Three years ago, when Bloodywood’s cover of Bombay Rocker’s Ari Ari went viral on Youtube, you could have been forgiven for thinking the New Delhi rap-metallers would have a limited shelf-life. Sure, it was a cracking blend of traditional Indian instruments with riffs, but without any original material or touring experience, there didn’t appear to be any sort of outlook for them.
How things change. After their own songs gained just as much traction online, they went on to sell out 80% of their first-ever tour in the summer of 2019 and destroyed the Bullhead City Circus stage at Wacken that same year – no mean feat for a band who hadn’t even recorded an album. But they have now, and Rakshak - which means ‘guardian’ in Hindi - continues the band’s extraordinary rise to prominence.
The four original tracks released prior – Machi Basad, Jee Veerey, Endurant and Yaad – have all been re-recorded for the album, gaining an extra level of bite in the process thanks to the excellent production job from guitarist Karan Katiyar. But they all take a back seat next to the punch and zeal that the half-dozen new songs emit.
Lead single and opening number Gaddaar might be the best track they’ve done to date, a raucous middle finger towards the far right of politics and humanity delivered with a snarl Rage Against The Machine would be proud of. The flute-led Aaj and Linkin Park-influenced Zanjeero Se show the band’s impressive musical range whilst inherently staying true to their native roots, before BDSK.exe and Chakh Le deliver the most crushing of finales. If this is what Bloodywood can achieve on their own, imagine where they could go with a label behind them. Surely that’s only a matter of time.
Rakshak is out now