Album review: Bloodywood – Rakshak

Indian metal stars Bloodywood sound primed and ready to explode on their (sort of) debut album, Rakshak.

Album review: Bloodywood – Rakshak
Paul Travers

When Bloodywood exploded into the YouTube limelight a few years ago with an arsenal of metallic covers they seemed like a lot of fun, but not a band built to last. There’s still a lot to be said for their viral version of Ari Ari and the Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande songs on their first collection Anti-Pop Vol. 1, but the Bloodywood behind Rakshak are an altogether different proposition.

They’re still a lot of fun, but there’s now a serious intent behind the infectious grooves. ‘Bounce to the sound, make a revolution / This is an act of war, this is the evolution,’ they declare on the brilliantly chaotic Machi Bhasad. There’s so much energy in their sound, which mixes a dizzying combination of crunching metal, hip-hop, electronica, vibrant bhangra grooves and other folk motifs. It sounds like it should be the perfect party fuel, but there’s an underlying sense of righteous anger as they take aim at a rage of socio-political subjects.

They also know how to dial down the frantic sense of urgency that’s present on much of Rakshak when they need to make a more personal connection. Jee Veerey (which translates from Hindi to ‘Live, Brave One’) deals with themes of mental illness and depression, while Yaad explores universal themes of love and loss, with both songs using haunting flutes to create a more evocative atmosphere. Then they’re back to raising hell again on the vaguely sinister, Korn-like lurch of BSDK.exe or the full-on folk-metal discharge of Chakh Le.

Bloodywood have a sound like no one else in the world right now. Rakshak is equal parts joyous, furious and incendiary and its creators look set to be the first Indian metal band to truly explode on a global scale.

Verdict: 4/5

For Fans Of: Skindred, Alien Weaponry, Eluveitie

Rakshak is out now

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