ALBUM REVIEW: Myrath – Karma


The Myrath sound is an exciting, intoxicating and entertaining one. On Karma (earMUSIC), there’s a dark side to some of the lyrical content (“Wrath of a raging sea …” Demons, oblivion, etc), leaning towards the heavy and the epic, but the overall impression is relatively light, hooky and generally uplifting. 

A sound with an apparent kinship to virtuoso Progressive Metal legends Dream Theater, with much melody, and with Zaher Zorgati’s excellent vocals echoing Journey’s Steve Perry, Karma is a fine place to start if you haven’t already been attracted to this titanic but not at all tiresome Tunisian-formed outfit (offering up their first album since 2019’s well-received Shehili).

A certain Symphonic Metal element is also present while never becoming too high-falutin’, faux-classical or cheesily choral, a trap often fallen into by other international Symphonic types, mentioning no names. 

Myrath keep it real and keep it grounded, with guitarist Malek Ben Arbia often leading the way, while the strings, piano and Middle Eastern musical influences (the Berber contrasted with the Occidental, the sax, the trumpet and the Karkabou) are more of a genuine asset than they might have been – listen to the scene-setting one-two of “To The Stars” and “Into The Light” and you’ll get most of the picture. Add a folky, world-music feel and it’s a heady blend indeed. Any doubters will feel my wrath.

All eleven multi-tempoed tracks on Karma are over and done in less than 4:30, and this concise, controlled approach, while still allowing for the signature, spectacular instrumental passages, adds to the feeling of a band knowing where they are going and how to get there without taking it too far. 

Most of the soundscapes are heavy on the keyboards (courtesy of Kevin Codfert, also producer), adding much to the variety of effects and helping to skilfully meld the coherent mixture of styles.

The intriguingly and poetically entitled “Candles Cry”, with Codfert also making a statement on vocals, has a funky rhythm and a superior lead geetar break, while “Let It Go” is far from Frozen, a throbbing, driving, rocking representation of the Myrath modus operandi (with a solo from guest guitarist Pierre Danel, who also takes on co-songwriting and co-arranging duties for the album).

The soulful “Words Are Failing” boasts a real go-forward intensity, a hooky chorus and an almost chaotic breakdown section, plus swirling strings and/or keys. 

An atmospheric intro to “Child Of Prophecy” slows the pace but it’s not long until we are rocking and soaring once again, the rhythm section and percussion particularly effective on this one (bass, Anis Jouini; drums, Morgan Berthet). 

We’re off to war (an internalised war?) with the dramatic and dynamic “The Empire”, Zorgati to the fore once again. If a perhaps inevitable sameness has set in by this time, certain tracks on repeated listens become striking and memorable in their own right, not the least the aforementioned “Into The Light”, “Let It Go”, “Words Are Failing” and the late-going powerhouses that are “Heroes” and the climactic “Carry On”.

Throughout, the superior Karma delivers expertly orchestrated emotional angst while striking a balance between light and dark, personal and epic, magical and majestic.

Buy the album here:
https://myrath.lnk.to/Karma

 

8 / 10
CALLUM REID