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PICHAL PAIREE

Overload

Neo-Prog


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Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Rock music from Pakistan is pretty much an unknown territory for me, a trait I probably share with most people in western Europe. And discovering this act is somewhat of a find.

Not that this is exceptionally brilliant music from undiscovered musical geniuses or something like that though. It is a good album though, and Overload does provide western listeners with a much more sophisticated mainstream-oriented affair than what we're used to as far as popular music goes.

And the aspect of this venture that may dismay a few potential fans is the mainstream foundations in quite a few of the tracks. And especially discovering it after being enthralled by the fireworks of a rhythmic display on the first few listens. But when venturing deeper into these efforts many levels of more or less subtle refinement starts appearing too. Besides the obvious effects used - contrasting, hard metal-inspired riffs first and foremost - symphonic inspired textures and fusion elements will be discovered by the avid listener. The bass lines in particular a fine example of the latter. Space-tinged themes is another feature neatly incorporated into this effort, blending in well with riff patterns not totally unlike Rush at times. Atmospheric guitar soloing and keyboard textures closer to the vintage neo-progressive school are other elements worth noting.

And while the overall result is an album just as much dominated by mainstream-oriented musical displays as it is by world music and art rock, it is a nice example of a refined rock effort of a progressive nature, albeit on the light side as far as this stylistic expression goes.

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Posted Friday, January 08, 2010 | Review Permalink
TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I've been writing less reviews of late then I would like, so I've decided to try writing a review over lunch each day, if I am listening to an album I haven't reviewed yet.

Today, that finds me listening to Overload's Pichael Pairee, which I downloaded from their website for free yesterday after seeing it in the "free prog mp3s" thread in the forums. It is labelled on the site as Neo-Prog, but certainly doesn't sound like any Neo-Prog I've heard before. This album doesn't sound quite as nostalgic or as symphonic as other Neo Prog I've heard. So for those who typically avoid this genre, this album will probably dismay their expectations. And for sure, this is partially because this is a band that seems to have no desire of being prog. They are advertised as "The Loudest Band in Pakistan", and on lastfm they are tagged as "Melodic Death Metal", "Hardcore", and "Hardstyle" (the last of which I have never heard before).

The music is interesting. It starts off strong with Dig Dag and Dhol Bajay Ga, which both show the band as excellent, energetic musicians with a good ear for melody.

Pichal Pairee and Amjad Khan sound a bit more mainstream than most prog music that I would typically listen to. The drumbeats are a bit less frenetic, and are in some cases abetted with some electronic sounding drums. Guitars and bass spend more time repeating riffs. The vocals and lyrics are in English and sound like your typical, love/lust songs. They do still have moments where the instruments burst forward with a bit more energy, as if even in the context of trying to write a pop song, the band could not be held back.

Vichar Gaye is another example, for the opening definitely sounds somewhat mainstream, although the non-english lyrics and ethnic singing style really give it a unique sound. By two minutes in the song has a driving drumbeat and the synth-y sounds from the opening that made it sound so mainstream are greatly diminished. For sure, it would still fit on the radio, but it would not sound cookie cutter.

In Kakyra, I can kind of hear where the metal tag might have come from, for it is a much more guitar driven track, with no vocals. It has moments that really rock out, but this song also has strong dynamics, with several quieter passages where piano-y keyboards get to spend some time in the foreground. Even the quiet guitar parts are full of speed and melody. Truthfully, I am no expert on what "Melodic Death Metal" is supposed to sound like, but to me, this just sounds like really good hard rock. By now, as well, the band is no longer giving the pretense of being mainstream, and drummer Farhad Humayun really shines from this point forward on the album.

On that note, I should mention that the version I downloaded does not exactly match the track listing here. Kakyra is the 6th song, followed by Saat Mein; and instead of A Thousand Miracles (which I imagine, by the name, was probably another poppy song) or Mela Kariya, I have a song called "50 years".

Saat Mein is a pretty good song, starting metal-like guitar, lighter drums, airy singing, and bass that is happy to be silent half the time. The song develops various themes, and each instrument is absent for a period of silence to let the other instruments have a chance to take the forefront (with perhaps the exception of the drums). And while there is singing, it is all without vocals and acts as yet another instrument. Unfortunately, it seems to end without the energy of the first half.

As to 50 Years, the song that I got that was not part of the original, it is an alright fare, more int he lines of Kakyra or Saat Mein then the more mainstream sounding first half, with the emphasis taken from the guitar towards what sounds like a woodwind instrument (although without the booklet I am not quite sure, my ears aren't perfect at detecting all the instruments yet :). The guitars do come in during the last minute, working nicely with the existing harmonies to create an epic ending.

Overall, three stars. Definitely refreshing and not what one would expect from the sub-genre, with some great tracks, but lacking anything to really punch it any higher.

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Send comments to TheGazzardian (BETA) | Report this review (#265751)
Posted Friday, February 12, 2010 | Review Permalink

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