The underground music scene in Bangladesh is swarming with junior artists and bands. While most of them are amateurs with mediocre skills and perform nowhere near as well as our giants do, there are some among them that are solid gold and deserve a place at the very top. We occasionally have many underground concerts here and there; few leave a mark on the modern music scene as clear as Battle of The Bands did for the first time last year.
This year, it is back and it is bigger and better than before. Organized by Get Amped Series and Insanity, this epic competition went down yesterday (Saturday, October24th) at the Uttara Friends Club Bhaban, Uttara. Ten new bands battled it out for their place in the big leagues and it was something worth remembering.
The people that made it into this year’s competition SteelBorn, Implicit, Petty Never Grew, Turn Hostile, In Exile, Treverim, Screech, Averse, Audoibik and Craftsmen. While these were the best Dhaka had to offer, some were more deserving than others. Trainwreck, the headliner band and Distorted, the previous Battle of Bands winners were there as guest performers. This year’s contest was judged by Nafiz al Amin, the drummer of Arbovirous, Powersurge vocalist Jamshed Choudhury, Pavel the bassist from Avoid Rafa and Tridip the Mechanix vocalist.
The First band to get on stage was Petty Never Grew. Their unique style combining elements from Jazz and Indian Classical music was mesmerizing, but they didn’t make it very far since the judges, quite rightly so, penalized themfor bad attitude since they had offended the Metal genre on their Facebook page earlier. Nothing gives one the right to degrade an entire genre of music in public.
Next up was Averse who were probably having the worst day of their lives. From technical difficulties to unlucky mess-ups by the members, their time on stage was a total disaster. The guitar’s 6th string broke out of the blue, so they had to borrow one from another band, which happened to be toned in drop D. Although their own songs were somewhat presentable, their “Master of Puppets” cover ended up an epic fail. So bad, that Jamshed Chowdhury declared that it was the worst “Master of Puppets” cover he had ever heard. Luck was clearly not on their side this time.
After that last unfortunate series of events came the awesome SteelBorn. Their performance was near perfect and they rocked both their own songs and covers. The judges were spellbound and out of words. Screech followed, delivering an impressive performance of their own music and covers, all in Alternative and Hard Rock. The judges’ remarks were positive and supportive.
After Implicit got up on stage and were done with their performance of originals as well as covers, we could sense some tension in the hall. They rocked so hard, Nafiz Al Amin invited them for a drums take at his studio.
Turn Hostile, the very hostile thrash metal band went up next and alongside their originals covered “And Justice For All” by Metallica, which blew the judges away. They were followed by Treverim, who were supposedly a Power Metal band. But after hearing their cover and two of their originals, the judges remarked that they were more of Groove Metal than Power.
After that came Audiobik with a few cool Pantera covers and only one original, closely followed by In Exile, who had some difficulties playing their own track alongside cover and Craftsmen with three covers and one original. All three did OK compared to the others.
Contestants were judged 50% on judges’ mark, 10% on punctuality and 40% on audience votes. The runner up this year was Turn Hostile. When it was time to pick winners, the judges couldn’t decide on one, so they picked two – SteelBorn and Implicit. They won BDT 10,000 in prize money and an opening slot each to Get Amped 8 – the biggest underground concert in all of Uttara. They will also receive opportunities on radio interviews, tours and single album releases.
With that ended the second epic season of Battle of Bands. We are definitely looking forward to seeing these new artists reach their full potential and join the likes of Artcell and Chirkutt. Someday, they might make us Bangladeshis proud.
Reporting: Fahim Imran
Photography: Sumon Ahsan