REVIEW: Bloodywood – Rakshak

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I only recently discovered the Indian heavy metal band BLOODYWOOD while their song “Ari Ari” was blasting out of car speakers during a roadtrip in Finland. I knew I had to keep an eye out for this band instantly because of the blend of traditional Indian folk instruments, which made an altogether fresh mix of metal music. The band went viral releasing metal covers of well-known pop songs on YouTube and soon realized that they should actually compose original music. Luckily, the time has finally come, as they have just released their debut album, “Rakshak,” on February 18th, 2022.

I have to admit that I know fairly little about Indian music generally, however, I do know a couple of songs from movies – “Mundian To Bach Ke” by PANJABI MC is one of those kick-ass examples and surprisingly, the opening track “Gaddaar” has a similar folky rhythmic section. However, this track is a lot more than a song that has Indian traditional folk music influences seeped in. With its relevant political message, it’s only natural that, due to the rapping, it has a nu-metal feel to it. Altogether, this makes for a refreshing opener that has to be an incredible live track – Finland, can you book these guys already?!

Starting off with a folky intro, followed by a beautiful melodic flute, “Aaj” kicks in. It has a somewhat more melodic, modern feel to it than the previous track, but does not give in with regard to heaviness. The verses are very minimal, with electronic folk sounds and rapping layered on top, and are often juxtaposed with incredible growls. The chorus is a little bit more poppy and basically is just one of these choruses where it doesn’t matter what language it’s sung in, you’re going to sing along anyway! BLOODYWOOD then slow down with the emotional “Zanjeero Se,” which has a fairly interesting beat at the beginning of the track. While it progresses, sometimes heavier and faster sections kick in, however, it remains emotional and atmospheric on the whole and shows a completely different side of the band.

“Machi Chasad” kicks off with an incredible percussive extravaganza, continuing with some more heavy rapping, before plummeting into a heavy chorus. These percussive elements are re-introduced later in the song, giving it extra variety. If you thought the band was going totally crazy during this track, think again… “Dana-Dan” is probably the most insane track on “Rakshak” and I’m all here for it! The lyrics are again politically-themed, as they are a commentary on sexual assault and the need to eliminate it – at least someone’s singing about it! The amount of aggression and anger in this track really showcases how passionate this band is to raise awareness about things that need to change.

The band breaks the overall intensity with the folky “Jee Veerey”; there’s a beautiful flute melody that sets the overall tone of the song. The flute has never sounded more metal than in this track. While “Endurant” also has a flute in it, it’s a lot heavier and goes back into the modern/nu-metal soundscapes the band is touching upon with their music. Yet, while the music may be heavier, it is no less emotional as its lyrics are incredible; another showcase that this band is about much more than writing a bunch of songs that sound rad, they all have an important message that also has the power to connect people (maybe that also explains why this band has reached insurmountable levels of popularity on YouTube – just check out the comment sections on their original tracks.)

Another example of that is the next track, “Yaad,” a song about the power of accepting the loss of a loved one and moving on. The lyrics celebrate the permanent impact they have on us, reiterating the belief that we carry them in our best memories, no matter how far apart we may be. Having recently lost someone myself, this track really moved something inside of me – incredibly powerful. I may not know a lot about Indian traditional music, but “Chakh Le” definitely must be one of the most amped-up tracks that the country has released musically. It’s the kind of song where the entire audience on a festival just would jump up and down while headbanging furiously and just having fun. The final track’s title, “BSDK.exe,” sounds like a piece of malware installed on your computer and while it is certainly as infectious as a virus, it’s also a great way to end the record. It’s not overly energetic, but it has a great groove to it and an rather different atmosphere that plays around with multiple climaxes in the record.

BLOODYWOOD is a band that everyone should definitely listen to in 2022! If they are not on your radar yet, you definitely know what to do. What is great about this band is that they have certainly created a refreshing metal sound, that sounds both unique and nostalgic (it’s undeniable a band like this often gets compared to acts like for instance, LINKIN PARK, or due to the heavy political messages even RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE). I think the best part, however, still has to be discovered, as it sounds like all of these songs are definitely going to sound insane live – the few live videos online from their 2019 Wacken performance are proof of just that. We can only hope that booking agents and labels soon will realize that BLOODYWOOD is ready to conquer the world and we are ready for them!

Tracklist

  1. Gaddaar
  2. Aaj
  3. Zanjeero Se
  4. Machi Bhasad (Album Version)
  5. Dana-Dan
  6. Jee Veerey (Album Version)
  7. Endurant (Album Version)
  8. Yaad (Album Version)
  9. Chakh Le
  10. BSDK.exe

Lineup

Karan Katiyar – guitars, flute, production, composition

Jayant Bhadula – vocals, growls

Raoul Kerr – rap vocals

Label

Independent

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