Ymyrgar is a new folk black metal band from Tunisia and the first one I know from this country. They were formed in 2011 by a group of friends who shared the same passion for metal. After a lot of research and several member changes, they managed to gather a complete line-up. They started working on their first songs and soon recorded their debut full-length album “The Tale as Far“, which was finally self-released on October 2014.
Ymyrgar began this project without any prior musical experience, mostly driven by their love for epic folk metal. This is clearly reflected in their album, since the band pays a great tribute to the genre with nice compositions, but their production is quite weak. Their orchestrations are not overloaded though, so everything can be heard clearly, something that favors the traditional instruments that sound much more natural and “alive” than the distorted guitars. Luckily for them (and most importantly for us) their music is very good, so everything else comes second, especially since it’s only their debut. The truth is that after a few spins you get accustomed to the sound, but it still needs a lot of work to match the quality of their music.
Their folk metal combines melodic lead guitars and solos influenced by the 90′s epic power metal aesthetic, with epic rhythmic riffs of a more extreme nature, accompanied by melodic synths, mostly in the instrumental parts. Their melodies are dominated by the use of traditional instruments, like violin (fiddle), flutes (whistles) and kanoun, but in my opinion it’s their amazing violin (fiddle) that steals the show! Belhassen Dahmen seems to be a very skilled fiddler, with equal influences from folk and classical music in his playing. There is lyricism and melody in their music, with several atmospheric slower soundtrack-like passages, while there are also many parts where their music becomes more extreme with epic folk black metal references. They sing with both screaming and clean vocals and while their raw fierce black metal screams are ok, their clean male vocals and choirs need a lot of improvement. Their best vocalist though is their guest female soprano singer Arij Arbi, whose wonderful, almost operatic, voice adds another interest in their music. For example her vocals in the closing of “Ode to Mighty Deeds” is one of the album’s highlights! “The Tale as Far” includes 5 songs plus 2 instrumental tracks, with a total duration a little over 42 minutes. Their compositions are very good, with beautiful changes of rhythm and many great melodies. Despite their origin, the band is influenced by Norse folk music and by Viking thematology, while all their lyrics are in English.
“The Tale as Far” is a quite interesting debut for lovers of epic folk metal, especially if you like to dig out new unknown bands. Ymyrgar have a lot of work to do in order to present something more complete and “professional”, but the first signs are more than encouraging. I personally would also like to see some local folk elements in their sound that could help them create a more personal style. I see this album mostly as a demo that introduces the band, revealing its great potential for something much better. “The Tale as Far” is out both in digital format for free download and in a self-released limited CD-r edition for those who prefer the physical copies. It comes with a 4-page booklet, as dictated by the limited budget, while the cover artwork is by their fiddler Dahmen. You can visit their official pages below to listen to their music.