Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, August 12, 2004










Stroll Down Memory Lane...

The story behind three Bands that have entertained concert goers with totally varied styles of music

By Faizul A Tanim & Mishel Ali Khan

Three bands all leaving/left the underground scene and the same three bands famous for all their different reasons. However, all these performers shall be remembered for their varied contributions to our local music scene. This is the story of Sellout, Silence the Sound and The Untitled Band.

Sellout gave the underground scene something that has really changed the outlook of concerts around the city. Moshpits, extreme head banging and jumping off the stage are a few of Sellout's specialities. This band used to mingle with the crowd and naturally get them off their behinds, all indulged into a frenzy. Energy on the stage was something Sellout didn't lack, whether it was synchronised jumping or passionate performances with the music.

Sellout started off at the open-air gig in DOHS and according to their lead singer Mark, the show could be a lot better. However, with Resalat (bass) and Saion (drums) joining in from Migraine, the band gelled well later, combining experienced artists with relatively inexperienced ones. Ziyan was the guitarist and Elvis would finalise the line-up as another vocalist.

According to Ziyan and Mark, one other thing that helped the band gel was that the band-members were good friends. This helped them complement each other on the stage, and to top it all off their taste in music paved their way to winning the hearts of concert crowds. The Sellout appearance at the LFC gig ticked off the entertaining era this band would be a part of. The crowds responded well to their music and soon moshpits and great crowd support were a part of Sellout performances. "Being a part of the audience before taught us a lot about what concert goers really wanted," says Mark.

"We do songs that we like, mainly because they are easier to play," jokes a smiling Ziyan. However, doing songs that they liked, rather than to the liking of the crowd really brought out the best in the band. Sellout's trademark song has been Tribute by Tenacious D, a song that has been carried through from the beginning of the band. During these shows they have frequently covered songs from Hpe, Rage Against the Machine and Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

However, Sellouts hip-core music seems much more concert friendly rather than suitable for record albums. Energy on the stage combined with crowd response has been the key to their music, something that is tough to translate into record albums. Sellout can be called sheer entertainers, with quality music combined with overwhelming ambience; ambience in the form of makeup and costumes at shows. From face paint to dhutis, this band has sported overwhelming looks to complement their music.

Asked about their worst moment on stage, Mark and Ziyan both smilingly referred to the 2nd ISD show where Mark sang a completely off-scale song and embarrassly messed up the vocals. In another incident, with all the jumping around at RCC, the microphone cord got disconnected and they were singing a song without vocals.

Sellout went through an emotional ending at their last show, and it was clear that they were giving it their best shot. Crowd response was great and the costumes were extra special for the occasion. Asked about their contributions to the underground music scene, the band members said with chagrin faces "We are proud to contribute to the new genre of moshpits at the local music scene."

Sellout shall definitely be missed, but there are still hopes for them re-uniting if all the band members are in the city at the same given time. So maybe we haven't seen the last of this entertaining band, and consequently we still can't call them 'Soldout'.

STS (Silence the Sound)
Courage is one word that relayed in this band's musical career from the beginning. They had a range of influences and while trying to perform on stage, the following could be seen:- mainly melo rock-ish Creed, hip-core Rage Against The Machine and even progressive rock band Tool but it's the grunge-ish Nirvana they did best. Covering Nirvana, brought out the true flares of this group.

Definitely, they have added lot of colours and as well, emotions to our underground scene, sometimes by the vibrant hair colours or exquisite wardrobe of Scottish kilts--they did it all. Formed in March 07' 2003, Foisol on vocals, Hong Gyu on guitars and Faiyaz on the bass (who later switched on to play the drums), they had quite a shuffle with the stick-man, "drummer".

Asking about the range of musical influences in their concert set-list, Faiyaz says, "We always thought people wanted to hear the popular numbers in the gig which actually got us to decide on performing the hit numbers from almost all good rock bands. That was the beginning, but we later settled down to staging songs we loved and our own favourites".

What made Sts different from other bands? A smiling Faiyaz says "White people joining local concerts and foreigner musicians".

StS definitely added flavours. Especially introducing the American school crowd to the local scene was a big step in making our music popular to variable taste buds. It has been done before and the StS Involvement was just another positive thing that happened.

The Untitled Band
The Untitled Band has provided the underground scene with mellow and sensitive songs; something that is tough to pull off in the city's shows. The name of the band comes from "not thinking about anything" as the band members put it.

With a female vocalist in Wamik, the band really introduced a completely varied style of music. 'Don't Speak' by No Doubt is probably the one song that the band smashed in many shows and according to concert-goers, The Untitled Band is known for their No Doubt covers. Their recent performances have included a great cover in Bic Runga's Sway, a song that has brought out the best in the band.

On the contrary, the bands line-up has familiar faces, with Ashraf from Breach on bass, Ziyan from Sellout on guitars and Tushan on drums. The band members come from bands which play totally different music and they all say that the band brought out the sensitive side in them. With great performances on stage, added with a different style of music, The Untitled Band really stood out amongst the concert-goers. They played soothing and calm music, but kept their fans on their toes, something that is very rare.

The band line-up came into shape with Wamik jamming with Ziyan and then Ashraf and Tushan fitting in. The line-up complements each other well on stage, with Wamik filling in at times with keyboards. The rest of the band is full of praise for their lead singer, and all agree that playing for the band has taught them new things in the process.

"We thought at first that we would stick for two or three shows," says a smiling Wamik, something that proved to be wrong later. The band gelled well and showed off their performances in the underground music scene. “The rest of the band did compromise a lot for the style of music we played” adds Wamik.

Asked whether it was tough for a female singer to perform at an underground concert, Wamik says that there is a social barrier, but the crowd response always helps. "But I do get nervous on stage," she adds. Amazingly, even with early slots at concerts, the band does get good response as people don't show up in numbers early on a concert day. The Untitled Band brought out the best in a lot of 'emotional' covers of songs and did entertain the crowd well at times.

The band breaks up as Wamik leaves for higher studies, and the break-up is an emotional one for all the band members. With very saddened faces the whole band seemed to reflect on their moments together. After all, The Untitled Band did play songs that were very unlikely to be heard at underground concerts, and they even did that with flying colours. The city concert scene shall miss a different genre of music as this band splits.

With this interview done and dusted, and as members of these bands: StS, Sellout and Untitled Band leave for abroad; the fans will definitely miss their heroes in action. Raw energy of StS with high-five spirit, great moshing by Sellout and then the calm and soothing songs from the Untitled will be missed and cherished for years to come.

Its coming for you!

By Niloy

Few words describe terror like hell, demons and darkness. Those are what Doom 3 is all about: Scaring the living daylights out of you and it does that very well. There hasn't been a game yet that has "worn me out" so heavily as Doom 3; call me a wimp, sure, but you try and play this game with a loud 5.1 audio system and all the graphical detail turned up in a dark room and let me know how that works out for you.

In case you've been living in a cave somewhere with Osama Bin Laden, you've no doubt heard of Doom 3. Even if you're not into games, there's a good chance the name has crossed your path. Few software developers can command the attention of an entire industry PC hardware included like id Software. From the get-go, id promised us that it was going to have a very heavy single-player focus and I can fully confirm that they stayed the course with Multiplayer thrown in gratis. What this game doesn't do is pretend to be something it's not. Make no mistake; Doom 3 is all about bringing the scariest experience possible to the PC.

id wanted Doom 3 to have a "movie-like" experience to it, so they sought out the help of great sound effects and music talent which heavily compliments the graphics. The audio is so well done, so over the top of anything I've heard from games that I highly recommend you invest in a 5.1 audio system. Audio is so paramount to Doom 3's experience (more so than any game which comes to mind) that we really feel it needs to win some kind of award.

Forget every screenshot you've seen. For every trailer you've watched, one truly must see Doom 3 in action to truly appreciate its full splendor.

Lighting effects are the name of the game for setting the dark mood of a Mars Base, and Doom 3's engine is the best I've seen at rendering dynamic lights and shadows. Trust me when I say that if, for no other reason, you need to buy this game to see how gorgeous it is. Sure, Far Cry did a great job of outdoor environments, but it didn't have that closed-in, almost claustrophobic feeling that Doom 3 provides. Fast lighting effects are very critical in conveying a believable world. Everything casts shadows that fall into light even the way light bounces off of a characters skin is modeled with extreme detail. Additionally, the sheer amount of level detail is increased quite heavily by the lighting.

At its core, this game is still very much a "Doom game." It has much of the same heart-pounding adrenaline that the original game had in its day. The differences in gameplay have been elevated to bring about a story line that helps hold your attention throughout the entire game. Doom 3 is all about immersive atmosphere and scaring the player it accomplishes these goals with greatness.

Like most shooters, you start out the game as an unsuspecting person, just trying to do their respective duty. It's a matter of circumstance that sucks you into the plot. As a marine, you've been assigned to Mars to help secure the research facility which is run by Union Aerospace Corporation, an entity which seems hell-bent on doing things it shouldn't be dabbling. And Hell is what they get.

Some warped dudes figure out a way to open up a portal into the bowels of hell, and looking to unleash its vengeance on both Mars and hopefully Earth as well. Even though the concept of killing demons with conventional weapons seems silly on the outset, it sure makes for some great mindless fun that'll hold you for a good 20-30 hours of solid game time. In short time, things quickly take a hard-left turn for the worse once this happens your colleagues are converted into zombie-like creatures who want nothing more than to kill you.

Other things Doom 3 does to help create a "you are there feeling" are ambient things like having you come upon one creature eating the insides of another. For another example, two workers have a conversation about the loud walking sounds certain creatures make that become louder as they get closer.

Doom 3 is scary because of the way it presents itself. Redesigning the original game was a big enough task but to retell it in such a way of horror is even a greater undertaking. Dark, eerie hallways are just the beginning. What really wears on ones nerves is the way you'll most of the time hear things creeping around and then all of a sudden bust through a wall or the floor and come screaming and hurling straight at you. If that's not enough, there are many times that you'll be surrounded by monsters it keeps you on your toes for sure.

Trust me: You do this enough times with a loud 5.1 audio system and with the lights turned off and you too will be screaming like a little girl.

The main aid throughout the game is a handy PDA which captures emails, videos and other bits of information. You couldn't go through the game without it. Non-player characters are stumbled on at key points along the plot, most of which are there to help provide you access or information. You'll also hear radio transmissions from time to time which also provide instruction.

Level design is very top-notch, and there are some of the most creative indoor settings we've played through. We're happy id put as much work as it obviously did to ensure a diverse enough design to keep things captivating. I won't go into the various levels of the game as to not give any spoilers. Suffice to say, I'm confident most gamers will enjoy the variety and layout of levels.

All of the best weapons from the original game make a come-back, looking and shooting better than ever. At your disposal you have the following: Pistol, Shotgun, Machine Gun (New in Doom 3), Mini Gun, Grenades, Plasma Gun, Rocket Launcher, Chainsaw and the almighty BFG.

In the end Doom 3 is, on many levels, more than I had hoped for. It's a masterpiece of in-your-face action, a good plot, trend-setting graphics and audio that'll have you screaming for hours. Although there were a couple of times in the game where things seemed a bit mundane, the overall experience is one that mostly took my breath away.

Movie Review


Review by Gokhra

Del Spooner - Will Smith
Susan Calvin - Bridget Moynahan
Sonny - Alan Tudyk
Dr. Alfred Lanning - James Cromwell
Lawrence Robertson - Bruce Greenwood
Lt. John Bergin - Chi McBride
V.I.K.I. - Fiona Hogan
Granny - Adrian L. Ricard

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Issac Asimov fans know these by heart. Those are the famous ironclad laws of robotics penned by Asimov in his Robot series started in the 40's. It was probably the best science fiction ever. Although the three laws state that robots cannot harm humans or be irrational they do exactly that in the movie. The stories in the book revolved around the robots and how they solved the conflicting dilemmas regarding the three laws. You see, the movie was just based on Asimov's three rules.

The plot: The fear of machines is the main plot engine. The scene is set in a futuristic Chicago of 2035 where the skies are packed with helicopters, monorails and towering skyscrapers the tallest of which belongs to U.S. Robotics. The body of the chief robot designer Dr. Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell), lies in the lobby of that building. Apparently it's a suicide. By the way, the movie tells us that Lanning wrote the three laws (sheesh!).

Detective Del Spooner(Will Smith) is on the case and he doesn't think its suicide. He has a deep-seated mistrust of robots the reason for which we learn later in the movie. It's about a little girl who died because a robot was being too logical.

He hates robots and is convinced that they are going to strike back at humans in true doom gloom fashion. Everyone laughs it off but heck, we know he's right.

The detective is accompanied in his pursuits by the sexy Dr. Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan). Her job at U.S. Robotics is to make the robots seem more human. The company is about to triple the country's robot population flooding the market with its latest housekeeping model, the NS-5 Automated Domestic Assistant. these are all controlled by the ultimate in artificial intelligence that is a central brain called V.I.K.I. (Fiona Hogan).

Together they discover a rogue NS-5 robot called Sonny (Alan Tudyk) who seems to have been programmed without the three laws. Instead it appears to have a soul whose gentle demeanor masks intense martial arts skills.

Del Spooner becomes a slightly stereotypical hero who goes up against the big bad guys, mouths off a lot, races recklessly leaving behind a trail of destruction, gets into trouble with his superiors and ultimately saves the day. Sounds like the characters played in his other movies.

The hundreds of shimmering robot images are fantastically detailed. You know its all computer generated imagery but its so breathtaking amazingly done that the robots look both scary and fantastic.

Like all good heart pounding action movies this also has its complementary chase scene with Will Smith surrounded and attacked by vans full of menacing robots. Of course, the movie is a little bit predictable at places but it does have many plus points. It has lavish graphics, great action and Will Smiths relaxed humor. Sonny gives an often endearing child like quality.

The digression is that Asimov actually liked robots. The movie on the other hand uses them in a sort of Frankenstein manner where machines kill the creator. The movie isn't a direct adaptation. It uses the three laws as a framework along with two of the original story's characters. So it's a refreshing touch even if you have read the book because it is a different story altogether.


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

© 2003 The Daily Star