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Metallica: Inside-out Documentary

INTERNAL fighting, therapy sessions and tumultuous making of the band's latest album are headed to the big screen in the documentary "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster." An unflinching, warts-and-all look at the band, the film will be part of the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and will be released next year in theaters.

Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky directed the film. The duo also directed the HBO documentaries "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills" and "Paradise Lost 2: Revelations," both of which prominently featured Metallica's music.

A rough-cut of the "Monster" was shown at private screenings Thursday (Dec. 11) in New York and Los Angeles. Billboard.com was among those who got an early look at the film.

Filmed across more than two years, the film mostly chronicles the band's ups and downs in making the band's 2003 Elektra release "St. Anger," and takes its title from one of the album's songs. On screen, singer/guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich often clash, with lead guitarist Kirk Hammett usually acting as peacemaker. Sessions are interrupted for several months as Hetfield goes into rehab for alcoholism and other addictions.

Struggles with artistic credibility, the Napster controversy and accusations of "selling out" are presented for all to see. In one scene, manager Cliff Burnstein pressures the band to record promotional announcements for an unnamed radio conglomerate's contest. When Burnstein explains that the company may retaliate by trying to ruin the band's career, Hetfield's anger and surprise inspires him to write the lyrics, "Wash your back so you won't stab mine" for the "St. Anger" track "Sweet Amber."

Besides the members of Metallica, other key figures in the film are producer Bob Rock and therapist Phil Towle, whom Metallica paid $40,000 a month to help resolve tension in the band. Towle's ubiquitous presence is notable, as he even spends time in the studio and in songwriting sessions with Metallica.

During one therapy session, Ulrich meets with Dave Mustaine, who was fired from Metallica in 1983 and went on to form Megadeth. Mustaine talks about the anger and pain he has experienced because of being labeled as a Metallica reject. The band also deals with the exit of longtime bassist Jason Newsted, who quit in 2001 and is also featured in the movie.

Auditions to replace Newsted see several notable players try out for the band, including Eric Avery (formerly of Jane's Addiction), ex-Marilyn Manson guitarist Twiggy Ramirez, Nine Inch Nails' Danny Lohner and Pepper Keenan of Corrosion Of Conformity fame.

Ulrich admits Suicidal Tendencies' Robert Trujillo was ultimately chosen because he was the only one who auditioned who did not struggle to play Metallica songs. Hetfield adds that Trujillo makes the band play better and his presence brings a new, more positive energy to the band that lightens the tone of the film.

"Monster" details that despite problems, undeniable bandmember camaraderie and underlying mutual respect has allowed Metallica to survive. Honored with an "MTVicon" tribute and performing to sold out stadiums at the film's conclusion, shows the band where it is at its best: playing live. The adoration, undoubtedly crucial to healing some of the wounds, seems to be the fuel that keeps the band going.

In addition to this documentary, the inner workings of Metallica will also be revealed in the group's first official autobiography, tentatively titled "So What! The Metallibook by Metallica." Random House subsidiary Broadway Books will publish the book in August 2004.

- Carla Hay, N.Y. Billboard

Album Review


By Maher Sayeed

Release Date: 24th Nov '03. Produced by: G-Series. Sponsor: Pepsi. Album Coordination: Sumon (Aurthohin)

This Eid, the altermetal fans of Bd got their hands on one heck of a mixed album named Agontuk-2. This album has been one of the best mixed albums released by G-Series till date. Here is a review of the songs in the album:

The album starts off with Aurthohin's 'Juddho', one of the greatest songs ever made by Aurthohin. Their mighty vocal Sumon a.k.a. Bassbaba shows off that he is still capable of producing power vocals although he has reduced singing metal numbers. The guitar & drums were awesome as usual along with the addition of their new keyboardist, Shishir. The lyric has a different theme & a mighty song to start off the album.

The 2nd track, 'Chiley Kothar Shepai' by Artcell will not sound impressive at first, but the more you listen to it & understand its depth & if you are a metal fan, you'll surely like it. Artcell, yet again proves that they are the best metal band in the country. The song has a melodic ending to it, & indeed is one of the noteworthy songs of the album.

The next song is perhaps the best song of this album. Yes, I'm talking about the song, 'Obocheton' by one of the best bands from the underground scene, Nemesis. The song has a strong influence of U2 in it. The guitar works is way too good along with awesome vocal, drums and bass. People who think that this album is not worth their money, I can assure you that you won't regret after listening to this song.

If you don't have the song list with you, you'll definitely think that the next track is by Artcell. In fact, this song, 'Kritodaash' is by the band Reborn. Their vocal sounds so much familiar to Artcell's vocal, that even the Artcell fans may get confused. The lyrics of this song is really catchy & the guitar works & drumming has geen excellent.

Track 5, 'Odrissho Juddho' is by one of the most senior bands, Stentorian. Their vocal sounded like Iron Maiden all through the song & a lot of talent is shown off by their guitarist. All over, a really good metal track.

'Artonaad' the next track by the young Arbovirus is a great number & is worth listening to. The guitars sounded pretty tidy & their vocalist was awesome.

Cryptic Fate comes up next with a completely different track, 'Prem'. It has a mixture of grunge & newage metal in it, which is not usual from CF. Everything sounded different apart from the vocals. Yet it was pretty good & they were able to keep up their reputation as the pioneers of underground music.

The next track is another extraordinary piece for which this album is worth buying. Its called 'Shada' by an upcoming underground band, Breach. The vocal is excellent along with the awesome guitar works and some exceptional tone selection. Another important feature of this song is its lyrics which seemed to be out of this world!!! This song is just too good!

Track 10, 'Shesh' by Kral is really impressive due to their vocal & drummer, along with an extremely talented guitarist.

Apart from a little uncomfortable vocal, everything else in the next song, 'Nisshaash' by one of the most senior bands Dethrow is pretty good. The little recitation in the 2nd verse is really nice to hear.

The next song, 'Shopno' is by one of the best metal bands in the underground scene, dNA. This time, Shishir shows his guts with the guitar. His works are well supported by the bassist, vocal & drummer.

Then, Black packs up the album with a perfect alternative number called 'Shokarto Upokul'. Their vocal, Jon, starts off in a soothing manner & spices up the chorus with his trademark singing style. After releasing their 2nd album just a few days back, they yet again prove that they are the best in the country when it comes to alternative music.

The last number is a bonus track, 'Arrival' an instrumental by Kamal of Warfaze. This has been a masterpiece with Sumon of Aurthohin in bass, Shaju of Artcell in drums & Mithu in keys. An excellent way to end the album

Summing up, this is one of the greatest mixed albums ever. Special thanks to Sumon Bhai and G-Series for making this Eid a memorable one for all the altermetal fans and making an outstanding album.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Gamespot Rating: 8.9 in 10. Publisher\Developer: Ubisoft. Genre: Action Adventure. Release Date: December 2. Difficulty: Easy. Learning Curve: From 0 to 15 Minutes. Stability: Stable. Requirements: 256 MB RAM, 1400 MB disk space.

No previous experience with the Prince of Persia series is required to enjoy Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. In fact, virtually nothing will bar you from being impressed by this extremely well-put-together action adventure game from the studio that brought you Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six 3. In stark contrast to Ubisoft Montreal's previous offerings, Prince of Persia is surprisingly easy, despite the incredible acts of skill and daring that the game's main character will routinely perform during the course of the game. As a result, this original, visually stunning game can be highly recommended to just about anyone. The new PC port, whose release trailed a few weeks behind its console counterparts, is just about as impressive as the others, overall. It's a fairly short game, and it's missing the console versions' bonus features, but it's truly excellent for as long as it lasts.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time takes place in a mystical Middle Eastern setting, all bathed in soft, warm light and looking like something straight out of a storybook. You play as a young prince who possesses exceptional athletic and acrobatic skill. Early on in the game, the prince steals the dagger of time, a treasure from a rival nation, as a token for his father the king. When a traitorous vizier compels the prince to use the dagger to unlock another treasure, a huge hourglass, everything goes wrong. The sands from the hourglass blow forth, enveloping the kingdom and turning its guardsmen and citizens into, for lack of a better way to describe it, "sand zombies." The prince, the vizier, and a young woman named Farah are among the only survivors. In the prince's efforts to undo his mistake, he'll join forces with Farah, seek out the hourglass, and confront the vizier. The game's story takes a backseat during most of the game, but it is bookended nicely and is framed as the prince's own retrospection. So, for instance, should the prince fall and die at a certain point during the game, you'll hear him say, as narrator, something like, "No, that's not how it happened." Not only is this an interesting technique, but it compels you to keep pressing on.

The prince's new dagger of time has other uses besides causing calamity. It's the key to defeating the evil spread throughout the palace, and it also makes the prince virtually immortal. In most cases, should the prince fall to his death or be slain by a sand creature or a trap, with his last breath, he may use the dagger to "rewind" the course of time to a point prior to the unfortunate incident that would have ended his life. Each time you use this ability, it costs a "sand tank," which you earn a greater quantity of as you get farther into the game, and which you restore by defeating sand creatures. In practice, you won't often run out of sand tanks, but even if you do, you'll restart the prince's story from a recent location.

A highly responsive, very forgiving control scheme further ensures that at no point during Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time will you get particularly stuck, if at all. Though other action adventure games involving a lot of death-defying leaps and other such bravery tend to force the player to perfectly time his or her maneuvers and often force him or her to wrestle with issues concerning the controls or camera perspective, Prince of Persia is set up in such a way that it's remarkably simple to pull off all of the prince's spectacular moves. The default PC controls are a mouse-and-keyboard combination, similar to what you'd use with a typical first-person shooter. They work well, though not quite as well as the console versions' gamepad controls. On consoles, it's a bit easier to move in the direction of your foes, as the camera changes angles and the analog control lets you move with more precision. However, the default PC controls ultimately aren't detrimental to the game.

Despite the convincing look of its huge environments, the game is completely linear, and the prince's course tends to be very clear. Doors will slam shut behind him, forcing him to press onward, and each time you enter a new area, you'll see a quick fly-through showing where it is you're trying to go and what it is that stands between you and that goal. Additionally, at each of the game's frequent save points, you'll see a "vision" of what lies ahead--a quick sepia-toned montage of the trials and tribulations to come in the next area.

The prince has a great variety of really impressive moves at his disposal. Like a Mid-Eastern Spider-Man, he can defy gravity to a certain extent, by triangle-jumping from wall to wall, running horizontally along vertical surfaces, balancing on narrow ledges, swinging wildly from ropes or horizontal bars, jumping from pillar to pillar, and more. He's truly the most acrobatic character in a game, to date, and executing his moves is simple and even intuitive. The prince can't be made to accidentally fall; he'll automatically grab the ledge if you walk him off of one, and you can hang on indefinitely. A separate key is used for pulling yourself up as opposed to letting go, so there's no worry of accidentally dropping even when you seem to be hanging on for dear life.

The gameplay boils down to two things: observation and timing. First you must figure out where it is you're trying to go, which tends to be evident from the area fly-throughs, the "visions," and the occasional markings seen in the levels that point out switches to be flipped or buttons to be pressed. Then you must get there by running along walls, avoiding traps, leaping across chasms, and more. The timing isn't difficult--there's noticeable room for error--and hitting the "jump" key at around the right time, either to roll underneath a trap or to jump at more or less the right moment, will usually do the trick.

The coolest thing about the prince's repertoire of moves is how quickly he can link them together and how nimbly he moves about, in general. The interactions between the prince and the environment are extremely convincing and really must be seen to be fully appreciated. Great, little details are everywhere. If you're standing knee-deep in water and try to run up a wall, you'll see (and hear) the prince's wet feet slip as he fails the move. If you leap straight into a wall, you'll see the prince push himself off and fall back down. Despite his superhuman balance and agility, the prince somehow comes off looking incredibly lifelike and realistic, which makes the gameplay seem all the more approachable. All the prince's moves seem logical in the context of the game, and even early on you'll learn how to tie all these techniques together. For instance, you'll have a chance to launch yourself to the other side of a wall while running across it at early stages of the game. Of further note, special commendation goes to the prince for being the fastest ladder-climber in the history of games. It's a pleasure to just maneuver this character around, which is good, since that's mostly what you'll be doing.

Schumacher races against Air Force jet

GROSSETO, Italy -- In a race between a Ferrari and a fighter jet, score one out of three for Michael Schumacher.

Formula One champion's Ferrari F2003-GA was a nose faster than pilot Maurizio Cheli's Eurofighter Typhoon in the first race of 600 meters. The plane then easily won at 1,200 and 900 meters in the drag race at a military airport.

"It was an interesting experience," Schumacher said, adding there was a lot less pressure than facing Formula One rival Juan Pablo Montoya.

Cheli did not gloat over winning the last two races.

"Everyone is a prince or king in their own environment," the pilot said.

Tuscany's Baccarini airport featured vintage cars and planes and a military band to entertain thousands of spectators. Six fighter jets flew in close formation and the event was shown live on Italian state TV.

Cheli's jet and the Ferrari lined up on parallel runways and went full throttle when the green signal came, mixing the deep sound of a jet turbine with a high-pitched Formula One engine. After covering the required distance, the jet went airborne and then landed following each race.

Schumacher won the first race in 9.4 seconds, with the jet 0.2 seconds behind. The jet won at 1,200 meters in 14.2 seconds, with the Ferrari 2.5 seconds back. In the final race of 900 meters, the jet finished in 13.0 seconds, with the Ferrari 0.2 seconds behind.

The Eurofighter's top speed when airborne is listed at 1,521 mph; the Ferrari's limit is 229 mph.

Thursday's event was organized by the Italian defense department and hailed as a demonstration of Italian industry.



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