guitar lessons with a guitar teacher then I developed my playing skills using mainly video lessons of well known guitarists. At the age of 18, I have attended a prestigious guitar school known as M.A.I. (Music Academy International- Nancy-France) and graduated In July 2006 which allowed me to improve my playing and composing skills.
Elyes bouchoucha (keyboards /vocals): I stared playing piano at the age of 8, violent at 10, keyboards at 12 and metal singing at 17. I’m a 2003 graduate from Tunis conservatory (classical and Arabic music major) and next year I will graduate from Tunis Music College.
Saief Louhibi (drummer): I have attended Tunis conservatory for a period of 4 years. And I play drums since the age of 15.
Anis Jouini (bass player): At the age of 12, I took piano lessons for about 2 years then I have attended Tunis conservatory for a period of 4 years (classical guitar),then I started playing bass at the age of 15.
Zaher Zorgati (Lead vocals): I sing and play guitar (mainly acoustic) since the age of 10 but I have also taken numerous lessons in basic music theories and vocal techniques with well known music teachers.



Metalfan: Progressive metal musicians are known for their skill on the instruments and Myrath makes no exception. But you also seem to value the impact of catchy melodies.What is more important for Myrath: technique, emotion, melody?
Elyes Bouchoucha (keyboards /vocals): Emotion and melody is what we try to emphasize when we write our music, we also use our playing technical skills in such a manner that it will blend perfectly with the music. We are not interested in showin how good we are technically, we are musicians not demonstrators.

Metalfan: Where do you get your inspiration for creating your compositions?

Saief louhibi (Drummer): The inspiration comes naturally from our occidental influence and Arabic background, as well as from our personnal experiences in day to day life. We try to come up with a style of our own by letting our inspiration of the moment guide us throughout the composing process, each song comes from the heart, we never fabricate music and this is certainly the main reason why the tracks of our albums are so diverse. But with the addition of Zaher we now use the combination between metal and arabian tunes in much more melodic and emotional way.

Metalfan: What can you tell us about the lyrics? Are there any distinct messages you'd like to get through to the listener?
Zaher Zorgati( Lead vocals): Most lyric are written once the music is composed, so we let Aymen Jaouadi (our closest friend and lyrics written) express in words what the music we composed inspires him, but in general most lyrics talk about today’s society, love, deception, hopes and fears, but we never write about any political or religious issues.

Metalfan: Some of the lyrics on the album are in Arabic, this adds an exotic flavour to the respective song, why not use it more? Are you planning to keep this feature on the next records, or maybe even expand it to more songs?

Malek Ben Arbia (guitars): This is a tough question because we are not sure that most metalheads will appreciate listening to lyrics they can’t undertand. The european version of Forever and a Day has indeed lyrics in both arabic and english, we did so on the request of our frebch label XIII Bis Records (the american release of the same song is all in English). On the next album we plan to have a couple of songs in arabic or arabic/english but the remaining songs will be in English as we have to keep a balance otherwise not too many people will appreciate it, because they would not understand the lyrics.



Metalfan: Tunisia is an islamic state, it's a known fact that the music-scene in Muslim countries has been quite hostile towards metal for some time. How's your situation now? Are there any hostile reactions because of your music? Do you have any problems with being a metal band in Tunisia?
Elyes Bouchoucha (keyboards /vocals): Sorry but Tunisia is not an islamic state, Tunisia is a republic, very open to other cultures even though it’s a muslim country. Tunisia is a peaceful touristic country situated on the Mediterraneen coast within less then an hour flight from Rome, so if you come to Tunisia you will feel that like being more in a European country. Tunisa has nothing to do with the religious fanatics in some other countries who use religion for political purposes. There are many metal bands in Tunisia, we have a weekly Metal show on the national radio station, which also has a streaming 24 Hours webRadio  (www.zanzana.net/ ). We also have a mediterraneen guitar festival held each year which allowed many famous bands such as Robert Plant, Adagio, Bertignac, Epica, Fire Wind and After Forever to play in Tunis in the past few years. In addition to that, we have very active Tunisan metal webzines such www.metal-waves.com/ and  www.sombrearcane.com/ which support the metal scene. Obviously like in other European countries, some people do not appreciate too much metal music nor metal heads but that’s another issue. However, being a metal band in Tunisia is tough in the way of getting our music across the borders, because of lack of labels, promoters and support from the sponsors.

Metalfan: Do you think that with your music you might be able to bridge the gaps between the Arabic culture and European culture?
Saief louhibi (Drummer): Yes I think so, music is what brings people together notwithstanding their ethnic background, or religion, it brings a message of love and peace to all nations. All metal bands and fans share the same passion and the same values, they are alike no matter where they come from or the religion of the country of their origin.

Metalfan: What got you into Metal?
Malek Ben Arbia (guitars): We all got into Metal music really young by listening to metal bands such as Metallica and many others of various styles. Personally I discovered metal music at the age of 12 through friends of my age, so a year later we decided to form a cover band. It actually all started in early 2001, when I was about 13 years old, I formed a band named X-tazy (which later changed its name to Myrath) with three of my childhood friends (who all left the band by 2004). We started playing covers of various blues artists (such as Eric Clapton, BB King, Jimmy Hendrix) then we got in to heavy metal (Judas Priest, Metallica, Megadeth) then into Death Metal (mainly the band Death). In 2003 I discovered progressive Metal and became a big fan of Michael Romeo and his band Symphony X, so for about two years we played exclusively Symphony X covers. After four years of playing music written by others, we started writing our own music, thus in March 2005 we released our first album called Double Face (self produced and distributed in Tunisia only). In 2006 we met Kevin Codfert (Adagio keyboards player) who became our producer for the following two albums: HOPE (released worldwide by the French label Brennus-Music) and DESERT CALL (released on 25 January 2010 in Europe by the French label XIII Bis Records and in the rest of the world by Nightmare Records).



Metalfan: Were you influenced by any particular bands or musical styles? Some might say you used to listen to a lot of Dream Theater and Symphony X when you were younger, but what about the oriental side of your music, are there any local artists that influenced you?
Elyes Bouchoucha (keyboards /vocals): As explained by Malek in his answer to the previous question Myrath used to be a cover band so for the first 4 years(2001-2004) we played exlusively covers of bands we have discovered over the years (blues, rock, heavy, thrash, death, progressive) but for about 2 years we played exclusively Symphony X covers so obviously you will find a Symphony X influence in our previous albums mainly in the first one (the self produced double face) and to a lesser degree in HOPE. Concerning the oriental side we grew up listening to arabic music withinout being really big fans of any artist but I have a diploma in arabic music from tunis concervatory and Zaher listens to a lot of Arabic artists as well as to metal music so we both have enough knowledge to add the arabian imput to the songwriting process of Myrath.

Metalfan: What kind of music do you listen to nowadays? Metal or non-metal. What are your favourite albums of 2009?
Anis Jouini (bass player): We all listen to mainly metal bands while zaher listens also to some oriental, Turkish and even Japaneese artists and Elyes studies arabic and classical music at Tunis college of music. Favourite albums of 2009 are:
Melek: Killswitch Engage - Killswitch Engage II, Disturbed - Indestructible
Zaher: Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings, Rage - Strings to a Web
Anis : Adagio - Achangels in Black, Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings, Jordan Rudess Notes on a Dream.
Elyes: Adagio - Achangels in Black, Megadeth - Endgame, Epica - Design Your Universe, Kilswitch Engage - Kilswitch Engage II.
Seif: Killswitch Engage - Killswitch Engage II, Disturbed - Indestructible.



Metalfan: What do you think about the progressive metal scene of today?
Saief louhibi (Drummer): The progressive metal scene is  going through hard times, there are too many quality bands and the market is shrinking. In addition the music industry is not what it used to be especially with the illegal downloading which is killing music and hurting badly most bands mainly the emerging ones like Myrath.

Metalfan: What is your own top five of the best Metal-albums of all times?
Melek: Judas Priest “Painkiller”, Black Sabbath “Heaven and Hell”, Symphony X “V”, Killswitch Engage “The End of Heartache”, Adagio “Underworld”.
Zaher: Metallica “Master of Puppets”, Black Sabbath “Heaven and Hell”, Dream Theater “Metropolis pt.2: Scenes From a memory”, Dream Theater “Train of Thought”, Opeth “Deliverance” si “Damnation”.
Anis: Metallica “And Justice for All” , Dream Theater “Images and Words”, Symphony X “V”, Adagio “Underworld”, Pantera “Cowboys From Hell”.
Elyes: Black Sabbath “Heaven and Hell”, Symphony X “V”, Metallica “Master of Puppets”, Kamelot “The Ghost Opera”, Adagio “Underworld”.
Saif: Judas Priest “Painkiller” Killswitch Engage “As Daylight Dies”, Symphony X “V”, Pantera “The Great Southern Trendkill”, Lamb of God “Wrath”

Metalfan: How's your live activity so far, have you had any shows or tours outside your country yet? Any plans to promote the new album on stage?
Anis Jouini (bass player): Yes we have played in France in Prog’Sud festival in May 2008 and we have been included in the lineups of progpower europre(Netherlands-october 2008)and Metal Rock Festival(Norway- August 2008) but had to pull out because of extraordinary circumstances. We are working on tour dates in Europe to promote the album and we hope also to play in some festivals

Metalfan: What are the band's plans for the near future?

Zaher Zorgati(Lead vocals): We are currently working on a new album ,we have several tracks already completed we just need to put the final touches on few more tracks and we shoud be in a position to record it some time in the forth quarter of this year so we can release it early 2011. We are also working on tour dates and festival appearances we hope to be able to announce firm dates soon

Metalfan: Thank you for your time. Any last comments? A message to your Romanian fans?
Malek Ben Arbia(guitars): We are really pleased and honored that we have fans in Romania and hope to have the opportunity to perform live in your beautiful country in a near futre. In the meantime we thank you all for your valuable support and invite every metal fan who is not familiar with our music yet to check us out in our MySpace (www.myspace.com/myrathband) and official website(www.myrathband.com). we trust that you will like it enough to join the Myrath fan base.


Autor: Klawz, Arthur
Vezi galeriile trupelor: Myrath

   February 19, 2010  | 1 Comments  | 14911 Views « BACK

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