The world is an increasingly small place, the people in it realising they are bound by the same threads. Beyond the everyday struggles we share to lesser or greater extents, one of the most powerful, and truly universal, forces is music. The sounds of Western rock music filtered across the globe and in India friends Jayant Bhadula, Karan Katiyar and Raoul Kerr heard its call, adding sounds from their own heritage into the mix. After making their mark with covers, the three have now brought debut ‘Rakshak’ into the world and the results are truly electrifying.
A tight ten songs long, the album brings a glorious mix of metal and traditional Indian folk music instrumentation that stands shoulder to shoulder with internationally known acts like The Hu in their creativity and earthiness. Whilst decibel loving bands are springing up all over the globe, forging their own identities rooted in their own culture, the rise of these acts that input so much of their tradition into the material is a voice that is both fresh yet steeped in an ancient tradition. ‘Rakshak’ announces the arrival of Bloodywood in a way that couldn’t be louder or clearer.
The monstrous groove of ‘Gaddaar’ opens the album in a barrage of blast beats and huge riffs from Katiyar, the raw vocals of Bjadula and rap from Kerr a fantastically heady combination. Throughout the album, the core at which everything grows from is the use of musical stylings hewn from their homeland and it soaks everything in an atmosphere that’s uniquely their own, the beautiful intro to ‘Aaj’ giving way to the mayhem a prime example. There’s a glorious mix of elements here, the structure of the songs as vibrant as India itself, from the ethereal vocals and flurry of guitarwork in ‘Zanjeero Se’ to the skyscraping force of ‘Yaad’, each has its own highs.
Easily something to be enjoyed in one sitting, ‘Rakshak’ should prove the international breakthrough that puts the already growing profile of the band well and truly on the map. With influences of Linkin Park and Rage Against The Machine front and centre, Bloodywood fire on all cylinders here, the gleaming production polishing their sound but also retaining the fire that burns brightly here. Whilst some may say it borders on the much-maligned Nu Metal movement at times, there is more substance and reality here than most of the bands from that era could muster in multiple lifetimes.
Particularly impressive, ‘Jee Veerey’ could be an ideal pick for the next adrenaline soaked ‘Mission Impossible’ film and the total maelstrom of ‘Dana-Dan’ sweeps all from its path, flattening cities with its power. More than just a band focussed on its metal attack, there is a real intelligence and purpose in the lyrics, the themes of social justice and positivity eschewing the usual rock ‘n’ roll tropes and reflected in their work as a band actively reaching out not just to their own community but globally.
Earth shaking sounds, whiplash smart and uplifting themes, originality and a blistering focus on what they do, Bloodywood have created a debut that is likely going to be hailed as one of the finest albums of the year and maybe of their generation too. Truly ground breaking and incendiary, ‘Rakshak’ is destined to make the world sit up and listen.
Review: Paul Monkhouse
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 – BSDK.exe
10 – Chakh Le
Rakshak is out now, you can purchase a physical copy here or stream it online.