Mizraab
Maazi, Haal, Mustaqbil


4.5
superb

Review

by OmairSh CONTRIBUTOR (34 Reviews)
January 19th, 2021 | 13 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The best Metal album ever released in Pakistan

The year is 2004 and it’s been three years since the release of Faraz Anwar’s solo album which has established himself as the premier guitarist in Pakistan, if not the Sub-continent as a whole. Although there was a rapidly growing Rock scene in the region, few guitarists had dared to dabble so heavily in technically challenging guitar heavy instrumental rock music. Inspired by axemen including Allan Holdsworth, Steve Vai, John Petrucci, and Yngwie Malmsteen to name a few, Faraz set himself apart for being a risk taker and one to not compromise on his vision of bringing intelligent progressive music to Pakistan. And he had yet to release his magnum opus, until now with his Progressive Metal band Mizraab.

What Maazi Haal Mustaqbil lets the listener know almost immediately is that the guitar playing on this gets heavy, really heavy in places. It’s a facet of progressive music that the Western hemisphere had long since been accustomed to but in Pakistan, where pop and Qawwali (classical) music reign supreme, this punch in the face wasn’t very predictable. Tracks like “Aag” and “Panchi” exemplify the heavier aspect of Faraz’ song writing, with the former in particular arguably being the heaviest track he’s ever released incorporating some crushing riffs, drumming and fantastic lead work. This isn’t to say that this album is bloated with heavy riff oriented song writing, but rather that the guitar playing is geared to serve the impact required for each song. Songs such as “Insaan” and “Muntazir” showcase a melodic rock oriented flavour with simplistic guitar hooks & catchy vocal driven choruses, while “”Kuch Hai” and “Janay Mey” delve into mellow atmospheric rock, maintaining an ominous disposition throughout. In places the song writing can feel a tad repetitive and stifled, with there being opportunities for more experimentation and pushing of boundaries. Another gripe of mine is the album’s lengthy runtime of nearly 70 minutes can make the listening experience feel a little laboured by the end of Maazi Haal Mustaqbil.

One constant throughout Maazi Haal Mustaqbil is the lead playing which is solely handled by Faraz and encompasses his arsenal, from intense shredding to more melodic phrase driven soloing. While primarily known for his guitar ability, Faraz also handles lead vocal and keyboard duties on this record. His vocals have deemed to be an acquired taste but one can’t argue that his performance is passionate and it runs the gamut from tame hums to high pitched screams, always focusing on memorable melodies. The keyboards play a supporting role and are especially prominent during the mellower sections of the album and its interludes. They fortify the solemn mood that engulfs the album; part angst, part rebellion, part coming of age, and completely metal.

The entire album was engineered and produced by the band, back in a time where the most advanced audio tools and software weren’t easily available in this part of the world. This shows in certain areas, especially the heaviest sections where the compression can make the guitars sound quite “dry” and unforgiving. The snare drum sound also leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s something that one gets accustomed to. Apart from that the instruments do sound crisp, particularly the bass & keyboards, with the bass tones in particular being sumptuous and tasteful.

Maazi Haal Mustaqbil may not wow many people now in 2021 with the plethora of talented bands that have emerged across the globe, but if one appreciates the time and region in which this album was released, its importance and impact becomes much more evident. A true pioneering effort from one of the leading musical lights of the country at the time, and one that still stands the test of time.

Recommended Tracks
1. Aag
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrfyzGaWy1A&list=TLPQMTkwMTIwMjFHHfJDO gCMNA&index=7
2. Insaan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBGDquZxSWo&list=TLPQMTkwMTIwMjFHHfJDO gCMNA&index=6
3. Kuch Hai
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaoMc06SOZM&list=TLPQMTkwMTIwMjFHHfJDO gCMNA&index=12
4. Muntazir
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzN4PNWtYAo&list=TLPQMTkwMTIwMjFHHfJDO gCMNA&index=10



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user ratings (3)
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
OmairSh
Contributing Reviewer
January 19th 2021


17563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Jammed this after aaaages and felt like I finally needed to review it. Not sure if anyone will check but if anyone does, enjoy :-)

parksungjoon
January 19th 2021


32249 Comments


yep i think people who love riverside and 2000s pt would find a lot to like here

kinda feel bad that that kind of stuff doesnt do too much for me anymore

great writeup as always

parksungjoon
January 19th 2021


32249 Comments


relatively by the by but have you heard the solo album anacrusis' kenn nardi put out last decade? thing you'd be into it

OmairSh
Contributing Reviewer
January 19th 2021


17563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah park I know what you mean, I don't seek out bands that sound like this nowadays but this is a classic for me from the sub continent



I haven't checked Kenn's album, thanks for the rec, will add it to the list :P

parksungjoon
January 19th 2021


32249 Comments


>but this is a classic for me from the sub continent

it really does come close to pt in many (good) ways, but also feels different enough. the singer helps with that i think, and there were some brief moments where it felt like it was channeling 70s prog more effectively than wilson... can certainly see the vai comparison as well on tracks like mayusee

Jethro42
January 19th 2021


16526 Comments


I'm into it, Omair my dude. Sounds a bit heavy for my taste, but it's quite accessible.

Digging: The Tea Club - Quickly Quickly Quickly

parksungjoon
January 19th 2021


32249 Comments


woah jethro lives!

this got reviewed recently u might dig

https://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/82673/Hallas-Excerpts-From-a-Future-Past/

Jethro42
January 19th 2021


16526 Comments


Yessss park. I do appear here and there ;)

Thanks for the link, man. Will check, cheers!

Jethro42
January 19th 2021


16526 Comments


Love the Pakistani vibes in ''Kuch Hai''

OmairSh
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2021


17563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yoooo Jethro, glad to see you around, and enjoying a few songs off here ;)



Agreed, the almost Middle Eastern vibe of Kuch Hai makes it feel so enigmatic. Meri Tarhan, Insaan, Muntazir, Izhaar all great rockers. Simple and catchy. Aag is like X-Men's Juggernaut :-D



@park: agreed man, the prog influence is evident but it doesn't feel too much like a rip off like you said, plus it has the local flavour as well

OmairSh
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2021


17563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Obviously I have a nostalgic attachment to this album so my opinions might have that bias. Might have not enjoyed this as much if I first heard it nowadays. But that's how it goes with art in general

parksungjoon
January 20th 2021


32249 Comments


nothing wrong with that :]

Jethro42
January 20th 2021


16526 Comments


Nice job on the review. It's done with a rich English language. Continue to review valuable bands/albums, bro. I've only noticed one tiny typing mistake; First para, Allen is rather Allan Holdsworth.



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