CD REVIEW: Abhoora - Awkward DIary
By Cyrus Rhodes
Genre: Techno, Electronica, Rock
Sounds Like: Queen, Stabbing Westward, U2, NIN, Prodigy, Crystal Meth
Marketability, Commercial Value, Suffering from "a severe
case of Genera Identify
Iranian 3 piece rock band Ahoora releases their third CD “Awkward Diary” in the March 2, 2010. This is the first rock production I’ve ever heard from Iran.
Logging in at just over 41 minutes the CD kicks things off with “Masks & Belefires” a interesting techno piece that serves up a barrage of electronic soundscapes, catchy keyboard accents, and rich melodic layering. Track 2:”Unattended” shifts gears a bit with driving rhythm, more aggressive guitar attach, and sinister vocal accents from lead singer Ashkan Hadavand. Track 3 “Nervous Ghost” serves up more passionate vocals from Hadavand, pulsating melody and, trance like rhythms. The passionate vocal style of Hadavand is in the vein of Freddie Mercury (QUEEN), David Bowie, Bono, and just a dash of Trent Reznor. His voice is actually quite appealing, and delivers alot of passion and feel. As the CD slowly unfolds its obvious Ahoora is one band that doesn’t believe in musical boundaries. In fact “Ahoora” is extremely hard to pigeonhole. I haven’t heard anything quite like Abhoora before. It crosses so many musical boundaries and offers everything from electronica, Jazz, Rock, Chill-Dub Out, to Heavy Metal, Trance, and even corporate pop. It definitely offers a lot of musical variety, and is something quite original and unique sounding. Many songs on this CD will take you in a million different directions simultaneously. Abhoora also brings to the table a wide range of instrumentation. You will notice rich musical textures overflowing everywhere - from sizzling guitar pyrotechnics, driving electronic drums and percussion, to exotic saxophone, strings, horns, and pulsating bass meshed against exotic synthesizer and keyboard nuances. The tehcho overdubbing is packed to the hilt, and is chopped full of exotic soundscapes that lunge at you from every direction. There's not a dull moment on the entire production. From dark piece like “Drizzle Knight” and “Unattebded” to more hypnotic grooves “Perfect Day” and “Out of the Past’ to hard rocking “Egoless” “Awkward Diary” will take you places you’ve never been before. Listeners should just sit back and let this CD take you where it takes you.
“Awkward Diary” is to say the least a little bit awkward. It’s definitely what I would call “art for art’s sake.” Most American or Westerner listeners will struggle to identify with Abhoora. Though it offers a huge amount of variety, and musical independence - it spreads itself way too thin across so many musical boundaries. Due to this "Musical Identity Crisis" I became somewhat disenchanted 20 minutes into it. Eventually you come to a place where you just roll with it Ahoora is virtually impossible to classify Genera wise, and at times very hard to swallow. The vocals sit to far back in the mix, and as a result it’s hard to hear what Hadavand is singing about. So there’s a lot lost in translation with respect to the message, and the lyrical content. Unfortunately the vital (singer to listener) emotional connection misses the mark. It’s fair to say “Awkward Diary” is not the most marketable record I've ever heard, and lacks commercial value. Sometimes it's the notes you don't play that make you the composer you are. At the end of the day it's one of the busiest productions I've ever heard. If Abhoora was an Interior Decorator he would stick a painting on every square inch of your wall.
From start to finish “Awkward Diary” is one of the most tripped out musical experience I’ve ever encountered. It’s extremely consistent, original, and very melodic. It’s strength - its amazing originality, rich sonic layering, and unique musical personality. No doubt if 3 guys from the West attempted to compose a top notch Iranian CD most people from that region would no doubt have a filed day with it. I give Abhoora alot of credit for taking this on, and releasing a Western sounding production. Make no bones about it “Ahoora” is one of those bands that’s extremely hard to pin down. So if you long for amore tripped out musical experience, astray from the mainstream - then you should definitely dedicate 41 minutes of to Abhoora's "Awkward Diary” When the ride is over you will be dazzled by it’s originality, overwhelmed by it’s mystery, and mesmerized by it’s sheer unpredictability.
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