FARAZ ANWAR – Abstract Point Of View [Reissue]

FARAZ ANWAR - Abstract Point Of View [Reissue]


Lion Music
Release date: September 21, 2004

Guitars: A-
Bass: B
Percussion: B
Keyboards: B
Recording Quality: B
Originality: A-
Overall Rating: B+

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

There’s a pretty good chance you’ve never heard of Faraz Anwar … but he’s a hugely talented guitarist and songwriter that you should indeed get to know. Anwar comes from Pakistan, of all places, and a culture where musicians atypically delve into the rock ‘n’ roll spectrum of music, much less toying with Heavy Metal concepts. Born in 1976, Anwar caught glimpse of a Yngwie Malmsteen video in the 6th grade … the Metal seeds were immediately sown, and even though he was scolded by members of his hometown for doing so, Anwar continued on with his musical aspirations and rock ‘n’ roll dreams. In 1990, Anwar began getting serious about his guitar playing when he started watching/studying the Paul Gilbert guitar lesson videos. Gotta love that … but it makes perfect sense that his commitment to the guitar would start under such modest circumstances since Pakistan is likely not exactly crawling with Rock/Metal music teachers. As you might venture to guess, other than Malmsteen, Anwar lists Gilbert as a significant musical influence, along with the likes of Steve Morse and Steve Vai.

Anwar also has played/is playing with the bands Dusk and Mizraab, in case you’re ultra-tuned into music and have heard of these outfits, however, Abstract Point Of View represents his first solo effort. The album was actually released by Gnarly Geezer Records in what appears to be 2001, only later to be picked up by Lion Music for world distribution in mid-2004.

Well on to the music … Anwar delivers one of most “unique” instrumental albums of the new millennium. There’s Metal in this album, but there’s also some fast-Jazz undertones, along with a few Middle-Eastern influences, that give a couple of tracks the initial flavor of being primed and ready for inclusion in the soundtrack for The Passion Of The Christ movie! Anwar mixes frenetic guitar speed with thoughtful and sedate interludes, and mixes in some really interesting keyboard work that is completely successful in enhancing the mood of each song. Of particular interest too is the percussion technique. It’s understated, yet powerful, and adds further uniqueness to Anwar’s sound. The double-bass drums, especially, have a subdued “thud” to them, but the sound is so original that the drums noticeably stand out and drive the innovation of each song.

Abstract Point Of View contains 6 tracks totaling about 45 minutes in length. The first song, “Through The Passage Of Time,” starts out with some distorted Mike Tyson-ish spoken words and relies predominantly on a New Age, soft melody coupled with multiple musical layers created by the guitars and keyboards. The varied music throughout this almost 13-minute track definitely provides images of the trials and tribulations experienced through the passage of time.

Track 2 is entitled “Maze,” and certainly elicits a “fear” response with the pounding drums at the beginning … as if Anwar is lost in the maze himself. The song features plenty of intricate and fast guitar playing, coupled with a lethargic melody, which creates an interesting, yet workable, musical mix.

Third up is “Prophet.” This is the first song with evident Middle-Eastern influences intertwined into a solid guitar-driven instrumental. The Middle-Eastern influences at the beginning and end of this track indeed sell the prophet concept of the song.

Track 4 is called “Don’t Ever Let Your Spirit Die,” and essentially starts the trend with the last 3 songs of failing to create strong images like their predecessors. This track is much less complex than the first 3, yet still good. It essentially is a track intended to let Anwar showcase his guitar wizardry, which is nothing short of a “good” thing to do.

The track “Last Summer” is the first track where Anwar actually sounds like someone else – the style here is very much along the lines of everything great by the man who wrote the book on creating quality instrumental Metal: Joe Satriani. There’s a conventional groove with fairly predictable chord patterns in this song … and there’s even a more mainstream Metal percussion sound to boot! It’s absolutely a great great song that could easily get international radio play on a variety of rock radio stations.

Rounding out the CD is the 10 and half minute “Why?” track. The title “Why?,” as far as can be determined, probably was utilized because Anwar asked himself, “Why can’t I determine an identity for this final track?” Similar to the “Prophet” song, there’s a Middle-Eastern flavor to the song, along with some really cool drum rolls, and periodic heavy power chords (which have a feel to them similar to Black Sabbath’s classic “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”). Unfortunately, this track also contains plenty of musical wadding – there’s always the risk of this happening in an all-instrumental CD – Anwar nearly escaped the wadding trap, but sure enough gets caught up in it with this track. There are plenty of good interludes in this song to prevent it from becoming a total disaster, but the inspiration and defined direction apparent in its 5 predecessors lacks here.

Overall, though, Anwar has created one of the better instrumentals in 2004, and definitely one of the most unique Metal/New Age/Jazz albums in a number of years. This is an album to “become one with” during your listening session. Anwar is quite successful in luring in the listener with his varied and original musical styles and in capturing your undivided attention. This album can definitely serve as aggressive “meditation music,” or as background music for an upbeat social gathering where “something out of the ordinary” is appropriate. By all means, go ahead and check this one out!


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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