PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Imaad Wasif and Two Part Beast: Strange Hexes

Spencer Tricker

Imaad Wasif and Two Part Beast conjure up a parade of influences from rock's history, but can barely pull themselves out of the muck.

Imaad Wasif and Two Part Beast

Strange Hexes

Label: self-released
US Release Date: 2008-03-18
UK Release Date: Available as import

With the release of Strange Hexes, Imaad Wasif and Two Part Beast have crafted an album that traces a vein from late ‘60s acid rock to ‘70s proto-metal. If you want a reference point, imagine Zeppelin or Sabbath covering Neil Young & Crazy Horse with Jeff Buckley (minus some of the drama) on lead vocals, and you’re in the vicinity of the sound that underpins songs like the crusading “Wanderlusting” and the snarling “Unveiling”.

Following on the heels of a parade of influences such as this, perhaps it’s impossible not to expect too much of the Beasts, but the fact of the matter is that even after repeated listens, Hexes is a middling set that suffers greatly from the predominance of indistinguishable material that tends to lack any forward motion. This isn’t to say that the album doesn’t have a few outstanding moments, but they’re never enough to lift the songs out of their usual murky territory. Tracks like “Wanderlusting” and “Oceanic”, for instance, surge and froth with a seething energy that takes up the torch from late ‘80s/early ‘90s guitar rock and runs it out of town. It’s just that there are too many aggravating mud-crawlers like album closer “Abyss” which, like too many others, is a four-minute bore until the typically epic finale.

As far as the album's winners go, though, there is one undisputed champion: “The Seventh Sign.” Situated right in the middle of the album, it’s a nearly perfectly crafted nightmare vision of Armageddon that hearkens back to the brooding post-psychedelia of Neil Young’s On the Beach, with echoes of Jeff Buckley’s Sketches For My Sweetheart the Drunk thrown in for good measure. The refrain is an absolute chiller, as Wasif lilts, “Because we’ve known true happiness / we can only get colder,” with such a grim sincerity that you’re stunned by an unshakeable sense of some impenetrable gloom. It’s the kind of song that could almost make you forgive the dull wash of its neighbors, but instead, sadly, it makes the rest of the album all the more frustrating.

As “Seventh Sign” winds down, after a soaring chorus that is awesome in the most biblical sense of the word, the group seems to run out of steam. The jams become tired, as side two opens with a banal tune called “The Oracle”. From there onward we’re stuck with little more than a couple of mild curiosities and a few other scraps that would have had a much better home on the cutting-room floor. At some point Wasif’s lyrics meander into a lazy prog that’s alleviated only by the inevitable arrival of some miserable, insipid guitar workout that lolls about like a dunce until the song’s finally over. The sense of mystery that hung about the earlier tracks has pretty much vanished entirely by this point, and as the disc wears on you begin to notice that there’s not all that much to be said for Two Part Beast’s rhythmic accompaniment other than, “They’re pretty tight, I guess.”

Ultimately, there’s just not enough of the good stuff here to warrant an entire album. Maybe the Strange Hexes EP would have been a smarter move. But I’m no record company man, so I won’t further push anyone’s buttons. Hexes shows potential, but not much else. It’s worth a listen, but it might just be better to buy “The Seventh Sign” on iTunes.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.


'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.


'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.


The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.


Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.


15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.


'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.


Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.


Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.


Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.


Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.