Review Summary: 'I'm Greg Puciato and I'm TRIPPING BALLS on shrooms. Last time I tripped I listened to The Dillinger Escape Plan and it FREAKED ME OUT. Then i went online and made a fool of myself pissing my buddy ben off. What should I listen to instead this time?
Imaad Wasif is likely someone you’ve never heard of. His only time spent in the limelight was a short stint with the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s as a touring guitarist for their album Show Your Bones. Imaad Wasif’s solo career began in 2006 with his self titled debut album demonstrating his eastern influenced raga guitar playing at a slow-burning tempo. The sound on his S/T was very laid-back with eastern sounding acoustic guitar strumming and his quivering delicate voice gently draped over. On his next album ‘Strange Hexes’ his sound evolves into a much fuller sound with backing band titled Two Part Beast. He trades his gentle acoustic strumming for fuzzed out electric guitars and 70’s hard rock riffage reminiscent of early Black Sabbath. His lyrical themes of: love, madness, transformation, isolation, and spiritual influences continue on with this album.
The one thing you notice as the album begins is the mysticism that Imaad tries to create with his sound. His sound is very psychedelic and trippy with shimmering guitar riffs and his soft crooning vocals coated with the perfect amount of reverb; keeping his lyrics in tact. The album is themed around magic and it is very present in the feel of the music. Songs like ‘Wanderlust’ and ‘Unveiling’ are very catchy rock n’ roll tunes that would fit in perfectly on a college rock radio station; they are the most accessible of the bunch. He also has the ability to write slow-burning drawn-out love themed ballads like the songs ‘Oceanic’ and ‘Oracle’. In ‘Oracle’ the first couple minutes are soft but as the song progresses the tension and momentum builds much like that of a post-rock song until heavy sludge riffs and an effect drenched guitar solo close out the song. The song ‘Spell’ changes the pace a bit with lush acoustic guitars and an upbeat melodic feel. It’s the prettiest song on the album and fitting with the title, is about being under the love spell of a woman; once again demonstrating the theme of magic on this album.
The 2nd half of the album doesn’t have straightforward psych-rock tunes like the first half but it is just as good nonetheless. ‘Seventh Sign’ and ‘Oracle’ are slow drawn-out psychedelic tunes while the second two ‘Cloudlines’ and ‘Lesser Banshee’ bring back the heavier feel present in the first couple tracks. The album closes with the mystical ‘Abyss’ that builds with clean guitar strumming and séance-esque tribal drumming. Everything builds to a head with fuzzed out guitars and the pounding of drums until everything dies off leaving just Imaad’s voice wandering alone through the darkness. The band suddenly returns for the climax as Imaad cries for the return of his woman who fell into the abyss, just before things grow quiet and the album comes to a close.
The only real downfall to this otherwise great sophomore album is the lack of variation in the sound of the music. What I mean is that most of the songs are all in similar musical keys, so no one song sounds that much different from one another even if each song is good in it’s own right. Imaad does his best trying to be this mystical figure that creates whimsical eastern-influenced psych-rock from another world. Will everyone be convinced of the mystical and haunting sound he tries to create? I can’t be the judge of that but, he seems pretty authentic in my eyes; he seems to be creating music that he is perfectly capable of. Is it your thing? You'll be the judge of that.