Qayaas
Uss Paar


3.5
great

Review

by OmairSh USER (31 Reviews)
May 30th, 2020 | 13 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Enjoy the aggression of Hard Rock? Relish the melodic side of Soft Rock and the layers of Progressive Rock? If so, this album might be worth your time.

A wave of Pakistani “guitar heroes” emerged in the 2000s, forming bands and playing a spectrum of music ranging from Pop Rock to Blues Rock, Hard Rock and even Jazz Fusion. One of these guitar heroes is Khurram Waqar; an experienced campaigner in the realm of guitar playing, songwriting, as well as engineering. In 2008 he decided to contact (at the time) up-and-coming singer Umair Jaswal, and thus Qayaas was born. The vision for Qayaas was to provide Khurram a platform to explore his more aggressive rock influences while supplementing that aggression with melodic and mellow flavours as well. He’s the principal songwriter and composed most of the music, while Umair penned all the lyrics.

Uss Paar gets straight to business with a belligerent triple combo in the form of the band’s three heaviest ever songs in “Uss Paar,” “Inquilaab,” and “Halaak,” with the first two especially being unabashed exercises in sumptuous Progressive Metal with Hard Rock grit. From the very first second of all three tracks the pounding drums and crushing riffs bring urgency to the proceedings, eventually leading you to the tasty bridge and solo sections. The album has no shortage of tasteful lead playing, with Khurram’s signature style and tone on full display, bringing his auditory Swiss Knife of sorts. He always focuses on melodic phrasing; whether it be during sections where he’s almost shredding, or the simpler ones.

As you can see Khurram’s name has been mentioned a lot already since he’s the brains behind the band, but Qayaas works particularly well as a unit. The dual guitar attack of Khurram and Sarmad Ghafoor works in perfect tandem; at times playing two separate rhythms, while at other times harmonising together, which keeps things interesting. There's also a healthy dose of acoustic guitar present here. Drummer Salman Rafique particularly performs well on Uss Paar, being in tune with the requirements of the songs; bringing drive & intensity during the Hard Rock influenced sections, and subtle embellishments for the softer ones, while sprinkling dynamic fills across the album. Finally frontman Umair delivers arguably his best performance on an album. His vocals run the gamut of emotions ranging from his deep crooner style to his signature high pitched raspy wails. Listening to this album you can understand why Khurram specifically chose Umair, he fits the music like a glove.

One of this album’s shortcomings is the track sequence. The flow of the album feels a little lopsided because the aggressive tracks bookend the album, while the mellower ones occupy the middle portion. The album commences with an intense barrage of guitar distortion and powerful drumming before simmering down to milder mannerisms, until again lifting off for the finale. This makes the listening experience feel laboured during the business end of the album, but it's something you can get acclimatised to eventually. The individual songs themselves aren’t at fault, apart from possibly the lack of more heavy sections across the album, and this is why I think better sequencing of the songs would have made the album's flow more dynamic. Another gripe of mine is the album length, with "Monsoon" and "Pukaar" seeming superfluous to my ears. They're not bad songs, but they don’t bring anything novel to the album, and removing them would have brought Uss Paar to under 60 minutes. Having said that the album does pertain a certain feeling of variety because of the diverse array of emotions on offer; containing brutal hard rock numbers like “Halaak” & “Mera Wana,” but also volatile tracks such as “Pal” and melodic rockers including “Tanha,” & “Shehrezade.” This may entice the listener to return multiple times to completely digest the album.

While sonically the album can feel slightly flat in places, overall though it sounds relatively textured as a result of it not being too heavily compressed, especially the mellower tracks. The guitar tones sound rich and crunchy, while the drum kit sounds vibrant, and Shaheryar Ghayas' bass resonates deep frequencies effectively, even if slightly muddy and low in the mix. This is what aids in making this album a compelling enough of a listen as a whole, and possibly even more so on an individual song basis. Sadly the band is now defunct, but Khurram is working on solo material, which is one silver lining to be optimistic about. One of Pakistan’s leading guitar figures continuing to keep the Rock flag flying for over two decades.

Recommended Tracks
1. Inquilaab
2. Shehrezade
3. Tanha
4. Uss Paar
5. Ishq
6. Pal

Qayaas Spotify Page https://open.spotify.com/artist/070AvN8e3WycppehEutQao

"Inquilab": [5:41] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeBggx9uS6Q&list=TLPQMjkwNTIwMjBlNLSrB hdZEA&index=2

Shehrezade [4:10] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fb9NHHj9OGw&list=TLPQMjkwNTIwMjBlNLSrB hdZEA&index=15

"Pal": [5:17] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICpN7fp4Sw4&list=TLPQMjkwNTIwMjBlNLSrB hdZEA&index=5




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user ratings (3)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
OmairSh
May 30th 2020


16235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of my favourite Pakistani Rock albums. Deserved a review. Not sure if anyone checks, but if anyone's curious here are some links as a taste (In no particular order):



1. Tanha [4:38] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAW04snSNY8&list=TLPQMjkwNTIwMjBlNLSrBhdZEA&index=14

2. Uss Paar [5:49] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xatmnpptCvk&list=TLPQMjkwNTIwMjBlNLSrBhdZEA&index=1

3. Halaak [4:01] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI1U5exRsWQ&list=TLPQMjkwNTIwMjBlNLSrBhdZEA&index=3

4. Ishq [4:24] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqtyYdkQra4&list=TLPQMjkwNTIwMjBlNLSrBhdZEA&index=8

5. Merey Wana [5:42] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWql_zCGx0s&list=TLPQMjkwNTIwMjBlNLSrBhdZEA&index=13



Trivia: The drummer Fifu went to the same uni as I did for undergrad, but he was in the first batch while I was in the 16th

Digging: Jim Matheos - Away with Words

wildinferno2010
May 30th 2020


584 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hell yeah, dude! Never stop repping these Pakistani bands. I have family in Pakistan so I'd love to hear more of this stuff.



This is actually on Spotify. And it's heavy, what a nice surprise

Mythodea
May 30th 2020


4894 Comments


You have my pos, dude. Nice to see different scenes represented. Vocals are damn fine as well and Umair is doing a great job. Didn't know what to expect when I clicked on Inquillaab, but it's so damn groovy. Any chance we get a translartiton for the album title and songs?

Also: fuck, I picked Shehrezade thinking it would be a mid-eastern metal song (solely judging by the name, naiv much?) and damn, are the vocal lines catchy.

OmairSh
May 30th 2020


16235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys!



@inferno: Glad to know I'll have at least one person that'll be curious :-). Very cool how come you have family there? From your parents side? I'm guessing there were too many mellow tracks on here that made you 3 it? I'm biased since it's nostalgic for me as well. Which tracks did you enjoy the most?



@Myth: Shucks, I try to bring something different to the table :-). Glad you're enjoying a few tracks, and of course he performs well, the talent is in the name Umair ;-) hahaha!



For real though he's got a great powerful voice and really pushes it on this album. Also love his deeper vocals. Agreeeed man Inquilab grooves hard and brings the RIFFS. Love the drumming on it as well. And yesss Shehrezade is so good as well, love the guitar tone and vocals on it. Haha it does have a pretty ethnic name so I don't blame ya! Also check the t/t and Tanha for more great riffs and vocals



Edit: Oh unfortunately I don't think the translated lyrics are online. If I find them I'll definitely let you know! My urdu isn't the best otherwise I would have tried haha. Inquilaab means revolution

OmairSh
May 30th 2020


16235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Btw you guys should eventually check out the Mekaal Hasan Band album. I know I keep harping on about it, but I think it's better than most other Pakistani rock albums.



@Myth: Forgot to to translate the album title, it means "Over There" or "In The Distance." A lot of the lyrics are personal; about self discovery and relationships. Qayaas means deliberation

wildinferno2010
May 31st 2020


584 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Omair Dad's side of the family. Was actually there earlier in the year, been meaning to learn some better Urdu before I go back.



Your review is accurate, based on a cursory listen. 3'd because I enjoyed the heavier tracks that bookend the album but it gets a bit boring in the middle. Maybe it'll grow on me after a second or third listen, idk



Loving the guitarwork here, reminds me of Alice in Chains

RangerTaffles
May 31st 2020


314 Comments


Great writeup! I've heard some Qayaas songs but never listened to their full album, so might as well do that. The lead vocalist's solo stuff is also worthwhile, especially Na Rahoon featuring Faraz Anwar. Also, the Jaswal brothers are quite prominent here locally but I agree that Umair Jaswal definitely has the best range and power in vocals.

OmairSh
May 31st 2020


16235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@inferno: That's very cool! So you have ties to Pak. Who knows maybe our trips there coincide one time haha. Yeah I know what you mean, the mid section gets too samey. Don't know why they stuck with this track sequence. Inquilaab, t/t, Halaak, Tanha, an Shehrezade are so fucking good though, and like you said the heavier tracks have an Alice in Chains feel at times, especially Halaak





@Ranger: Thanks fam! The album gets a bit slow in the middle, but has some really cool tracks that are worth a check. I haven't heard Na Rahoon, should check that out! Yeah the Jaswal has is loaded with talent, Irtash was a really cool band of Yasir's. I knew one of the brothers, he was 2 years my senior in undergrad (giki) and we were both in the dramatics society. Qayaas performed there as well once

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
June 1st 2020


11975 Comments


Uss par? Bhai lekin kiss par? Ab jaana chahiye! Lol. Good shit though. Listening to inquilab and getting massive deja vu to this band.

https://youtu.be/CvVOZxY5Op8

Kind of uncanny resemblance.

OmairSh
June 1st 2020


16235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha jonsa bhi Paar hey, jaana hey uski taraf



There are similarities in the guitar tone but the style is a bit different. That was enjoyable as well!

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
June 1st 2020


11975 Comments


That was just the first one that came up when I youtubed the band, but they have songs with very similar riffs too. Alice in Chains-y post grunge with a little bit of prog for flavour. This has a little bit more prog in it and tt's good stuff for sure. I probably would have loved it in the mid-late 2000's but it feels a little dated to me right now.

RaylanCrowder
June 1st 2020


117 Comments


Waiting for you to be a basic bitch and upload reviews of Call, Vital Signs and Junoon lmao

OmairSh
June 2nd 2020


16235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gotcha Sitar, yeah I know what you mean by the sound, my connection to this album is obviously a bit different since I first heard it back in 2011 when it was released



Haha Raylan, Junoon's Inquilaab might be in line in the near future. I might be writing one for Keeray Makoray's funky EP first though! I just reviewed Asad Ahmed's instrumental solo album, that album was actually more fun that I expected!





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