This may be a mistaken assumption, but one imagines that the yellow pages in Pakistan do not contain a huge selection of guitar teachers specializing in rock, metal, fusion and jazz. Apparently influenced by an early Malmsteen video, a young Faraz Anwar honed his craft from the Paul Gilbert tutorials – and has emerged as a guitar virtuoso with a standard of musicianship and classical sensibility that stands shoulder to shoulder with the Satriani / Vai / McAlpine / Johnson set. This is his debut album, essentially a solo project that was released in 2001 with zero acclaim, and has now been re-released by Lion records.
Abstract Point Of View is a complex body of all-instrumental guitar-driven neo-classical progressive metal / fusion, and Anwar's self-confessed Holdsworth influences are abundantly clear. The style is more DiMeola than Satriani, more McLaughlin than Malmsteen. The jazz influences, the frequent lapses into symphonic rock and the relentlessly driving rhythm section conspire to form a challenging album that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
True, like most virtuosos, the music doesn't sit well in the background. Concentrated listens will reward the discerning listener – there are very complex musical structures, there are melodious sections and there are intricate and lightning quick passages and the compositions are abstract, and despite all that complexity, there's plenty of melody. But turn the volume down and divert your attention to other activities and it all sounds the same.
Track 5 "Last Summer" is a particularly melodic piece, and the final track of the 6 in this 46-minute album is a 10½ minute progressive mini-epic called "Why?", with more textures and variety than the rest of the CD. It kicks off with a synthesized hint of southern Asian sounds, and develops into a well textured piece with a wonderfully melodic piano presence and less of the guitar virtuoso approach.
This CD will be manna for the musical intellectual. Remember the name: All he needs to do is lose the drum machine, and Faraz Anwar has the potential to become the logical successor to Alan Holdsworth.
- Through The Passage of Time: 12.44
- Maze: 4.53
- Prophet: 6.56
- Don't Ever Let Our Spirit Die: 5.30
- Last Summer: 4.46
- Why?: 10.28