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Mumbai’s Latest Metallers Sarfaad Tackle Radicalization on Debut Song ‘Painting a Villain’

The four-member band’s sound veers into chaotic hardcore, metalcore and borrows from hip-hop and dub music

Anurag Tagat Apr 21, 2020

Mumbai metal band Sarfaad. Photo: Tanmay Kulkarni

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After a year of setting up and finding their footing, Mumbai’s newly established metal band Sarfaad are out with their unsparing debut single “Painting a Villain.” The song, a nihilistic look at how society creates an anti-hero, digs straight into stomping riffage and dissonant, chaotic guitar scrapes.

Founded by guitarist Sushant Vohra (part of American prog metal band Scarlet Dress), Sarfaad is completed by drummer Reeshav Gohrain (from Pune metallers Obstinate), guitarist Sanjeet Khuraijam (from Mumbai prog/experimental band Sei Hek) and vocalist Arbaaz Khan (from Nashik metallers Sense of Tumour). Vohra says about finding like-minded members, “Mumbai is not the most modern metal friendly city and modern metal is still growing in the country. Luckily the Mumbai music scene is very tight knit and finding musicians was a matter of scouting the internet for music projects in the similar space.”

Once Khan was on board, he was given full freedom to work on lyrics. The vocalist says in a vlog uploaded by the band, “When Sushant and I spoke on Facebook, he sent me a demo and I really liked the sound that he’s working with. We met up and I traded some things I’d been writing already.”

Part of a debut EP that’s being produced and recorded between Vohra’s and Gohrain’s respective independent studio setups, “Painting a Villain” is a must-hear for fans of metal acts such as Architects, Code Orange and more. The lyric video for the song also allowed Vohra to take control of the band’s visual aesthetic, drawing from his own background in design. “I curated the video for Painting a Villain as a play on the painting/creating process but in an abstract manner,” he says.

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Sarfaad have a 30-minute set of material that continues in the chaotic metal vein but also offers glimpses of hip-hop and electronic music flourishes. Vohra, however, says that when they’ll get on stage, there’s no deviations. “[It’s] pure wall crushing metal from 0 to 100. We keep reminding ourselves that we are pretty fresh as a band but not as musicians and are ready to take our music to the stage should an opportunity arise.”

Watch the lyric video for “Painting a Villain” below. Stream on Bandcamp and Spotify

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