My All-time Favourite Pakistani Rock & Metal Songs (Till 2009)
By Havi Zayed
It’s always an extremely difficult task for me to name the best Pakistani songs and bands when people ask me. Naming a band is always difficult because the bands I like seem to be those that no one has ever heard about. When I’ve been asked about my favourite songs it has been difficult for me to pick particular songs because I haven’t really thought about it much. Being a music fan with thousands of songs on your hard drive you simply can’t pick a handful and say these are my best without reflection. It definitely takes time to go through the songs to prepare a comprehensive list.
Since I have for the first time reflected on the question this is a list of my favourite Pakistani Rock and Metal songs. Though I deeply admire the bands that are considered to be on top of the Rock music scene I haven’t included songs such as Shayad by Call or Humein Aazmaa or Kahan Hai Tu by EP for the purpose of introducing the bands that are lesser known. I’ve always had some sympathy for these bands in the first place. They produce good music and don’t get the attention they deserve.
There is definitely one thing about these songs for sure. If you love either Rock or Metal you are surely going to love these songs. Guaranteed! And if you haven’t heard them you’ll ask yourself why.
You can right click > “save target as” on the title of the tracks listed below in order to download them:
Irtaash is by far the band that is seen as an inspiration to the Pakistani underground music scene despite the fact that the band has already released its debut video. This is almost solely because of the hit single “Kali Raatein”.
Having launched their debut video the band is not really underground anymore but the fact that they are not famous all across Pakistan for this track is heart rendering. Just like Shayad made Call famous this song is Irtaash’s ticket to fame. That is if there is anything such as ticket to fame in Pakistan where unfortunately many Pakistanis themselves are ignorant of their own music.
In any case the song at least made Irtaash an inspiration for other upcoming underground bands. It is very common to hear Kali Ratein today in gigs and concerts where new underground bands are playing.
This song was an instant treat for Rock Lovers from the progressive rock band based in Lahore. With Umar Mansoor’s powerful vocals being flanked by the roaring guitars of the bands three guitarists nothing seems to be more typical of Kain than the song “Qaid” which is nothing less than a hit by the much acclaimed Progressive Rock band.
This is one of the best Pakistani rock songs to have on your hard drive. The video of this track has also been released but that hasn’t managed to impress me much.
This is a brilliant song and is Visaal’s most famous track. Kaavish and Visaal both have managed to get some coverage from the local media.
The theme of the video is blindness and focuses on the difficult life of a child with this affliction. The video however was disappointing. The band seemed to be too intent on keeping the camera on itself. It can be said the theme was good enough but the video was just annoying and I kept waiting for a glimpse of the girl and how she copes.
Soch is a two member Lahori band but unfortunately the band received very limited attention and even the ones who keep themselves updated about new underground tracks have little or no knowledge of this band. Perhaps a video would bring them into the limelight as currently Soch has not managed to release any video.
Umeedain is a powerful track about hope. With powerful guitars constantly slowing down and picking up pace again the track is bound to rock your socks off. If you like heavier stuff you’d like Parchaiyan better though.
This is a captivating track which is enhanced by the powerful voice of Adnan the lead vocalist of Soch. This is definitely a must listen and is a treat for all Rock Lovers. Since this song was released at the same time that Dar from Kain was released which was the time when I listened to Pakistani music the most I have grown tired of it otherwise it would have been somewhere on the top for me.
Soch is currently working on the video of this song but one thing is for sure. The duo definitely makes a pair to be reckoned with.
This is a powerful track from the band which Rocks out of Islamabad. With Salman Zaidi on Lead Guitars, Aashir Irfan on Bass and Shahbaz Asad on Drums (Used a lot in this song) complimenting Shahbaz Zaidi’s dominating voice this posse is definitely out there for some destruction.
Unfortunately my white friends in Canada have taken more interest in this song than Pakistanis themselves. But whoever has heard it has loved it that is for sure.
Khamoshi by Streben*
Streben is a Dubai based band and although the majority of its members are Pakistani not all of them are Pakistanis. Having been in contact with the band I can definitely say they are out to make a major change.
They have released their album Breaking the Silence which clearly speaks of the hard work of several years. Each one of their tracks released in the album is worth listening to. Not one of them can be called a bad track. However many of the songs that I have heard from Streben have not been included in the album. This includes Ja Panchi, Rog and Kehnde Ne Naina.
In any case most people tend to agree that of all these tracks Khamoshi was by far one of the best songs of the album and is sure to steal your heart even if you aren’t a Rock music lover.
Roz E Azal is a powerful track with captivating lyrics from the rock band hailing from Jamshoro.
This song first gained attention mostly because of the video. The band discusses Child Abuse in the video and is an interesting concept as statistics say that over 70% of Child abuse in Pakistan actually goes unreported and untold.
All the three videos that have been released by Positive so far have very powerful themes that focus on Social Issues. Unfortunately despite being a very good band the place they have been hit at is “fame”. They got virtually none to limited attention but this is definitely not the only band faced with this problem.
I think it is needless to say that each song this band has released till now has by far been a hit and real delight for Rock Lovers. Tum by Kain was another such song which I have been in love with ever since I heard.
Janay Aur is the heaviest tracks from Streben in their Album Breaking the Silence and is only contested with Qaed. It is also the debut video of the band.
I think I just can’t have enough of Streben ever since they launched their new album. I have basically fallen in love with the album. The song Insaan is definitely packing a punch.
This track which starts with the Pakistani National Anthem is followed by the screeching base guitars and a rocking song. I admire the lyrics of this song the most. The theme is basically how the Pakistani people have forgotten the vision of the Quaid and of their Nation and have forgotten the importance of their land.
I deeply admire the band’s drummer Shahbaz Asad. He seems to complete the band. It is also noticeable for both the songs Kuch Naheen and Raakh that there is a major role for the drummer in this band along with the guitarists.
Intezaar is a brilliant song from Khifa. I somehow just managed to stumble upon it at some music site and later realized it was a great song. The band remains a shadowy one with only limited information about it being available. Though it continually keeps releasing tracks very little is known about the band.
When this song was launched it may very well have topped my charts but I have listened to it so much it has sort of worked up on me.
Though it is one of the best tracks many people assume that Dar is the debut video of Kain. However Qaid was released before Dar.
Qaed by Streben*
Is another heavy track from Streben and is a killer song from the band. It’s a must listen for Rock Lovers.
Aatish made their debut with the video of this song where we have multiple vocalists. This song is soft rock but it is still classified as rock and is part of the category that is so common in Pakistan. The other songs Aankhein and Saawan are also good tracks as well.
Nijat has produced a number of songs that include dhola, kyun and so mat jana. Rida E Shab is the only Rock song in all this material with the rest being classified as blues.
The effort in Rida E Shab definitely carries some weight and noticeably requires some listening to understand.
This is a track from Lahu and for some reason I admire it more than Daira which is more widely acclaimed. In any case Har Subha definitely packs a punch.
Laagay Na by Visaal
This is another powerful track by Visaal but is lesser known than Noor E Aa. However Rock Lovers are likely to love this song. Many Rockers have claimed it is better than the track Noor E Aa by the same artist however the debate rages on!
Yaad Naheen by Surkh
Some people argue that Juda by Surkh was much better than Yaad Naheen. Unfortunately I couldn’t fall in love with the song as I did with Yaad Naheen. This is much more melodious and catchy. I believe whatever the song is the voice is the most important factor. Maybe that was why I didn’t like Juda as much.
However even fewer people know of this band and many have not even heard of it. The video of this track has been released but it played on the screen for only a very limited period of time.
Saakia by Anasthazia
Saakia is a song from the band Anasthazia. There is very little known about the band and few people seem to have any details about the band but the band has released some good tracks that is for sure.
This is by far the best song from Anasthazia. Though there is limited information about them they have definitely released one album.
Pal by Naqsh
This is a good track by Naqsh. It also has a good message and is indeed a thought provoking song. It teaches us to learn from our mistakes. Now young people like me hardly ever do that.
Maula by Signature
To exclude Signature from this fray of artists would actually be a crime. Maula is a brilliant song by the band signature. It’s a must listen.
Insaan by Needlework
Furqan Ali Shah has done a number of musicals for the band Needlework. Insaan however is backed by vocals as well and considering the fact that it is one of their few songs with vocals it is not badly done. In fact it seems the vocals complete their songs.
Siyah by Snake 8
This might come as a surprise because this is a real hardcore metal song. But noticeably the band has some intense Urdu lyrics which can only be understood by someone with a good commanding power over the language. Whether the person like this song depends on how used to they can get with heavy metal accompanied by Urdu lyrics.
But if you are looking for one of the heaviest metal beats without screeching vocals in Pakistan this is the song you should look at. If you like Nightwish or DragonForce you are sure to love this.
Dua by Gravity
It wouldn’t be fair to exclude Gravity from the picture completely as they are also a great band and are well known throughout the underground.
Dua is my favourite song from the band Gravity.
Duniya by Lithium
This is a sad song about the coldness of the world and reminds us of the difficulty with which so many people live. The vocalist of this band has definitely carried the nature of the song very well.
Nazuk Khwab is another faultless track from Anasthazia. The band seems to have a liking for Rock music.
Certainly a great track from Lahu. It is definitely a great Rock Song but maybe it’s just that I have grown too tired of it that I don’t listen to it as much anymore. Nonetheless it’s a luxurious song.
This is a track by the band Zeejah which has done a number of musicals. It is actually a pleasure to know that for the first time when they have actually managed to use a vocalist the result has been exceptional.
Perhaps a vocalist was what their songs were actually lacking all along.
Dobara Awaz do-DRUG
Unlike its other predecessors this version of Dobara Awaz Do by DRUG manages to convey the sense of doom and destruction brought on by the Kashmir Earthquake rather well.
Many versions of the song have been played and on various themes other than the Kashmir Earthquake as well. However of all the ones I have heard this is by far the heaviest one.
* not available for free download because it is included in the band’s debut album “breaking the silence” which have been removed from our servers upon request of Sangeet Records.