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The soul of alternative with aggression of metal

News and views about the band bringing out their debut album Asroy

By Faizul A Tanim

A turning point in Kronic's history is the nightly sessions of immense work into compiling their first solo album. They will be the first group of the quartet (Breach, Kronic, Nemesis and Triloy) who received record deals from G-series, to bring out their own music to the local taste. Before the album hits the stands for sales, the present and ex-group members share views with Rising Stars.

RS: How did the band come into being? Give us some background information.

Kronic: We started jamming just for fun but as things started to clique, we then fired up to think seriously of producing our own stuff. If we recall it was in August 98 when the band formed. The line-up comprised of Imtiaz on keyboards/bass and vocals, Zumar playing the guitars who also became a lead singer. Ahad was there as the guitarist but occasionally sang Limp Bizkit tracks exceptionally and our ever-energetic drummer boy Nafeezthe jolly fellow from our class. There were random people moving in and out but around 2002 Ashraf joined as the guitarist/vocals replacing Zumar (who went to commence higher education) and a very talented guitarist Rousseau (Rusho). Ex-member Ashraf smilingly says, "It was during Zumar's absence that I took advantage of his voice. After the hit single Ditio Prohor came out in Aguntuk album, I used to sing it in concerts. Every one thought I was the one singing from the CD and some girl added me in msn. That is how I landed up picking Zumar's fame". The present line-up as they mentioned now follows:

Imtiaz: bass/vocals
Zumar: guitars/vocals
Nafeez: drums
Rousseau: guitars
Sadi: guitars

RS: Who are your musical influences?

Kronic: We have a range from Pink Floyd to Iron Maiden to Nirvana and even Korn.

RS: Why the name Kronic?

Kronic: Nothing official about naming it. We just felt, as we liked the name.

RS: Then, what are you calling your genre of music?

Kronic: The band grinned a bit on its way to answer, "We chose to use the words 'experimental rock' as we got too bored with the existing vibes. The stereotyping of recent bands actually provoked us to make something different".

RS: There are bands that prefer shooting messages by their lyrics. Do you have any thoughts of that sort?

Kronic: "Haha, yes, the only message to pass is we do not want anybody to be anything or anyone except themselves. We are not here to preach but just like to produce songs about human nature and feel it from our own standpoint".

RS: What is your plan for the future?

Kronic: Just make more albums and experiment more.

RS: We see that the band emphasizes on "experimentation" a lot, why is that?

Kronic: To this, the band thought for sometime. Finally Imtiaz came up while everyone agreed, "The nature of human being is to get bored of the way things are very quickly and the only way which happens to get rid of boredom is by creating and cultivating something fresh…different and thus experimentation comes into existence".

RS: What makes the band different from other groups from the scene?

Kronic: Well, we all have different personalities, absolutely poles apart but as a band, "We care less about fame and more about music".

RS: Tell us something about your upcoming album. We heard of the title as 'Asroy' and would like to know about it in depth.

Kronic: The album will be from G-Series and called "Asroy". Why Asroy? Because music is salvation, dude…HaHaHa! The listeners can expect anything and everything. It can be a straight hit or might severely backfire. We always wanted to pay tribute to our perspectives and not classify music into specific categories. It is up to them, the listeners to judge for themselves. However, we have a feeling it will probably cater to all sorts of music fans.

RS: Tell us something about the current music scene.

Kronic: Zumar answered, "It is versatile, very flexible we must say and therefore it is not for us to judge the panorama. Who the heck are we? It is all about and always about the true listeners. Our scene has bands like Artcell on one and even like Subconscious on the other corner and that is versatile."

That ended up another session from yet another underground band. With emotions sky high the band wrapped up by saying, "Bangladesh needs more sound mixing engineers, we have few but definitely need more to cater to the recent demand".

"The attitude of the new comers need to improve. They have to be more open-minded and learn to take criticisms without taking them personally", the group, added.

Whenever a band chooses to write and record, one should be curious to know what nature of compositions could be heard from them. Although they refused to speak of the song collection but I could take a sneak peek at their demo. I cannot really pinpoint why several songs from this album will definitely keep finding its way into my stereo. This is one album I can relate and feel very close to, a diversely mixed with the heaviness of songs like Nishidhho Nogori and Sroshtha and orchestrated illusive feeling in Ochena Onubhuti and Obhishopto, here, it is infrequent to find on any other record of recent times.

Movie Review

Breakin' All the Rules

Cast: Quincy Watson - Jamie Foxx, Nicky Callas - Gabrielle Union, Evan Fields - Morris Chestnut, Philip Gascon - Peter MacNicol, Helen Sharp - Bianca Lawson, Rita Monroe - Jennifer Esposito

Breakin' All the Rules isn't exactly a good movie, but it turns out not to be bad either.

It combines a romantic comedy, a little mistaken identity and some satire about office politics. It's one of those movies where we know everything will turn out all right in the end. Sounds a lot like the Bangla movies or a Shakespearean play?

Plot: Jamie Foxx leads the way in a romantic lead as Quincy Watson. The movie starts off with one of those doomed relationships where you just know it has to end or there will be no movie. His fiancé Helen (Bianca Lawson) dumps him at their engagement party to go off with his best friend who is never shown.

The mourning time for a broken hearted person in the movies is short, usually al of 5 minutes. It takes a little longer here. Back to the story. Quincy works for one of those mens magazines that are a lot like Femina where men are given silly advice on how to get rich, smart and adored by women. At the office, Quincy's boss Philip (Peter MacNicol) asks him to prepare a study on how to fire someone without provoking undue retaliations. The boss is a wimp so once Quincy's work is completed Philip directs him to fire 15 percent of the staff. The boss makes a valid point here about how he is in a position to give orders. In other words bosses can make others do their dirty work. Quincy does not like the idea and decides to fire himself.

Somewhere along the line there is a shot of a dog urinating. Makes a lot of sense when the whole world just goes upside down. Sort of.

Quincy is depressed and starts writing a letter to her where he lays out all the anger. This starts to grow and becomes a book titled Break Up Handbook which overnight becomes a bestseller. It tells how to break up with a girl before she can break up with you. One of he danger signals is when the girl wants to "have a talk".

Soon everyone is asking him for advice. This includes his cousin Evan (Morris Chestnut) who prides himself on breaking up with girls.

Quincy hits it off with Evan's soon-to-be-ex, Nicky (Gabrielle Union) with his boss Philip asking him for advice on getting rid of the golddigger girlfriend Rita (Jennifer Esposito). Rita on the opther hand tries to seduce Evans thinking he is Quincy. That way she can prevent rich and weak willed Phillip from breaking up with her.

Things keep getting twisted along the way with some of the situations actually being clever. But there are opportunities missed for a lot more laughs.

The movie doesn't tell much about what's in handbook. Too bad that men will not be getting any valuable insights into life watching the movie.

Verdict: "Breakin' All the Rules" isn't awesome but it is entertaining. It's good for relaxed viewing.

Game Review

Hitman: Contracts

By Niloy

As developers make games bigger and more movie-like, the games of the stealth genre have become rare to find. But when gamers get bored with hurling millions of bullets at space aliens or playing first-person Vietnam war games, the IO interactive's new Hitman: Contracts will feel like an refreshing new game. It will seem like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. By that, I mean a cool summer breeze with a Garrote (typical instrument used for execution) around your throat, but you get the picture.

Hitman: Contracts, the third game in the "Hitman" series, is by no means a revolutionary progress in the stealth genre, in fact, it's only a little more than a basic upgrade from previous "Hitman" game, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. However, the pure satisfaction of stealth gameplay the game "Hitman: Contracts" provides, is relatively unmatched in any game on any system. IO has once again created a strategic game of tactics, disguises, and choices, exclusively made to accompany a genuinely brilliant sense of pacing, intelligently designed levels, each with dozens of ways to beat them, and a refreshing sense of style.

"Hitman: Contracts", as the name suggests, is rather a random collection of some excellent levels. It is something like a "best of" game. The story begins with Agent 47 limping into an apartment with a serious body wound and need of a doctor. During this period of pain and suffering, Agent 47 flashes back to missions he once completed, and you get to play them out. Some of them are indeed levels you have played before in the previous Hitman games, or close to them, anyway, including the first level in which our bald killer escapes from the hospital in which he's just murdered his maker. This level is from Hitman 1 and players must get out of the complex before being caught. Sounds like IO repackaged old wine in new bottles, huh? Not really.

The answer is not all that simple. Agent 47's flashbacks, and his pain, grow more and more intense, and each one transforms into a former mission, mainly ones you've never played before. The story is told in this scattered, hazy fashion with a concrete sense of pacing and logic, but also with a purposely hidden motive, which brings Agent 47 back into the present and progresses into the future. I'll spare you the story, but the story, it turns out, doesn't really play that big a part in this game. I had thought that IO would dig deeper with this Hitman, but that's not the case.

That's the distinct feeling I get from Hitman: Contracts. I figured after two years, Contracts would be this massive improvement in every manner, the way that Hitman 2: Silent Assassin made a distinct leap from the first Hitman. But I was wrong. IO Interactive has remained focused on what it does extremely well, which is to design fantastically elaborate levels, giving players countless ways to beat a level. And the rest is an all about enhancement. The developers have added new weapons (pillows, syringes, shovels, meat hooks, etc.), and new ways to kill, especially with regard to close combat attacks. It's also embalmed the whole game in this dark, disturbingly moody haze, giving gamers a distinct look at the seedier side of life, whether it's messed up biker gangs, genuinely sick meat-packing people, or deranged hunters looking for a more humanistic thrill.

The second Hitman game was a distinct upgrade from the first one, and it was expected that the third game will be better. Anyway, the gameplay has gone through a basic upgrade only. There are new weapons and they work well enough; but they don't distinguish the gameplay above the previous title enough. The pillow and the meat hook are the best of the bunch. The pillow works in a number of ways. Players can simply suffocate an enemy, or they can take a handgun and shoot though it into someone's face. The syringe is also relatively neat, but the visual effect isn't effective. The meat hook just looks like it hurts a lot; so as you are a professional Hitman in the game, that's a good thing. The shovel and the rest of the closer combat weapons don't really make that much of a mark, however. The range of hand guns, automatics, and sniper rifles is fleshed out well, though it seems that the expansion of weapons is less important than the way in which you kill people.

But the most enjoyable thing in the game are the levels themselves. Since you can save anywhere and a good helpful map helps push you to the next point of gameplay, players can look around, trying things over and over. They levels all thorough and deep, well designed with many, many choices. With any particular target on any level, there are a handful of paths to choose. Poison? Garrote? Needle? Silencer? Pillow? The beauty of Hitman is that after each level, the gameplay drives and challenges you to try it another way. A level that might take 30 minutes to beat could end up taking two hours, just because of its open design. That is excellent design. Every level in Contracts is strong, though not one of them is a knockout punch.

The AI is tougher, too. The AI is designed to be highly suspicious of you. The awkward but functional meter on the left-hand side of the screen tells players how high or low an enemy's suspicion is. When it's black, they sense something's strange, when it's red, they are on the cusp of being on to you, and if you stand and let them stare at you for more than a few seconds, you're cover will be blown. So, IO is purposely pushing players to keep moving, and that keeps players honest… well, as honest a mercenary can be.

It's important to pay attention to IO's character design too. Agent 47 doesn't look all that much different, but the cast of characters and NPCs he sees is deeply impressive. Mostly, the characters include a decent number of sex addicts, killers, dope fiends, and psychotics. Whether it's messed up butchers, deranged old hunters, or motorcycle gangs, this game is filled with focused glimpse into the seedier side of life.

All these makes the game Hitman: Contracts an excellent, exciting, and enjoyable game. But the most praiseworthy aspect of the game is the availability of choices, is such a wide variety, that the players can be distinct individual mercenaries according to their personalities. The gameplay is tempting, downright enticing. And apart from all these eye catching traits, gamers will find a nice game of tactics, strategies, deep thinking and brutal assassinations.


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