As a viewer who has little knowledge of music, bangla bands seem to have a definite spectrum – you have the folksy ballads and baul-esque tunes of bands like Bhoomi or Chandrabindoo who have become classics in their own right, you have Shilajit, Nachiketa and The Anupam Roy Band. Somewhere in the middle you’ll find bands like Cactus who delve into multiple territories and then begins the other side – the more rock n roll side of it. That you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover is more than suited for Jorimana by the band Alienz.
The first song of the album, “Bakhya Hoy Na” is a mellow track; mellow not by your average ballad standard, however it is the first track that you shouldn’t judge the rest of the album by. The song has intense vocal delivery and the changes in key might give you a hint of what’s to come. It qualifies as an acoustic track, yet the guitar solo sort of builds up to get you in an expectant mood which is a perfect start to the album.
“Aaj Kothao” starts building momentum. The soothing keyboard intro suddenly breaks into an intensely groovy guitar riff that feels like it could readily fit in with most international modern metal bands. Each chorus with the guitars coming in full blast makes the headbanger in me start grooving.
It’s clear that the songs keep building on themselves as they go along and by the time we get to the third track “Jorimana”, you’re strapped in, ready for the ride, and you have an idea of what’s to come. The slow intro is a trap. Do not fall for it. The deceptively soothing intro gives way to a fast paced riff that then shifts gears to go into staccato vocal delivery that locks in time with the drums and guitars. It doesn’t take much to see the massive Dream Theater influence that is glaring throughout the album perhaps with certain other ideas that resemble some material by Mahavishnu Orchestra.
“Sabi Pabey” builds with an almost punk vibe but the progressive elements get defined as the song progresses. Personally, I love the chorus and the track also features an extensive guitar – synth duet performance that is simply exemplary.
“Ashoriri” is, in my opinion the heaviest track of the album and also has one of the quietest sections of all featuring a section which has an operatic vocal section. And again, the guitar – keyboard duet is a lesson in solos. They demand lessons or a play-through in the very least.
“Ekla Raat” follows the same pattern of building on itself, beginning with an acoustic segment to guitar heavy sections to a powerful section.
“Maa” is the last truly heavy track on the album and while the melody may not be as complex as its predecessors, the track has one of the best chorus sections and is groovy through and through.
The final track “Samikaran”, a soothing melody backed by powerful vocals, is a piano – vocal ballad that you might consider an antithesis to an otherwise rather heavy album, but it seems to provide the end the album needed.
Catch them live tomorrow at INOX City Center on the evening of International Music Day, Kolkata.