Enraged sounds like a band walking a line. They are an oddity, as a band meddling in the melancholic part of metal music from their home base of Gizah, Egypt. Refreshingly different because of the lace of Arab spice set in every serving of their second studio recording. ‘JAHR’ feels like it is a journey into the fray of a free for all fight in a pit set in the middle of a raucous bar. This may not be surprising because ‘JAHR’ is a continuation of the saga of an ominous prophet, experiencing a meltdown into insanity because of the destruction of society, as chronicled in the band’s 2014 EP, ‘JEREMIAD’.
“‘JAHR‘ is an Arabic word that means speaking out and is usually associated with someone speaking up to something that is not favorable to the society.” Says Rasha, female front for Enraged.
Members of Enraged are made up of Wael (Guitar/Vocals), Hossam (Guitar), Bishoy (Bass Guitar), Mostafa (Drums), Rasha (Vocals), and Sherif (Keyboard). The band has been together for ten years, since 2005, and has persistently forged their unique sound and an edgy stage presence in a bid to break away from being categorized merely as an oriental band. That has been no small feat, considering the band is unsigned and hardly makes any money after paying for travel costs to gigs, for gear and techies. Music is forced to be a hobby as band members are rooted in their day jobs; the metal scene is limited by a fledgling fan base and cultural issues negatively influence a raving audience. Initially covering bands like Evanescence, Nightwish and Lacuna Coil, hard work has projected their sound into realms of bands like Arch Enemy and Metallica, albeit with their own signature sound.
Here is what you should expect from the album ‘JAHR’ when it finally drops.
MIRROR: The opening track on the album comes across as a sweet ballad invaded by an Arabesque symphony of collective string work. The guitar riffs are decently expressive but you may not know what to feel about it all. The audioscape of the song is a bit unusual; like looking at a familiar landscape but the sky is green.
JAHR: This title track opens with a very hard driving melody and deserves to be the signature of the album. The transitions from Metal to Arabic infused strains, which set their sound apart, are seamless, but that is only half way into the track. From there, they deviate from the defining power of the opening strains and settle, somewhat, into a marching bandlike rhythm. Wael’s growl is convincing, but generally the vocals don’t pack enough punch to round things out.
CURTAINS OF CONFORMITY: Definitely a headbanger from the beginning. You get sucked into the defiance with the relentless revving of the guitar riffs and drums. Rasha’s vocals carry the intensity through on this edgy track but they are inaudible at times, leaving you wishing for more from this Evanescence-like song.
SIN: Sin takes you into an atmosphere reminiscent of a dingy bar where unhindered debauchery should not come as a surprise. “I tasted sin and I liked it. Don’t tell me it’s not good…”; with a line like that, you know what to expect. Fantastic guitar riffs, which do not deviate from Enraged’s signature, give you a ride on a horse of a different color.
THE LINE: The honky tonk guitar opening to The Line gives you a Quentin Tarantino movie feel. You get a hint of the influence of The Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’, masterfully done.
SHELL SHOCK: The energy on this song made it a perfect end track to the album. It hits hard the way the Foo Fighters would do you. ‘Shell Shock’ carries the common thread of borderline violence and you sense the weariness as Wael belts out “I don’t wanna fight anymore…” The track ends with a surprisingly mellow guitar solo which leaves you feeling like you are being washed clean after a particularly difficult mud fight.
Enraged is a band to keep on your radar. They have a voice. It may need further honing, but it is clear nonetheless. On ‘JAHR’, they truly “come out” with their perceptions of what is going on in Egypt’s political life and other subjects bothering society.
Keep an eye out (or should we say an ear) for ‘JAHR’. You just might like the madness.
This review was written by Bem Sar, who is a regular guest reviewer and collaborator on AudioInferno.com. Bem Sar is a Nigerian singer/songwriter who specialises in a fusion of funk rock and chamber jazz. He has released 2 CDs, ‘For The Life of Me‘ and ‘Raising Dust‘, in 2005 and 2008 respectively. He was one of the pioneers of the new wave of rock music here in the country and is based in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, Abuja. Be sure to check out his music at cdbaby.com/cd/bemsar12.