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#ReviewRundown: February 2022

Check our verdict on the latest from Bloodywood, Colorblind, Mysore Xpress, Nick Tombing and Old Highway

Anurag Tagat Mar 01, 2022
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Bloodywood – Rakshak

★★★★

Among the most healthy signs of metal in India still finding a way to flourish is that Bloodywood may have had to cancel tours and wait a little longer on dreams of global domination due to the pandemic, but their debut full-length album Rakshak takes the reins. Packed with previous heavy-hitter singles like “Endurant” (sounding much fuller and finessed now with a new mix), “Jee Veerey,” “Machi Bhasad” and “Yaad,” the newer songs have a lot to prove. Swerving between their folk/rap metal style, there are more uplifting songs (“Zanjeero Se,” “Chakh Le,” “Aaj”) and caustic takedowns (“Gaddaar,” “Dana Dan,” “BSDK.exe”) fueled by rapper Raoul Kerr’s gritty vocals, growler Jayant Bhadula’s soaring choruses and guttural prowess, plus everything else from producer-guitarist Karan Katiyar. It’s a world of tough love, empathy and encouragement inside Rakshak, and Bloodywood make sure we stay glued and keep headbanging.

Colorblind – The Evangelist

★★★½

Seemingly bizarre and eerie journeys in sound are New Delhi/Pune artist Colorblind’s forte and we hear it perfected on his latest record The Evangelist. Tunneling through strife on songs like “Weather Machine,” he’s joined by Berlin-based Croatian artist Geanina Gypt and Shrey Kathuria (part of rock act Hitherto). “Man From Upstairs,” “I Don’t Have a Mouth But I Must Speak” and “Incal” offer turbulent dramatic turns, while “Wormtamer” gallops with resolve. Sonic snapshots like “Door 1” and “Foetus” keep The Evangelist intriguing, but Colorblind sounds best when he blends shoegaze, post-punk and post-rock on “Devil On The Neon Porch,” an indomitable collaboration with Cowboy and Sailor Man. Some of that carries forward to “White Light, Black Magician” – a shimmering yet fuzzy offering. Colorblind pours it all out on the title track, a raw post-rock crescendo that elevates The Evangelist.

Old Highway – Ziist

★★★

Pune rock band Old Highway combine gritty biker-friendly hard rock with blues flourishes and Hindi and Urdu lyrics on their debut full-length album Ziist. “Sheher” sees vocalist Juliee Sakhare test the waters with her vocals, but lets the instrumentalists shine on “Sardi Ki Raatein.” Their journeying rock somehow brings them to a jazz-club vibe on “Bekaraan,” a quieter, swing-informed song that comes in a little too early after the shot of adrenaline on the first two tracks. Nevertheless, there are bluesy excursions (“Khvab-Gah,” “Khatm Kaali Raatein”) and well-crafted songs (“Bol”). While a few songs may not have that repeat value (“Jaise Ki”), Old Highway do manage to keep the rock flag flying high throughout Ziist.

Nick Tombing – The Departure

★★★★

With metallers All Seeing Eye, Nick Tombing showcased a dazzling sense of guitar sensibility for a avant/tech-metal band. On his fourth solo album The Departure, we hear more intrigue-inviting movements than perhaps anything he’s released so far. Combining the precision tech-death metal with the brightness of modern prog/djent, Tombing is like Cloudkicker meets Plini. Songs like “Limbo,” “The Truth In I (Endless)” and “Transmitting” mark a flurry of movements. The layers stack up artfully on “Acceptance” and Tombing brings down the hammer on the blistering title track “Departure” and later on “Leave No Stone Unturned.” Elsewhere, “Stardust” appropriately notches up virtuoso guitar work, while shorter tracks like “Instills” and Continuum offer chaos and calm in turns, Tombing strikes best when he’s charging ahead with riffs, like the groove fest that’s “Visionary” and the Animals As Leaders tap-fest that’s “The Protagonist.” The Departure seethes and soothes, but best of all, it can keep any modern metal fan nodding along in approval for its 46-minute run.

Also See  #ReviewRundown: April 2022

Mysore Xpress – Made In Mysore EP

★★★

Kannada rock band Mysore Xpress carry an exuberance right from the get-go on their new EP Made In Mysore. With the lyrics and sonics aptly deriving from their lived experiences in the city of Mysuru, there’s vibrant fusion heard across four tracks. Considering the benchmark in folk-fusion from the region has often been set by the likes of Raghu Dixit, and more recently, Pineapple Express, Mysore Xpress seem to keep the flame lit with flute-imbued, Carnatic guitar-employing arena-ready songs like “Savaari.” “Samaya” and “Nammooru” power through with familiar flourishes and the band certainly know their way around finessed production and sing-along choruses. Their lengthiest song, the violin-aided “Tamboori” may offer more of the same but Mysore Xpress’ spirit never flags, and that helps all along. 

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