DISCOVERY OF 2018 : BLOODYWOOD
Despite living in Canada, my life since moving to Vancouver has been surrounded by Indian culture. I live in a very predominantly-Indian neighborhood where I can count 3 Sikh temples within walking distance of my flat, where service in Punjabi or Hindi is nearly guaranteed at any of the shops around my house, where my autumn nights are typically illuminated by nightly fireworks to celebrate Diwali, and where Indian pop music and Bollywood soundtracks is what the bros with nice cars bump loudly to show off. And I live for it.
Despite my daily exposure, Indian metal is never something I thought to delve into, so imagine my surprise when my spotify radio pushed a song named “Tunak Tunak Metal” by a band named Bloodywood to me. The unmistakable song filled my headphones and I knew I would be a fan of the band’s work.
You see, “Tunak Tunak Tun” - a song popularized by Indian singer Daler Mehndi - was a hit at home, but reached international audiences as a meme in the early 2000s. For anybody with access to an internet connection back then, the melody and dance moves are forever etched into their memory. To hear a ridiculously well done cover of that fire track sold me immediately.
Diving further into the world of Bloodywood is an unprecedented treat. From covers of popular songs like “In Da Club,” “Smells like Teen Spirit,” and the classic “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” to other Indian songs such as “Rang De Basanti” (originally composed by Academy Award winner A.R. Rahman) from the movie of the same name, every cover performed by the duo is a veritable masterclass in the artform. Skillful, respectful, flawless in execution, and heavy as hell, the songs typically feature harsh vocals, some pig squeals, and brain-melting guitars that are violently fun to listen to.
The Indian influence doesn’t come through so much on the American pop covers, but for songs like “Ari Ari,” “Rang de Basanti” and “Tunak Tunak Tun,” the traditional sounds from the band’s motherland are ever-present and oh-so welcome.
"Ari Ari" — Bloodywood (2018)
While there is something magically comical about listening to a grown man growling “I got that MILF money,” Bloodywood’s excellence doesn’t stop at covers. The duo’s best work comes from their original song “Jee Veerey,” featuring Raoul Kerr.
Though not playfully typical like their Indian song covers, this track is the most heartfelt song in Bloodywood’s repertoire while still retaining a sound that is uniquely theirs. With the powerful laments of the tin whistle punctuating the song with sadness, the lyrics - in English and Punjabi - tackle the somehow-still-taboo subject of depression and suicide in a song that is as inspiring as it is good. And why settle for just being a good band when you can also be a band who does good? Bloodywood furthered their efforts to combat depression and mental illness by purchasing 60 one-on-one hour-long therapy sessions with HopeTherapy, to be used free of charge by those in need.
With their altruism, creativity, and reminder to take life a little less seriously, Bloodywood is my unequaled discovery of 2018!
To support their work, become a Bloodywood patron on Patreon.