Tunisian metal band and pioneer of blazing desert metal Myrath had a really huge year in 2019. The quintet wowed international audiences with their magical stage performances at the renowned Sweden Rock Festival and at Germany’s Wacken Open Air. Furthermore, the band released their brand new studio album “Shehili” — a beautiful collection of powerful metal choruses set against a backdrop of Middle Eastern melodies. Now, in 2020, this Tunisian success story is set to release their first ever live album of its promising career.
“Live In Carthage” includes stunning live recordings of the best songs from past Myrath albums and features classics like “Believer,” “Dance,” “Get Your Freedom Back,“ and “Endure the Silence.” The songs on the album showcase the rhythmic, uplifting melodies and powerful lyrics. The live video material transports the viewer into a magical setting with spectacular stage decorations and unforgettable performances. Additionally, the release includes a very special studio recording of the most popular Myrath anthem “Believer” on which Deep Purple’s Don Airey contributed keys.
“Live In Carthage” arrives as a CD/DVD on April 17 via earMUSIC and it’s available for pre-order here. To dig further regarding the release and what’s going on in the Myrath‘s universe amidst these challenging times for the music industry worldwide, contributor Mark Boardman picked the brain of band’s drummer Morgan Berthet, and you can now read a transcript of their chat below.
“Myrath” means legacy. Is this about the legacy of the band or the cultural legacy that provides a foundation for the music and lyrics?
Yes totally, the name was chosen for that specific reason.
Was there ever any concern that audiences beyond Tunisia would accept this folklore sound—or the fact that some lyrics are sung in Tunisian/Arabic?
That was a bet we made for sure, and a risky one but that’s a part of those foundations and that legacy we just talked about, we couldn’t skip that part. I think we put the right amount of Tunisian lyrics in our albums. But we were not expecting that so many people, outside Tunisia would require more song in Arabic, it happens a lot. Doesn’t mean we’re gonna go that way but it makes us happy that we took a lil part of our legacy, our roots, and that seduced many people around the world.
The band dates back to 2001 and put out its first EP (under X-Tazy) in 2005. Even then, the band was pretty much a bunch of teenagers (guitarist Malek Ben Arbia, the only founding member still around, was just 14 at the start). How has Myrath musically evolved since then?
It went from doing covers with X-Tazy, to create a “real” band. Myrath started by doing prog metal with our first 2 albums, and I think we kinda lived a transition with “Tales of The Sands”, still prog but closer to what “Legacy” and “Shehili” would be. We always try to think a bit ahead. When we were creating “Legacy” we were already thinking about what “Shehili” would be, same for “Shehili” and the one we’re writing now. I think we found a good compromise with “Legacy” few years ago.
To my ears, with the last couple of studio albums, “Shehili” and “Legacy”, I hear less true “metal” and more symphonic rock (with a cultural flavor)—whatever that means. Correct? Was that an intentional evolution, or did it just happen?
Like I just said, we tend to be proactive regarding our sound. I think you can hear a change on “Tales of The Sands”, and you’re right, “Legacy” was already less metal, in terms of composition, and in sound. We focused way more on the arrangements part for our last two albums, and when we have to work with violins, choir, percussions, etc. we slide toward a more symphonic vibe for sure.
The addition of vocalist Zaher Zorgati really took the band up a few notches—he’s one of the best singers around. Talk about him.
Well I can’t agree more, he’s one hell of a singer. He’s also one of the kindest person we know, like genuinely kind. He’s a dreamer, which makes it look out of this world sometimes because you can see him day dreaming often, but he’s in fact a real hard working musician. He always has a ton of ideas, he always has projects in his mind, etc… definitely someone you want to work with and have around you on tour.
You had something of a trilogy of videos for “Believer,” “Dance,” and “No Holding Back.” How did that come about? Are there more in the pipeline?
Zaher had a lot of ideas for promotional videos, and the rest of us let him brainstorm with Kevin Codfert – our producer who is arguably the most hard-working person in our team – and shortly after “Believer” was born. The story was so lengthy that we knew the wise approach was to split it over two other video clips to at least finish that part of the story. There’s more, it doesn’t mean we’ll only make that kind of clips, with that mood, but there’s definitely more coming.
There have been many videos of Myrath in concert that have shown up on YouTube. It shows the real power of the band. Why did it take so long to come out with an official live CD/DVD?
Because we wanted to do that in Tunisia, our name means Legacy, we could do that somewhere else. We owed that to our fans, we owed that to our country, to our roots, and we had that amphitheater in sight for years, we just had to wait for the right time. We played there few years ago, we saw we could bring over 5000 people there, that’s when we started talking about it.
This performance at the Theater of Carthage was a bit of a homecoming (you performed there in 2017). Why this setting? Historical and cultural aspects? Acoustics? Size?
A little bit of everything I explained above, plus the theater is beautiful, historical of course, the size’s perfect. We knew in 2017 we would do it there.
The concert was a real sensory experience—large video screens behind you, belly dancers on stage, etc. You guys really went all out for this. Is this pretty typical for a Myrath show?
It wasn’t, but it is now, for sure. We constantly challenge ourselves and that’s how we improve over time. If we think we can do something easily, then it means it’s too easy, it’s not enough, we have to take it further up. The fact we played there two years before and delivered a pretty good show motivated us to do way more for our fans. So we put everything we had in that show and DVD, to show our fans what Myrath could deliver on stage from now on.
You included a new version of “Believer” with Don Airey of Deep Purple. How did that come about?
We work with the earMusic label, and Deep Purple is also on their roster. One day we heard Don really wanted to work on a version of that song, and that he had already started putting together some arrangements for it. At the same point in time we read a magazine that Robert Plant had said very positive things about us, and we actually felt astonished of being acknowledged by musical legends like them both. Sometimes things you don’t expect happen and we’re really proud that he appeared on that version of “Believer”.
What have you been doing the downtime? And are you doing anything different to promote the new live album and DVD?
We’re doing the exact same we could do for a regular album, the difference is that we have to work harder to deliver the same on stage whenever we play, which can be tricky sometimes, we’re a team of 10 to 15 people on the road, we have a lot of things to bring with us, to send by boats, planes, … it’s quite complicated sometimes. But the best way to promote that DVD is to play everywhere, so that’s what we’ve been doing lately.
You do have some festivals and other shows set for this summer and fall. Are those still on at this point, or it is safe to assume that all of those dates were canceled?
So far we lost 15 shows, half our Magical Tour, we had 2 shows in Tokyo in June, that were just moved yesterday to March 2021. What’s happening is a bit insane, so fingers crossed the world will find a way to overcome the situation we are in now. Nothing’s been cancelled after mid-June, we’re waiting to see how everything pans out.
Other than the fact that all the concerts have been canceled, Myrath seems to be at a good place right now—an identifiable and pleasing sound, growing audience, etc. What do you guys want to accomplish next?
We find ourselves in a better place, album after album. We still have a lot of things we want to accomplish; we have many countries we have to go to promote our DVD, right now half our team is locked up in France working in the studio, pre-production is almost done for the next album. I can’t really say that what’s happening is helping us to unleash our creative juices, but it definitely feels that way, there’s nothing else to do but work on new music. A part of the team is composing, another part is already thinking about the next video clips, design, etc… We can’t wait to get out to breathe a little, but we’re busier than ever before right now, and it feels pretty good.
Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. All best to you all.
Thank you, my pleasure. All the best for your readers, and you all stay safe.
“Live In Carthage” track-listing
- Believer (Feat. Don Airey)*
- Born To Survive
- Storm Of Lies
- Wide Shut
- Merciless Times
- Get Your Freedom Back
- Endure The Silence
- Nobody’s Lives
- The Unburnt
- Sour Sigh
- Tales Of The Sands
- Madness **
- No Holding Back
- Drum Solo **
- Beyond The Stars
- Outro **BONUS:
*Only on CD
**Only on DVD