Saeid Shahrouz - ”Mabad”

Hamaavaaz Aahang (Iran)
2004 (1383)

Being one of the most (if not THE most) productive recording-artists inside Iran, Saeid Shahrouz has already got TWO BRAND NEW albums ready for release in 1383! With the first one already on the market, entitled “Mabad”, Shahrouz promises a whole bunch of new sounds and styles employed and to be showcased! AS USUAL is this talented composer’s main “partner in ART” Behnam Abtahi with his arranging skills and the 11-piece album features even lyrical collaborations with Niloofar Laripour, Fariba Vakili, Maryam Delshad, Dariush Shahriyari, Mohammad Reza Habibi, Yaghma Golroee, Afshin Siahpoush, Ali Salehi and -last but not least in this line-up of the contemporary Iran’s most renowned lyricists- Babak Sahraee! ”Mabad” is released on Hamaavaaz Aahang.

The album opens with a rhythmic (Turko-)ARABESQUE song with the typical ABTAHI/SHAHROUZ jargon. “Kheili Sangi” is a nice song but still a rather questionable opener!

Next comes “Divoone Baazi” with that SADEGH NOJOOKI-inspired arrangement, that we are used to hear on Shahrouz’ albums. Even though these CATCHY FARES have been reduced down to only 1-2 tracks on each album lately, …to my GREAT disappointment! Needless to say is this my personal favourite from the album.

The title-track is a mid-tempo 70’s inspired tune with subtle INDO-ORIENTAL influences to relate to the concept and cover of the album. I like the OLD-SCHOOL arrangement in this particular fare!

“Eshtebaah” breaks down by the wailing of the old violin, with the man accompanying it sentimentally! Another (Turko-)ARABESQUE track, but here in a BALLAD ensemble!

Having heard Shahrouz’ previous albums, you realise that an ETHNO/folklore song is one of the fundamental cornerstones of the man’s music! And to be fair, he is VERY skilful when it comes to such fares! “Hamdel” is an up-beat LORI song with the man’s usual and popular jargon.

Next comes another rhythmic tune with NOJOOKI-inspirations. “Parvaaneh Baazi” is lovely and NOSTALGIC track, taking us back to the good old 80’s!

“Aakhare Khat” is a sweet and BLUES-inspired ballad, as another “declaration of love” in the artist’s rich repertoire! Mellow and soft comes this beautiful song to reconcile. I wonder who declaims at the bridge of this song, is it Shahrouz himself or …can it be Abtahi?!

HUSHHHHHHHHH!! “Sokoot” follows up the previous track as the perfect successor! Led by the PIANO and accompanied by the acoustic guitar and the LATIN-horn section, the artist travels in a melancholic scenery. My favourite ballad of the album!

The (Turko-)ARABESQUE sound returns in “Tire Khalaas”, in order to deliver another SENTIMENTAL requiem! It‘s official now: “Mabad” IS the most sentimental Shahrouz album till date!

“Delam Gerefte” comes as yet another (Turko-)ARABESQUE ballad! Why am I not surprised (*LOL*)?! Beautiful, but to be honest it starts to sound slightly monotonous and flat (not to say “boring”) with one sentimental song after another!

What do you know!! THERE IS A GOD!! Because the UP-BEAT and HI-NRGetic “Baaj” arrives on it galloping horse to both save me AND to seal Shahrouz’ latest collection of self-sacrificing songs …somewhat energetically!

Well, “different“ or “versatile” are definitely not the right marks for this album, since the album happens to adhere to the ABTAHI/SHAHROUZ tradition devotedly! Not only does “Mabad” not deliver anything fresh or versatile style-wise, but it is also GENERIC and formulaic in the worst sense of the terms! The album even attends to- and continues on the previous album’s attempt to bringing the sound even further away form catchiness and commercially appealing. LACKING POSITIVE VIBE and CATCHY HOOKS, the HIT-factor in “Mabad” is even lower than the in the previous offering, while the technical quality is still maintained at its highest level! The same thing applies to the quantity of the album‘s tracks. As I have once said: The man basically and luckily NEVER dives below a certain level of QUALITY and QUANTITY!

If “Mabad” had been directly preceded by “Joone Man o Joone Shoma” this “great leap” had been experienced as even more RADICAL! The shock would have been overwhelming and the disappointment devastating for the fans, but following up “Golabetoon” the outcome in “Mabad” comes as, although unwanted by many, but still a not-so-unexpected step from the popular artist! In short, “Mabad” is a MELLOW and (perhaps too) SENTIMENTAL ARABESQUE ALBUM with little HIT-factor and -potentiality! It will most likely sell thanks only to the name and credibility of its creators! But in reality is “Mabad” not only one step further away from a safe realm, but it’s also one step closer to the edge of commercial FLOP!

Review by: Pourya E.

Reviews described herein are mere opinions, and must be construed in that manner only! In other words they are not absolute!