Myrath: From Far North Comes a Storm of Sand

I first heard of Myrath from a close friend of mine. She had been researching African metal and its reach, and had stumbled across them. The first song she played me had me absolutely enthralled; I didn’t realise that such well-written metal was coming from our “Dark Continent”. I got in touch with them, and they were all too happy to answer the few questions I could muster.

M4A: What was it like growing up in Tunisia? How did you obtain metal music in your youth?
Myrath: Well, you know Tunisia is a former French colony, and is very open to other cultures. It is also so close to Europe (a mere one hour flight from Rome), that we grew up watching French and Italian TV and listening to various European radio stations. All of this allowed us to discover metal when we were still in our early teens back in 2001.

M4A: Staying in the past, what was your first show like? Were there many people there to support you and were you nervous at all?
Myrath: We played our first gig in early 2002 in a small venue in front of a couple hundred metalheads. It was crazy. We had a great time and we were so happy to play “like rock stars” that we never really thought about the stress. I guess we were just too young, not taking anything seriously and enjoying playing covers of our favourite band at the time, Death.

M4A: I’ve noticed that you’re gaining popularity in Europe, specifically France. Why do you think they took a shining to the music?
Myrath: We guess it’s because Europeans are more open to other cultures. They like the mix between prog-power and traditional arabic music that we do, it’s fresh and new to their ears. When you live in Europe you have the chance to see all the most famous bands live, and after a while it gets tiring as many bands sound alike. When a band like Myrath comes up with a new sound, it gains the attention of many.

M4A: Being an African band, and based on the general buzz on the internet, do you believe that the rest of the world is starting to take African metal seriously?
Myrath: Yes, we think so. There are so many quality African bands that are coming up with fresh and new approaches to metal music, and the whole world is now watching closely. Remember that African-Americans were the ones who were at the forefront of the blues and jazz creation, and Jimmy Hendrix was the one of the forefathers of what we now call metal music. Without the African-Americans, I don’t think that metal music would be where it is today.

M4A: On the subject of being African, would Myrath tour southward into Africa? Or possibly even to South Africa itself?
Myrath: Honestly, it is not in our plans, at least at this early stage of our international career; we just can’t afford it. However playing in South Africa would be a dream come true if a local promoter would offer us such an opportunity.

M4A: Morgan (Berthet, on drums), being the “new guy” in the band, have your band-mates given you any grief?
Morgan: Not at all. I just love the guys and we get along just fine. You could say it was love at first sight. I must emphasize the fact that already being a good friend with Malek Ben Arbia with whom I had graduated from the same French musical school back in 2007 has helped me to feel as if I have been with the band for many years.

M4A: If Myrath could tour the world, which two bands would you use as supporting acts?
Myrath: We are not there yet and we can’t think right now of a preferred supporting band, but we would certainly love to tour with Symphony X (our biggest influence), and Dream Theater!

M4A: How would you describe your brand of music to someone who hasn’t the faintest idea of what metal is?
Myrath: We would describe it as oriental progressive power metal, but it all depends on which album and track you listen to as each song comes from the heart. We never fabricate music and this is certainly the main reason why the tracks on our albums are so diverse. But let us say that it’s mainly standard metal with an exotic oriental flavor.

M4A: Has work started on a new album? If so, when do you expect to be hitting the studio to record?
Myrath: We are working on writing the new album and we are happy with the current progress. Our best guess would be to start recording next November/December with a release date sometime during the first quarter of 2013.

M4A: Lastly, what is Myrath‘s quest?
Myrath: Just like any other band, we want to make it in this very difficult and competitive metal scene. We strongly believe that with hard work and perseverance we will eventually be a band that the whole world, including Africans as well as Arabs, will be very proud of!

Myrath are:
Zaher Zorguatti – Lead Vocals
Malek ben Arbia – Guitar
Anis Jouini – Bass
Elyes Bouchoucha – Keyboards
Morgan Berthet – Drums

Watch Myrath‘s video for “Merciless Times” below: