Artcell scales new heights with Otritio
As the frontrunners of the ABC (Artcell, Black, and Cryptic Fate) generation, Artcell's influence on Bangladesh's music scene is stratospheric, to say the least. Throughout the past two decades, they've shaped the listening habits of tens of thousands of youths while simultaneously introducing people to a genre of music that had barely been picked up back in the day.
But for the longest time, the glory days of Artcell seemed to be long gone.
Their last studio album Oniket Prantor released back in early 2006, marking seventeen years without a new addition to their discography. And although the band stayed active throughout the years by doing live gigs and releasing a handful of singles, their signature fire seemed to have dimmed down to some extent.
However, that sentiment doesn't hold true anymore, because Artcell's third album Otritio has finally been released, and it doesn't shy away from making a bold statement.
The 41-minute-long album consists of six songs. It kicks off with "Protiti", a nearly two-minute-long atmospheric soundscape that sets up the mood for the rest of the songs to creep in. From there onwards, Artcell takes the listeners on an adrenaline-filled blast from the past and signals promising things for the band's future.
"Baksho Bondi" starts off with a clean, classical guitar shuffle that will confidently draw you in. It quickly shifts gears by the first-minute mark, as the richness of the composition brings back memories of "Rahur Grash" and "Bhul Jonmo", but through a distinct flavour that is much more palpable from their previous singles. The song's instrumentals take front and centre stage because the brutal riffs and lumbering percussion make for seven minutes of headbanging heaven.
"Biprotip" takes that energy up a notch and rediscovers Artcell's footing entirely. The entire concept, layering of sounds, build-ups, breakdowns, and harmonies come together to mesh into a product that is unlike anything that you might've heard from the four-man band in recent memory. The lyrics are as catchy as they are relatable, which will definitely prove to be a boost during live shows.
"Smritir Ayna" and "Oshomapto Shantona" serve as quintessential rock tracks that go hand in hand with each other to personalise the album's modern touch even further.
The real dark horse, however, is the final, self-titled track, "Otritio". There aren't enough superlatives to describe this 11-minute-long rollercoaster of a song. It had little touches of classic rock n' roll, alt-rock, grunge, and even a little flurry of death metal-esque growling sprinkled throughout to keep the listeners on their feet. To call it any less than a modern-day classic would be doing the artists a disservice because the creativity and experimentation they put on display are absolutely outstanding.
While all the songs had their highs and lows, the most consistent aspect that runs rampant throughout the album is, in my opinion, drummer Kazi Asheqeen Shaju's relentless bashing. His ability to play at unmatched speeds with immense precision and occasional off-kilter fills elevates the album from start to finish.
After 17 years in the making, Otritio did not disappoint. The number of tracks may pale in comparison to their earlier albums, but it more than makes up for it in terms of musical quality and production value, thus proving that the giants of Bangla band music can't be written off just yet.
Ayaan immerses himself in dinosaur comics and poorly-written manga. Recommend your least favourite reads at [email protected]