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Delving into darkness

Death metal music has already established a solid foothold in the Bangladesh music arena with a slow but steady rise in their fan base. Since its advent in the early 1980's, death metal has continued evolving into more selective genres of its own, like melodic, brutal and such. By itself, death metal genre is quite hard to define, but the general definition stands as 'a type of heavy metal music with thrash metal music'. 'There are in fact so many different varieties of death metal music that it does not follow the old definition anymore', says Shaju, Artcell's drummer. 'But we can recognize it by noticing a few of the patterns that death music normally has, like growling and incoherent vocals, insane double bass playing, and fast riffs.'

When Rockstrata and Warfaze started out around 1984-85 as the first heavy metal bands in the country, nobody could have predicted the rapid evolution of music that would follow in the music scene of Bangladesh. They started the revolution that slowly saw Cryptic Fate forming in 1993, which saw a new realm in the country's music scene. Music was getting heavier, with a more selective fan base, and it was getting technical. As the years passed away, we saw the metal genre in the country spawning into more categories, like progressive heavy metal, thrash metal and finally, death metal.

Death metal is known for very abrupt tempo and count/time signature changes, coupled with extremely fast and complex guitar works, which are usually based on riffs and rhythm. The drum works of these bands are characterized by a high double bass count, often exceeding the 200-b.p.m (beats per minute) rate, and high speed rolling. Because of its relationship with speed and technique, death metal is the most physically demanding of its musicians. The subjects of its lyrics usually deal with the darker side of society that most other musical styles avoid writing about. The focus on mortality along with the extreme nature of the music likely inspired the naming of this genre as "death" metal. 'In the context of Bangladesh, the lyrics have not yet matured to a sensible sense yet', commented Tanvir, a concert organizer, 'But then again, it's just been around two years that death metal music has really kicked in.'

Bands playing death metal music in those early years had to endure a lot of criticism to survive the initial displeasure of crowds, who were used to hearing more mellowed composition. 'In any kind of genre of music, the auditors becomes less and less when the music becomes more technical and narrowed down', says Jamshed, bassist of Espionage, 'So when death metal music came in Bangladesh, the bands had to start from scratch in building popularity.' So it took a lot of perseverance on the band member's part to take the brunt and slowly achieve a small, yet steadily growing fan base.

The first band here that brought out a track that was closest to the term 'death metal' was Poizon Green, which was formed in December 1998. Their debut track Artonad was the first commercial death metal song to be released in an album, Agontuk-1 and needless to say, their track had a mixed reaction to it. Although Poizon Green is not a death metal band, but rather a thrash metal band, their track was considered as a death metal track since it had a lot of ingredients that are present in the death metal genre.

After the formation of Poizon Green, another new band known as Bloodlust was formed in 2000. Some people argue that Bloodlust is the first death metal band in the country, but most musicians agree to the point that Dripping Gore is the forefather of death metal music in the country, although they came up much later, in 2003. 'The point is that Bloodlust never did any shows, they never had a lineup', says Nahiyan, guitarist of Severe Dementia, 'And the album that they brought out was a home project, where they used drum machines for the album.'

In that respect, the actual title of who brought death metal in the country would go to Dripping Gore, a band formed in the late 2003. They started doing shows in many of the concerts that have been going around in the country, and pretty soon, they established a good foothold in the music arena of Bangladesh. 666, another young band, started its journey in January 2004, which also didn't take much time to establish its name as one of the best death metal band in the country. 'The main influences of any death metal bands in the country are bands like Death, Deicide, Nile, Psycroptic, Monstrosity, Necrophagist, Kreator, Vital Remains, Opeth', observed Nahiyan.

Pretty soon, the number of death metal bands in the country rose quite abruptly. Following 666, a lot of new bands got inspired to form and gave performance in a lot of concert in the past two years. 2004 is the year known to the musicians in Bangladesh as the golden year for death metal in the country, because that year every concert had one or more death metal bands in their show's line-up. This statistics was in itself a tremendous achievement for band playing a particular genre, and was emphasized more when more death metal tracks were released in commercial albums. Din Bodol, a mixed album brought out by Durrey, had a track of Poizon Green, which now got a worthy response that a good track normally gets. After that, death metal music in the country reached in a new level when two death metal bands had their tracks released in the mixed album, Agontuk-3. In fact, another album mixed-band compilation album “Adhar” under the label of Dead Line Music has a death metal track of 666, now Severe Dementia.

At present, Poizon Green, Severe Dementia, and a few other bands are planning to bring out their debut albums. This was unthinkable even a few years back, due to lack of sponsors and recording companies. But with the growing popularity of death metal music, this is becoming more of a reality as each day passes. Currently, the best known death metal bands in the country are Voodoo Economics, Annex, Necropolis, Satanic, Dripping Gore and Severe Dementia, in which some are now dormant with their members either studying outside or busy with their personal affairs.

By Asifur Rahman Khan

Scyllas conquer the Beximco Pharma U-19 Girls' Handball Tournament 2007

The 'Valkyries Scyllas', a private handball team formed by Scholastica students, beat Viqarunnesa Noon School and College in a thrashing 16-4 to win the Beximco Pharma U-19 Girls' Handball Tournament 2007 held on the 23rd and 24th of February at Dhanmondi Women's Complex Indoor Gymnasium. Ms. Katrin Weiss, Secretary of Culture and Education, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, attended the closing ceremony as the Chief Guest and watched the final match, accompanied by Mr. Asaduzzaman Kohinoor, Secretary of Bangladesh Handball Federation.

The tournament was organized by Verdandi, an independent handball organization which seeks to promote women's handball in Bangladesh. The president, Nabila Ahmed Tisha, also the captain of the victorious Scyllas, said, "It was a spur-of-the-moment idea that snowballed into this big event." She further added that Verdandi hoped to organize more tournaments in the near future, given the success of its first event.

The group round was held on 23rd February, where the young Aga Khan School was defeated by Sunnydale and Valkyries Skyliners. Sunnydale beat Valkyries Skyliners 10-9 in a thrilling encounter, while Valkyries Scyllas beat Viqarunnesa in the other group match.

The semi-finals were played on the 24th February, where Valkyries Scyllas breezed past the inexperienced Valkyries Skyliners, winning 21-2. In the other semifinal, Viqarunnesa got a deserving victory over Sunnydale to reach the final.

The third position match was perhaps the most evenly contested match of the tournament. Just as the previous meeting, this match between Skyliners and Sunnydale saw both teams put up a stunning display. With just a few minutes left on the clock, Skyliners equalized, until playmaker and captain Tazmila scored a thrilling winner just a few seconds from the clock, giving Skyliners the third position. An understandably dejected Sunnydale left before the final was played.

In the final match, there was no doubt who the winners would be as Scyllas netted one goal after another. While Banya of Viqarunnesa scored all 4 goals for her team, Scyllas dominated throughout with Anusheh scoring 6 goals, Soera scoring 5 and Sadia netting the ball 4 times. It was a well deserved and comprehensive victory for Valkyries Scyllas.

Anusheh Mahmood of Scyllas was awarded Highest Scorer of the Tournament and Best Player of the Tournament. The tournament ended with a cultural event, where Kaniz, Naim and Anika put up some beautiful folk and fusion dance performances.

By Azhar Chowdhury

ISD Carnival

Functions held in ISD are usually a treat. Whether it is a concert, a tournament or a fair, the event is followed by raw hype and anticipation. To be seen in such an event as the ISD annual fair is a must for all the entertainment and socializing starved teenagers. To others, well let's just say that it is the "in" thing to do.

However, this particular carnival did not have its fair share of hype or anticipation. The idea of having a carnival right after the ISD fair, made people go " ISD again?” Therefore, as I neared the ISD premises, an unfamiliar emptiness greeted me. It cost me 50 taka to enter, but i think it was worth way more than that.

The number of stalls was sufficient. There was a place where you could play games, get a tattoo and surprisingly you could even buy dishwashers and toilet cleaners. That made me decide, that this was definitely not an all-teenagers affair. Words N' Pages had their own little stall and in the cafeteria was full of mouth-watering goodies. Like all fairs, everyone was over-charging but that did not manage to dampen the enthusiastic mood of the visitors or the participants. The highlight in the cafeteria was undoubtedly the Chocolate Factory, which managed to create some tantalizing chocolatey treats. I hope it will be there the next time too so that i can stuff on some more of their cakes.

Momeka, from Grade 10, organized the carnival. The carnival's purpose was to raise money to finance the medical expenses of the people who cannot bear the brunt of it themselves. With such a noble ambition, I think we should all applaud their cause and wish them success on their any such future endeavours. Certainly next time the fair season comes around, I'll be waiting first in line, dreaming of cakes and anticipating the crowds. With a full pocket, a stylish dress, a good hair day and a with-it attitude you cannot go wrong.

By Osama Rahman


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