The Seven Ages of Rock
It is quite early in the ages of our infancy and adolescence that we're introduced to music. And right then, it's hard to care about the intricacies surrounding the music industry. Michael Jackson's classic hits, popular songs from international events (Final Countdown, anyone?) or theme songs from video games and movies (who wasn't a fan of Song 2 and Encounter the Ultimate?), all these were, to an extent, taken for granted. They were just there, for our entertainment and our listening pleasure. Readers will excuse the writer for making reference to things early and mid 90s.
But it's a common occurrence that the more time we spend with something, the more we learn of it, and in turn, even further do we want to know of it. Curiosity feeds itself.
Seven Ages of Rock feeds into this curiosity perfectly. Starting back from the 1960s to the 21st century, the miniseries explores the impacts and footprints left by legends, short-lived and long, old and new.
The first episode, titled "Birth of Rock" focuses mostly on Jimmi Hendrix, his spectacular skill with the guitar and his stage antiques, his coming and going between American and England, his rise to fame, the managerial era of Chas Chandler and the wave of awe that Jimmy had left in his wake, and his decline as he became tired of the stage, before finally turning dying of an accidental overdose. By end of the 60s, the world had taken a darker turn, with crisis and conflicts arising in USA and Europe, and the episode explores how The Rolling Stones tapped into this atmosphere of darker music, and the masses loved it.
Other bands notably shown were The Yardbirds, Bob Dylan, The Who, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, etc.
The second episode, “White Light, White Heat” focuses on the rise of Pink Floyd, and the new wave of Psychedelic music that they had brought into audience. Following Velvet Underground's style of using visualising their songs with projected films, Pink Floyd took it further with weird theatrics. Later on, alienated with their psychedelic shows, they took it to an extreme with their performance of "Wall". Even weirder antics would follow. And so began Glam Rock/Glam Metal ushered in by David Bowie and Genesis. While Bowie dressed up as Ziggy Stardust, it was nothing compared to Genesis' absolutely out-of-this-world-alienated figures. Roxy Music would start the trend of creating more diverse, different and experimental sounds, a trend which would give birth to the genius that is “Echoes” by Pink Floyd.
Latter episodes showcase the rise of the punk genre, grounded by band such as The Ramones, The Sex Pistols. The 70s saw the rise of classics like Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Slits, and Patti Smith. Also explored was the start of Heavy Metal, starting with Black Sabbath, the legend that was Ozzy. Featured bands included Deep Purple, Mötley Crüe, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden lead the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, which saw to revive the Heavy Metal genre in the music industry. Stadium Rock was the focus of another episode, featuring Led Zeppelin, Queen, Kiss, Bruce Springsteen, The Police, Dire straits and U2. Live performances with bands playing for hundred thousand audiences.
Grunge and alternative rock was the focus in episode 6, with emphasis of how Nirvana took to mainstream the idea of underground bands, and of course one of the primary emphasis of the episode was an exploration into the fame, and the controversial and tragic death of Kurt Cobain. The episode details the impact of Pearl Jam, Black Flag, Pixies, and specially REM's lasting impression on the alternative rock foundation. The last episode, “What the World is Waiting For” focuses on the Indie scene, The Smiths, Blur and Oasis' rivalry and contribution to bringing the genre into the mainstream.
Seven Ages of Rock is quite a good watch if one is interested in music, revealing interesting titbits about one's old favourites, but it has its flaws. And they are not small ones. Though understandable that the music industry comprises the whole world, it's kind of unfair that BBC decided to leave out on quite a few influential figures in music history. Or if they did include them, they did it with minimal screentime. There's hardly a mention of Scorpions, The Doors or Aerosmith.
Though clearly biased towards the British music scene, Seven Ages of Rock has managed to take a pretty good look into the music history, the rise and fall of rockstars throughout the ages. And above all, it was a very entertaining, and certain a significantly educational documentary.
By Musarrat Rahman
It seems like everybody and their grandmother has a metal band nowadays, so the 'alternative'-ness of Blunderware is something those of us who aren't into the heavy stuff are begging for on bended knees. When asked about their genre, this band certainly had the strangest comment, 'We like to bring our blues, rock, folk, modern, punk, funk, reggae roots and all that jazz and throw it in the pot like the Haitian cannibals and dance around the fire and see how it tastes. We call that alternative.'
Vocalist Rushnaf Wadud and guitarist Mushfiq Hasan met way back in 7th grade and started playing guitar and dreaming of rock n' roll stardom. At the time, they were called His Melodic Shyness (HiMeSh for short). Soon enough, childhood friends bassist Salman Zahir, drummer Syed Wadud and another guitarist Moktadir Dewan Shanto joined and the band changed their name to Blunderware (thank god). 'Blunderware was the name that stuck! We were hyper about the fact that we were going to call our yetto-be fans wait for it “chaddis”. Hahah' says Rushnaf.
Blunderware draws influence from bands Blur, Incubus, Radiohead, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, Sam Cooke, Howlin Wolf, The Postal Service, Barenaked Ladies, Laura Marling, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Third Eye Blind, Sugar Ray, Phish, The Grateful Dead, U2, Alice In Chains, A Perfect Circle, Porcupine Tree, Bob Marley and The Wailers and the list goes on and on.
As for who writes the songs in the band: 'I do.' says Rushnaf, 'I'm the ruler and the despot of the band. Everyone else is a loser who gets a part of my limelight because I'm a benevolent dictator. I hold my mic like a fascist Mussolini. Hahaha, it's a Blunderware thing. Lyrics by Blunderware. Compositions by Blunderware. No egos. No problem'.
Their debut track: an amazing song called Afim Chaash (which is probably written by Mussolini here) is on air at ABC radio and it's something you guys definitely need to check out.
As for gigging, the band hasn't been very active due to the vocalist being abroad a lot, but they've done a couple of shows (Adda2 and a Wireless Session).
Their music making together started off as a way to impress the chickadee's but along the way it turned into so much more. It became something that they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. 'We fun man. We fun. Serious is too serious for us. Give me weird and fun and games any day'. They will also be featured in the soon-to-be-released mixtape Aashor, so become a Facebook fan of the album to stay updated!
You can also become a Blunderware 'chaddi' by joining their Facebook group, although they don't have any tracks up their yet, but you will find listings of gigs to keep you up to date with the band.
Even though the band is now content with just 'smelling the roses' and having fun playing the local music scene, their fame is inevitable.
Up and coming Nu-Metal band Shrapnel Method (previously known as Xorostrian) are taking the UG scene by storm. They have Jeffrey Ovijeet Ghosh on drums, Faisal Ahmed Pavel on bass, Rimon on keyboards, Rabiul Awal Real on vocals, Rezwan Ashraf and Samir Hafiz on guitars (yes, it is THE Samir Hafiz from Powersurge). The band started off with none of the current members except vocalist Real, so the band decided to change the name as “a descriptive imagery and reference to the edge and tightness of the band's compositions, as well as the members' dedication and method for musical input.”
When asked what genre they generally follow, the band says, “We primarily focus on the Nu-metal genre, although not to the full extent, but we like to keep our sound as unique, attacking, attractive, edgy and interesting as possible from the metal point of view. We also tend to add a lot of different progressions in our songs.”
Shrapnel Method originally started its journey as 'Xoroastrian' in 2005. Soon afterwards, Samir replaced the lead guitarist and the band kicked off. After a few years of gigging, with current vocalist Real and guitarist Samir, the other members eventually called it quits. Samir gradually recruited new members from various people he knew. Rezwan was his guitar student, Ovi was an old friend and jam buddy, Pavel was a bass player from the band 'Soothsayer'. Since then the band began to hone their skills and started writing their own pieces and performing regularly. The current keyboardist Rimon recently replaced a long time absent member Azhar and the new lineup was completed in 2009.
The band draws inspiration from the music of Mudvayne, Pantera, Disturbed, System of a Down, Slipknot, Alter Bridge, Linkin Park, Metallica, Guns N Roses, Dream Theatre, Pink Floyd, Joe Satriani and Yngwie Malmsteen among many others.
Their original tracks are usually written by Ovi and Real and composed by Samir and Rezwan.
For now, the band has three completed tracks, Autripto, Mriter Dhoni and Shurjodoy, and the rest, for an album, are under construction. “We are working very hard to finish the album but we aren't really rushing it, as we want to maintain a good standard in what we do” says the band when asked if the album is to be released in the near future.
“We don't consider ourselves to be a big act, but every thing starts small and grows along the way, and hopefully our journey will not be different.” says the band.
For now you can check them out on their Facebook page for updates and show schedules but be sure to catch them live! It's a band you must watch live to get the full extent of what great musicians they are.