Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, July 15, 2004











Up-close and personal

The Voice of the new Underground

Fierce guitar riffs, fiery stringed lead, tight drumming, killer bass lines and melodic glam vocals-- the elements incorporate to form one of the newest sensations in town. The best part becomes when they try to mingle musical styles, as in the case during their composition, it sounds totally natural and right for the SONG rather than just for the heck of it. This group, which emerged around July 2003, calls them dNA, producing noise for the new generation.

They were friends from before, hanging out under different band names but clustered eventually to become the latest addiction. The present band line-up comprises Shishir and Saif sharing lead and rhythm guitars; Apu playing bass, Ashfaque on drums and Imtiaz as their front man. The new and permanent lineup gave them an excellent jump-start with extra thrust and velocity, which even they did not anticipate. The raging reviews in newspapers and the moshing energetic crowd belonging to their music started scripting the story of success.

*Apu-John Myung, Steve Harris, Dream Theatre, Iron Maiden, Megadeth.
*Shishir-Marty Friedman, Nobuo Uematsu (Japanese dude playing
awesum tunes) and Fastball.
*Imtiaz-Sebastian Bach, Bruce Dickinson, Skidrow, Dream Theatre, Iron
Maiden and Savatage.
*Ashfaque-Portnoy, Dream Theatre and Megadeth
*Saif-Megadeth, Racer X, Dream Theatre, John Petrucci, Steve Vai and
Paul Gilbert.

Future preparation will be to release our debut Bangla album and introduce a new trend of music, which is we still are working on.

Answering to Rising Stars's question, 'what makes you different from other bands?', they stated with a witty smile, "We are doing both alternative and metal numbers. We think that is the biggest distinction so far…actually our biggest sense of humor (Ashfaque) has gone to attend a Gaye-holud. We are missing him thoroughly as he was the best person to ask. However, we are all friggin' scared of roaches and the only other time the band can scream louder than Imtiaz is when we see flying cockroaches….that is pretty authentic and makes us poles apart from other bands.

Nostalgic being the word, the band's greatest achievement as they described emotionally, 'Sumon of Aurthohin once told us to submit a demo for a song we often jammed. The next thing we knew was Shopno became part of one of the greatest rock mixed album of all time, Agontuk-2. That followed by a surprise of positive reception from the crowd on playing the track in gigs'--the nostalgic members were flabbergasted with the crowd singing the song for them. 'Basically, this composition was waiting on the pouch for a long time for a big break', commented the band.

Genre of our music might be described as an influence of Nu-metal, heavy metal and progressive rock according to our performance. Although our first released track becomes a solid rock song but the newer compositions will definitely cater a whole lot of new audiences. More progressive rock and nu-metal combination will be in our endeavors.

Our next composition will be different, which does not mean we will switch away from our trademark sound and origin, but it will just be something varied from what we usually do.

As they were approached with the question about any upcoming ventures, the band's exciting expression rolled to comment, we will be playing in a gig to raise funds for Rahman Boyati--a noted singer. Part of that project will be as well to participate in a mixed album for the same cause. We are really expecting good things to happen through this welcoming initiative.

They continued with gratitude for Sumon of Aurthohin, Jewel from Miles for being so caring. They added by saying, Nemesis, Breach, Stentorian, Fulbanu's Revenge, Kral, Arbovirus, 666, Birodh and Dripping Gore are few of the present day groups filled with aspiring musicians and great composition skills.

We are certainly happy with the most authentic crowd ever. The current music scene looks promising with all the great new bands in the register. They seem very versatile and the cycle seems to move maturely. We remember the era of AABC, Aurthohin, Artcell, Black, and Cryptic Fate. The new sets of bands are bringing out tunes that are more diverse. The band members are greatly talented and so is their composition great to listen. Although there are bad times for a group but a bright side arriving, becomes mandatory with the right notes and proper crowd listening to them.

As the rock pentagon was asked with the last question about the parents of our time complaining about the present music as "more of a visual entertainment rather than audible pleasure," the interview wrapped up as they said, it is just a natures call. The elders will always complain which is a matter of time. It will continue forever as every generation has their own sound to cherish. Our band members ran into trouble with their parents for doing loud music and at the same time, some of the other houses were safe heavens, but we guess we couldn't have come this far without the parents support and would like to thank them wholeheartedly.

They had beaten off stiff competition from several other bands from all over Dhaka to prove them worthwhile and earn a place in the local concerts.

Having been declared from the fans as the victors with their blistering high-energy performance, the success now brings them an all-important shot at creating something new…and this only happens to be the opening chapter for a great story!

For details and more information about the band, fans can log onto their newly built website www.insidedna.net

Words: Faizul A Tanim
Photographs: Dhanad, Tanim & Dhrubo
Band Logo design: Dhanad

Travel On: Enchanting East

Travel On is the first ever Bangladeshi overseas travel show that is being aired on Channel-i. It has already gained huge fanfare from the print media. For its Nepal episodes, which were aired recently, Travel On started its journey from Burimari border (Bangladesh-India border). From Burimari they went to Shiliguri and Darjeeling and then to Katmandu by bus.

Shahriar Shakil, the anchor and creator of the show told us about their excitement as well as the sufferings they had to face on their way to Katmandu and Pokhra. Pokhra is the famous Himalayan town. It was not easy for them to shoot in places in a politically troubled country like Nepal. During their shooting period Pokhra was virtually crippled with the strike of the leftist party to demonstrate their disapproval to the King Gyanendra.

'It was a really new experience to face strikes in another country,' said Shakil 'We had to face check posts very often and the video clips were being deleted from our camera'. In spite of all these setbacks, they covered the cultural events in Pokhra with the help of a local guide Norbo.

Travel On showed rafting in the white waters of river Trishuli. Adventures like rafting are first being covered in a Bangladeshi show. Some rafting points are very dangerous and at some points the boats turn over in ninety- percent cases. Moreover the river was snake studded. If any boat turns over then the riders are instructed to swim towards the boat (if their fate allows them to evade the snakebites!). Cameraman Shawpan Mahbub was posted in every rafting point so that he can shoot most of the exciting twists and turns of the boats.

After rafting another exciting part awaits the audience and that is the jungle safari in the Royal Chitwan National Park and the Baghmara Wildlife Sanctuary. The vivacity of the forest is striking with different kinds of birds and animals roaming inside it. They rode canoes to cross the river Young Rafti which was teeming with thousands of crocodiles. But the river was quite silent as they preferred to take rest on the riverbed most of the time!

The forest was studded with clusters of insects and they were feeling the relentless bites but the sense of excitement surpassed the pain of biting. There were six to seven hundreds endangered one-horned rhinos in the sanctuary. They visited the place of their (rhino) bathing while the preoccupied rhinos were grazing before their gazing eyes. It was an exciting spectacle. There were around eighty leopards in the forest but they could not see them as they were hiding behind the verdant greens. The forest is very silent when it comes to the din of the madding crowds. But the ear piercing sound made by the insects was pervading the entire area.

After the jungle safari the Travel On team went to Monokamona. Nepal's only cable car transport is in there. Monokamona is a mountainous region with craggy hills sprawling all over it. The cable car ride can be very dangerous as the precipitous slopes are lurking all the way up. After the half-hour gondola ride they reached the terra firma (Monokamona). People come from faraway places to plead and worship at the Monokamona Temple. The sacrifice of an animal is customary if anyone wants his or her wish to come true. The temple area is studded with small shops and the boisterous market place easily attracts the tourists.

Shakil's future plan is to cover Bangkok, Pataia sea beach and the atolls of Thailand and Singapore, Jakarta and Bhutan. So if you want to know about these places the best way is to stick to Travel On. It is aired on Channel-i every Wednesday at 8 PM.

Thirteen Ghosts
Review By Gokhra

Cast: Tony Shalhoub, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard, Shannon Elizabeth, Rah Digga, F. Murray Abraham, Alec Roberts
Director: Steve Beck

Okay, so this movie has been out and about for a while now but it one of those movies that is worth mentioning. 13 ghosts is a state of the art remake of an old movie. If you're into horror movies then you have to watch this one. Currently its being aired on HBO but if you are not able to watch it due to others watching Kahani Ghar Ki all the time then just rent it. The main character is played by Tony Shalhoub of Monk fame who inherits a house made entirely of glass. Floors, ceilings, walls, doors, you name it, everything is made of the see through material. It has been left to him by his uncle who in the beginning is shown trying to herd a bunch of scary ghosts into a glass box.

But all is not so nice and sweet as it seems. The house is actually a contraption that helps to open up something called The Eye of Hell that gives the dead uncle immense power by being able to see into the future. There are twelve ghosts trapped in the house using spells inscribed on the glass walls. The ghosts can be seen only with the help of specially made eyewear. The plot is that the ghosts are released one by one and they go on a killing spree. So, we get six characters (father, daughter, son, crazed babysitter, psychic dude and learned sexy ghost emancipator) trapped in a glass maze inside a haunted house where the walls keep shifting. They all get separated more or less but it's the special effects that seem to amaze. It consists of a lot of running around with the characters consistently and repeatedly doing dumb things like being trapped on the wrong end of the glass doors. All this is nicely interspersed with shots of extremely scary looking ghosts none of which are digital works. These are live people with makeup and man it looks good. Everything makes a startling appearance with claws, teeth or dislocated arm bared.

As usual with movies there are some gaping plot holes. I mean, the ghosts are out to kill people but they cannot kill because the ones they are to kill cannot be killed in which case the contraption won't work. Sounds confusing? Well, you will get it when you watch it. There are sudden twists like I the end when what appears to be a ghost is not a ghost. And then there are silly things like all through the glass house seemed indestructible but in the end it explodes into millions of shards. The movie could have used a bit more humor but all in all, it's a good show.

The Children of GTA

Today I'm attempting to deliver a list many of you will be keenly interested in perusing. It's simple stuff... GTA is an extremely popular, generally loved title. So, what games (especially PS2, as developers seem to hate developing for PCs) are out that mimic its design (or at least a large part of it), and, more importantly, are they any good?

A simple, rightful question like this deserves a simple, straightforward answer. I've opted to neatly organize all of the available GTA-clones I can remember onto this single page. Below, please find my alphabetized clones list complete with brief descriptions. Just below that I've bulleted out five upcoming titles that also appear to be GTA clones worth mention.

Of course, if you're interested in the real thing itself, we have published an exclusive preview of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas a few weeks ago. Please feel free to check out that issue of RS whenever you like.

Finally, if you disapprove of this article and find it to be a lazy piece of work, understand that I had very little to work with during this ridiculously slow season. There are other things that I could have run up top, but who knows what the future brings? Perhaps we'll need to use those alternatives again at some other point? Only time will tell!

DRIV3R (PS2, PC among others)
Pub: Atari | Dev: Reflections | Release: June, 2004

Boy howdy does this game ever suck. When I first saw the screenshots and that hot but violent looking chick from The Fast and the Furious, I thought the game had some serious potential. Too bad money in branding and the acquisition of Hollywood talent -- not to mention a focus on supposed photo-realism -- left the actual game looking like a fat 5.4 on the rating scale.

Like GTA, it's a cars and on-foot action setup, but it lacks just about everything just about everywhere. My verdict? If Crapulous Prime were an actual descriptor, that'd be it. Avoid this one.

The Getaway (PS2)
Pub: Sony | Dev: Soho | Release: January, 2003
Sony's first-party attempt on the GTA craze boasted an excellent, well-acted storyline, a degree of authentic brutality none of the other clones could copy and a truly frantic pace, but it had some problems.

Despite looking and sounding good, The Getaway forgot to perfect the gameplay and all but neglected simple functionality that eventually led to some rather frustrating scenarios. Shooting, driving, and generally navigating eventually felt more like chores than enjoyable portions of the experience. In the end, we highly recommend trying this one. Just don't buy-in if you're unwilling to cope with some inevitable annoyances.

Jak II (PS2)
Pub: Sony | Dev: Naughty Dog | Release: October, 2003
Jak II switched up the platforming / action formula of Jak the first by focusing more on the unlawful possession of vehicles within a large alien city. It follows the GTA formula of story between randomness to a tee, but to many gamers, Jak is the better product.

With a slick engine, a excellent videogame storyline, and some genuinely classic action and platforming, there were few problems to find within Jak II. In fact, many gamers just pass it over either because it's too unlike the original Jak or too "kiddy" to place next to GTA. Still, if there were one clone to get, this would probably be it.

Mafia (PC, PS2, Xbox)
Pub: Gathering | Dev: Illusion | Release: January, 2004
Mafia is an incredible PC game, based in the 1930s. Mafia PC had an outrageous presentation, a terrific storyline, Max Payne-like shooting, and GTA-like driving.

If you care about any of those things, just grab this one. The graphics were excellently done and the control was addictive, which eventually made the storyline totally intriguing. However, the console versions of this game are terribly sloppy.

Simpsons: Hit and Run
Pub: Vivendi | Dev: Radical | Release: September, 2003
This is the only Simpsons game worth playing a lot of. Some robot-bees are terrorizing Springfield. As a number of familiar characters, players will have to drive a number of familiar vehicles around doing quests, races and pursuits to figure out just what's happening. There's also a basic on-foot action / platforming system in place.

It's good, but sometimes the accurately recreated Springfield feels a bit constricting and forces players into blocked off segments before they can advance to the next area. Still definitely worth a look, however. Not only is Hit and Run a solid Simpsons game, it's also a fine GTA clone.

Spider-Man 2
Pub: Activision | Dev: Treyarch | Release: June, 2004
So you can't drive any cars, big deal. Spider-Man 2 takes the open-world of GTA to new heights, literally. It's a freeform universe filled with rampant crime and delivered by some truly slick graphics that never do any one thing right, but always manage to combine every single thing into an attractive whole. It's also arguably the best superhero game around.

Fighting, swinging and discovering the secrets hidden within this digital New York rules, but the random tasks that intersperse the story get boring, fast. Equally tiresome are some of the boss fights the game revolves around. Nevertheless, Spidey 2 is definitely a GTA-inspired game to get.

True Crime
Pub: Activision | Dev: Luxoflux | Release: November, 2003
Adding a Los Angeles theme and a more capable central character to the GTA mix gave Activision a very solid, if somewhat controversial performer. Many people believed that while True Crime was good for its interactive environments, diverse missions, and more exhilarating hand-to-hand combat, others believed its clunky engine, stiff driving, generic story, and sloppy camera just didn't cut it.

My personal opinion was extremely positive about this game, but you'll still find many others quick to debate such a high rating. This one is truly a love or hate game. But, few titles managed to so completely copy the GTA formula while simultaneous adding new gameplay mechanics that didn't break the flow. Worth playing, for sure.

Upcoming GTA clones:
Getaway: Black Monday
Mafia 2
Payback (for GBA and PC)


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

© 2003 The Daily Star