Akher Zapheer (Last Exhale): A long breath

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Akher Zapheers‘ members are from Jordan. Jordans music scene may not be as vast as in Egypt or in Lebanon but with bands such as Jadal or AutostradJordans music scene offers more than one may think.

All of these bands mentioned above are singing in Arabic and were established after 2000. Jadal was established in 2003. Autostrad was established in 2007. Akher Zapheer was established in 2007 as well and is part of an ever evolving rock scene in Jordan. There is not much written about Akher Zapheer although they were quite popular with their latest album E3kes Thakafe (Converse Culture). Their name rose out of their long developments in creating music. Their influences can be mainly traced back to the 90s rock and grunge scene in the USA and the UK which is reflected in their last Album E3kes Thakafe (Converse Culture).

The four members of the band were listening to bands such as Nirvana, Muse, Tool, Deftones, Radiohead and Metallica. Indeed, the album sounds like a blend of these mentioned bands above which does not mean that they are not original. It is just that their music is rooted so deep in these bands that the sounds you hear are still somewhat familiar to you, even if you have never heard to an arabic rock band before.  Akher Zapheers facebook page has a popularity of over 20,000 likes which is quite huge. Autostrad has even more but they are a bit older as well and released more content than Akher Zapheer. Autostrad has over 170,000 likes where Jadal has over 120,000 likes.

 

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Even though Akher Zapheer has not released anything new after their Album E3kes Thakafe they are not forgotten. E3kes Thakafe consists of 11 songs and was released in 2012 and is made up of alternative, indie rock tunes from each members musical background. While some Egyptian counterparts try to fuse rock music with local Egyptian music, Akher Zapheer stays usually true to their influences of Western 90s rock and grunge music while singing in Arabic about different issues. The band is quite special in that sense as an article at TripleW.Me explains:

What’s interesting about Akher Zapheer’s music is that the band doesn’t try to create an Arabic sound within their carefully crafted rock compositions under a misplaced guise of ‘fuision’, but instead convey their environment through their lyrics, which provide great context, in Arabic. This contrast is what makes the band’s adapatation of the term ‘Arabic Rock’ so special.

Indeed, especially their song Testa’i Metel El Shams sounds very much like Muse but they don’t hide that they don’t create an Arabic sound. Their heritage is if not reflected in the music, but somewhat in their lyrics.

https://soundcloud.com/akherzapheer-1/09-testai-metel-el-shams?in=akherzapheer-1/sets/converse-culture

While Basem Sayej, singer and guitarist of the band, says they were still influenced by their own heritage and they respect them very much.

However, yes, it [has been] born and it’s out there and it’s the same generation slice who was never inspired by an existing scene in their region, and had to express themselves through western musical idols, through their daily life, sometimes through Arabic outspoken words in songs they composed in their bedrooms about love, life and politics. That doesn’t mean we are dissing the Arabic scene, all respect is held in our heart for Abdel Haleem, Um Kalthoum, Mohammad Muneer, Ziad Rahbani, etc. There is a song in the album that declares how inferior we feel we are compared to those legends.

The songs are sometimes about love, about forgetting, about forgiving. about friendship, relationships, political not political, sometimes social, but deeply emotional and personal. Such as Arba’ Seneneen (Four Years) in which they sing about a disfunctional relationship.

4 , 4 years , we were sleeping , and when the both of us sobered they asked her , she answered them , who? And she didn’t know me

https://soundcloud.com/akherzapheer-1/06-arba-sneen?in=akherzapheer-1/sets/converse-culture

Nevertheless the Facebook Fan page of their band claimed in 2013 that they are still active and in 2014 they wrote in a post ( that they were working on a new material. Here is to hope that they release new material soon.

 

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