The newest addition to the Moroccan metal scene discography is Tagrest’s “To Bask in Heroic Tales of Yore”. Black metallers from Casablanca release their debut album, which is a 41 minutes, 8 songs long opus with 3 fully instrumental pieces.
In a very strong stench of black metal, you can smell different sauces to the musical product, from the old school proto-black metal influences of the likes of Bathory and Celtic Frost, and the early Sodom, to more atmospheric vibes, where you can also feel the doom and gloom that’s specific to black metal it is indeed an eclectic mixture of influences on all fronts.
A very melodic riffage output overall, reminiscent of mid-90s Scandinavian black metal, combined with raspy shrieking vocals, and fast blazing riffs backed with skanky stomping blast beats provide the release with all the requirements to register as a complete black metal album perfectly balancing newer and older influences.
The band labels itself as “Atlantean Black Metal”, and chose to write about Moroccan Amazigh folklore and mythology stories, incorporating some traditional Moroccan percussions in the music. This tendency of labelling metal genres with more exotic, folkloric labels surely is a smart marketing move. It is safe to say that the incorporation of folkloric elements to extreme metal is a good etiquette to peak larger audience’s interests, however it is sometimes done at the cost of the musical product’s integrity.
I appreciate bands wanting to incorporate their local cultural identity to their music, but it sometimes shifts the attention from the musical content to other aspects. I would also like to emphasize that metal itself is a culture of its own, that transcends the concepts of folklore and ethnicity and brings people together from all corners of the world regardless of their backgrounds, henceforth making the overlaying of different cultural elements a tricky enterprise that leaves room for doubt.
In retrospect, disregarding the specificities of this release it is nonetheless a solid black metal album, and a promising band to keep an eye on. A lot of creativity, catchy riffs and a diverse and entertaining extreme metal journey.