Faraz Haider’s Andher: Hits and misses

Published: August 17, 2010

Faraz Haider's new album Andher seems to be inspired by Audioslave

Faraz Haider derives his musical inspiration from life, be it human emotions or current affairs. His debut album Andher reflects this, as most of the songs on the album have been composed by him and the relation of the artist to his lyrics lends them honesty – as if he is relating real life experiences.

As soon as I popped the CD into the disc drive and hit the play button, I was greeted with an Audioslave inspired rock intro. Faraz Haider’s classic rock-esque wails and croons in the title track Andher are disappointing; the music and angry-guy lyrics are predictable and the only thing I really liked about the song is the short guitar solo at the end which is frequently punctuated by Haider’s piercing vocals.

The second song on the other hand, Dunya Ghoom Kay, is a breath of fresh air. On this track, Haider’s talent shines through; his voice contains an air of honesty that fuses well with the strum of the guitar, and the vocals and melody blend well together to offer a pleasant listening experience.

Another track I enjoyed listening to is Benaam – again, because it is devoid of the rock-enthused guitar and drum routine. The vocals on this track are great and Haider’s control and creativity are praiseworthy, especially since he has received no formal voice or music training. Intizaar (which is a duet with Navin Waqar) has an alternative-rock feel to it and is definitely worth a listen because their voices are individually strong and even more powerful together, providing an electrifying resonance.

My favourite track on the album is Tum Hee Jaano. It has the makings of a great love song without being sappy; the lyrics are sincere and the vocals range between soft and very powerful. It starts off mellow and picks up and drifts into a pleasant soft rock melody, where Haider flaunts his remarkably diverse vocal range.

I am a devoted Audioslave fan (particularly because of Chris Cornell) and it is evident that Haider’s music is heavily inspired by them, but I don’t think there is much commercial value for Urdu rock music. Having said that, I would love to watch Haider perform Audioslave’s Shadow on the Sun or Getaway Car, because he has the vocals to do brilliant covers of those songs.  The alternative rock genre  is definitely where his strength lies; I can picture his unplugged gigs being roaring successes. His voice has just the right elements to be fused with mellow acoustics.


Atika Rehman

Editor of the Life & Style pages of The Express Tribune and an LLB graduate from the University of London.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.


    Not much commercial value for Urdu rock band? I disagree. People love Ali Azmat, the only genuine rock musician in the country. That proves!Recommend

  • Hamood

    Atika, I am confused. “Not much commercial value for Urdu rock music”? Can you please elaborate. Are you differentiating Urdu rock from Urdu pop? In that case it makes more sense because Urdu pop musicians seem to be doing ok. If they weren’t there wouldn’t be a million of them. On the flip side, there have been several successful Urdu rock musicians, the most famous of them a band called Junoon.Recommend

  • Murtaza

    I am happy for him that he got it released regardless of commercial value. When we start releasing albums, at least we get to hear more diversity. To each their own. Recommend

  • hafsa

    I love looking out your new pakistani artist. there is so much raw talent out there and i think it great that they can find a platform to share their music and passion with others. i havnt come across any of Faraz’s work but after reading this i am deftly going to give these songs a listen. how knows he just might be ‘the’ next upcoming act!!Recommend

  • Zehra ahmed

    Good to hear updates on Pakistani music, its time we started making music with a more positive note, instead of being emo all the time. It clearly isn’t getting the nation very far. But anyhow, good effort for trying. Keep at it, there maybe some positive notes to come.Recommend

  • http://www.getit.pk Yasser Malik


    Keep up the posts. Have been following your work for quite some time, either publicly through your owned work or under an alias.

    Will surely look up Faraz Haider, we dont always hear much about up-coming talent especially whilst living overseas.

    Look forward to the next entry.

    All the best. Recommend

  • Laila

    I like your blatant honesty. Your objective analysis of the album has a real feel to it, and it makes me anxious to find out what the audiences’ response will be towards Faraz H’s album. His work sounds interesting, and i hope his hard work pays off. As for you, keep up the good work Ms Rehman.Recommend

  • Nazish Daudi

    Im glad to see our new Pakistani talent getting reviews and an opportunity for such great exposure. I know after reading this blog ill atleast try and hear a few songs from this album. Keep the posts coming Atika!Recommend

  • Anam

    i completely agree with the fact there isn’t much commercial value for urdu rock music. No doubt we have had great musician’s like Junoon. But if i really think about it Junoon is the first and only band that pops up in my head.
    As far as classical, pop, sufi, etc are concerned, the demand and commercial value is a lot more, urdu rock can be great but has a lot of catching up to do. So i’m glad that Faraz Haider has taken this initiative, and it may bring out a lot more talent. Recommend

  • http://arsalanejaz.posterous.com Arsalan Ahmed

    The Problem is we love to critcize so much, so much that the person himself and others following that art, just Stop!
    there is hardly any thing happening in our music scene, its hardly rewarding, and know all this if an artist comes up with some thing. we should rather encourage hm… Recommend

  • Sara

    A large number of musicians in Pakistan are heavily influenced by Classic Rock and Alternative Rock. Even our Pop singers know their “Rock Legends” better then their Pop Artists. The common man loves a good ghazal, everyone loves a good ass shaking hit by Ali Zafar or a good Indian Hit. The average Pakistani youth however, the new generation, the ones who dont just listen to Audio slave love bands like EP, Mizraab, Call etc.

    Junoon is what started it all, but Junoon isnt where it ends. Pakistan def has a market for Rock, Whether it be beautiful ballad with meaningful words sung to a melodic guitar rift or an expression of dissent- Rock defines the times.Recommend

  • Anam

    What people lack these days is the ability to take constructive criticism, i had not heard of this band until now, and reading this article actually sparked a certain sense of curiosity within me, to go ahead and find out who Faraz Haider is, and wether his vocals are actually as strong as mentioned above.
    It takes a lot of effort no doubt to release an album, and his effort hasn’t gone to waste, but at the same time musician’s should also be open to feedback, if not for anything else but to bring out the best in themselves. Recommend

  • Laila

    @Arsalan Ahmed
    Criticism of any kind is a part of life, and in this case, the writer’s criticism is purely constructive. if you haven’t noticed, she has also spoken well about some of his work. Therefore, instead of picking on the negative aspects and overlooking the positive feedback, we should take note of the constructive criticism that comes our way and aspire to perform much better in the future. Remember that it is our critics that motivate us to achieve much more than we think we are capable of.Recommend

  • Daanish

    Good job. I hope Faraz Haider reads this blog and actually listens to your advice. You need to keep writing more awesome articles – look forward to reading them!Recommend

  • Mehvar

    This review is a (S)hit and a miss, no offense but the writer is overly trying to put the artist into a pre-determined idea of what he SHOULD sound like and is ignoring what he DOES sound like. Even when the writer does manage to swallow the idea of faraz’s own style of music he/she still can’t wait but to compare him to Audioslave. I hope the great Gods of Rock take pity on your soul for actually uttering those words, comparing chris cornell and everything he is to our faint young lad faraz. oh you have done wrong.

    while i do not agree with your compartmentalized idea of music such as the term ‘Urdu Rock’ which in itself is a very broad range you’ve tried to categorize faraz’s music into. so ‘Urdu Rock’ would be something totally different for you and i.

    POST 2000:
    It is certainly strange that Faraz used ‘Andher’ as the title of the album since Faraz use to be in a Underground Metal band called ‘Andher’ and came up with overly screamed distortion laden originals titled ‘Dard’ ‘Intizaar’ & ‘Guna’ – Here’s some trivia: the guitarist of the UG band had a VeeJaying stint with AAG TV and came on a show which aired at 3PM, he also played guitar on the waste of space song called ‘Faliure’ yes yasir jalbani.
    Even though i appreciated the Band trying their best to come up on top as Urdu Headbangers as much as they could. Their lyrics were not half bad: “Kash mein jhoota na hota, tujh sey na behmani kerta, mujhay dekh lade ek baar woh roshni jo mein thukarata gaya…” from what i remember andher did a set of their original songs and covered ‘Creed’Recommend

  • hussain

    i loved a couple of tracks on the album. overall its decent and im sure it won’t create waves like noori did back in 2003. But really, this guy is a powerhouse of a musician and his voice is unique, it will standout. Recommend

  • http://www.pakstop.com Abid Siddiqui

    Man he ruined the song Intezaar

    The old version of his UG band was better

    Seach on internet for Andher-Intizaar.MP3 or e-mail me, that song was amazing Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui

    @Abid Siddiqui: hey dude, i need that version of Intizaar. PleaseRecommend

  • Abid Siddiqui

    @Saad Siddiqui:

    e-mail address plzRecommend

  • Abid Siddiqui