The Kordz - Beauty & The East
Label: MASS RECORDS
Reviewer: Amir Kourosh - 2012-09-05
Highlights: Save Us" and "Purgatory".
This is the first album of the Lebanese Hard Rock band THE KORDZ, which started in the 90s. "Beauty and the East" was released in Lebanon in 2009 by Mass Records, and in 2011 was released in Europe by the German label SAOL/H'Art. To support the release, the band played a bunch of concerts in Germany and Czech Republic in July 2011, in some of them performing as supporters of the legendary rockers DEEP PURPLE. This is not the first time that THE KORDZ shared the stage with a major band. They had previously supported bands such as PLACEBO and ROBERT PLANT in their concerts in Lebanon.
THE KORDZ have a strongly influenced sound by the 90s Hard Rock and Alternative Rock, in a similar way to ALICE IN CHAINS, PEARL JAM, SOUNDGARDEN... They also add to this some influences from the Middle Eastern traditional music, that we find not only in their keyboards melodies and in the guitar solos, but also in the percussion, which could make us remember the Canadian band THE TEA PARTY. All of that, without losing the power of the most classical Hard Rock (I mean 70s and 80s Hard Rock), and even some Heavy Metal influences in the guitar riffs. If we want to compare them to other bands from the region, we could mention their compatriots BLEND (a classical band from the Lebanese Rock scene, and unknown for most of the people), or the Moroccan band LAZYWALL. Anyway, THE KORDZ has a unique sound, which makes them different from the other previously mentioned bands. This band blends very diverse influences for creating their own sound. As their promotional sheet states, "different styles create a homogeneous blending and give a perfect template to prove that the coexistence of different opinions, cultures and musical styles can work".
In this album we find great instrumental work, where we could highlight the guitars. The eastern melodies fit in the songs, I mean; they are not just intros/outros without any relationship with the rest of the song, as we can find in other bands. The album has a cohesive sound, something hard to get when you work with so many different influences. We should also highlight the good sound quality of the album, thanks in part to the participation of the Grammy Nominee producer Ulrich Wild (DEFTONES, STATIC X, WHITE ZOMBIE...), and some other heavyweights of the Alternative Rock scene such as Jeff Burrows (THE TEA PARTY) and Andy Curran (SOHO 69). The only negative aspect of the album is that there are too many songs (16 in total), which makes it a little bit long, and some songs push down the final mark of the album.
The most interesting songs are "Nothing or Everything"; "Get Behind", one of the most powerful songs of the album, where the mix between the 90s Hard Rock influences and the eastern melodies is more evident; and "Last Call", for me the best song of the album, which after hearing it so many times, still takes my breath away. Two other songs that we should highlight are "Save Us" and "Purgatory", which have incredible Slash-influenced guitar solos (despite of the fact that THE KORDZ has nothing in common with GUNS'N ROSES), and probably the most powerful songs of the album, in spite of not being influenced by Middle Eastern Folk music. The most boring songs are "The Garden", maybe the worst song of the album and the only one that I shall remove; and "The One", a tasteless song that only worth listening to because of its great solo. We should also mention the last song of the album, "Nic-o-teen". Despite of being a great song, it doesn't fit in this album because of its optimist and commercial sound, which is so different to the more serious sound of the 90s Hard Rock. In spite of being a song made for mainstream radios it's a good song, but I would have added it as a bonus track, because it breaks the homogeneity of the album.
In conclusion, I would like to say that THE KORDZ is probably the Middle Eastern Rock band with more possibilities of being internationally successful. This album should not go unnoticed for any Rock music lover, because this is one of the best albums of the year. I would also like to mention the amazing artwork, which it's at the same level of the music itself.
For ending, I will quote Mark Levine, a Grammy-winning musician and author of the book "Heavy Metal Islam", who describes THE KORDZ as "without a doubt, the best Rock band from Morocco to Pakistan, and perhaps anywhere. The new album will be remembered as the avant-garde for a revolution in Rock music, in which bands from the Middle East take the lead in shaping the sound of Rock and Metal in the new millennium".