‘If I wear a mask, it’s for hiding my scars. Nothing surrounds me, guess I’m a star’, these lines from the opening track ‘The Star’ set the caliginous tone of the 6-track hard rock/metal EP ‘Humanity Shoemanity‘. The EP, which is thematically concurrent to the times we live in, has been released by Blind Sun Drift, a rock/metal duo based out of Bengaluru, made up of Roktim Bhattacharjya, responsible for the guitars on the project, and Saptarshi Das who handles the vocals, bass and production.
While India has given space for many groundbreaking rock and metal acts to emerge, most of them have multiple members so as to give rise to a cohesive unit and full sound. The fact that a 2-piece band like BSD can come up with such a full-sounding debut EP with a sprawling progressive rock-metal composition, is in itself an exemplary achievement. The EP follows a thematic approach about the exasperation towards the state of affairs that surround mankind in the modern era, especially in the country we are reside in. Through their powerful audio illustrations the duo aim to channel this anger out to the masses. “If the EP has a theme it would be discontentment at the way things are around the world. Especially close to home. Things, big and small, that bother us often be it the state of our politics or the overarching hypocrisies in our religions. There are also a couple of songs that are more inward looking and more about the struggles of modern human existence. The EP is a meandering view through the daily bleak reminder of what humanity has reduced to, in the modern world.” says the band. A music video for the opening track ‘The Star’ was premiered on the same day as the EP release date (26th March) which features an actor, Daisy Sas Reang, struggling and trying to keep herself calm in the face of coping with all the madness revolving around, while an indignant Saptarshi Das portrays himself as a classic grunge vocalist appearing in and out of the story.
Saptarshi’s guttural yet resonant vocals on the EP orbits a large field in terms of pitches and style. He fluctuates from grunge vocals in ‘The Star’ & ‘Derelict’ to a harsh growling sound in ‘Murder Tongue’ and ‘Fevered Earth’, to slipping an earsplitting screeching ‘Saint by Numbers’ in the middle. While Roktim has grown up listening to grunge and alternative rock, Saptarshi was more into Punk rock but the pair came together because of their obsession with the heavy and raucous sound of guitars which sonically binds them. Alterbridge, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Green Day, System of A Down, are some of the influences for the band which can be sighted in their music as well.
A number that I find intriguing and outstanding on the EP is ‘Mommy Dear’, which is largely based on semi-acoustic guitars fronted by Das’s euphonious voice.“Mommy Dear is the misfit in many ways on the album, and yet possibly the most suited album closer the band could have settled on. The song was just the first three chords, and the words mommy dear, and it stayed that way for 5 years before the next word came along. It talks about the feeling of absolute alienation from even the closest people around you, something the band feels, that a lot of people go through. It is not a call to hope, that things will be better, it is a song, that proposes the notion that sometimes acceptance of the distance that has come between your close ones is the only remaining way ahead. Also, this song may or may not be based on true events”, says the band.
Roktim, the lead guitarist of BSD, has a day job as well, which he doesn’t want to talk about. He indulges in writing stories and blogs on the side and has a fair interest in filmmaking and video editing. A massive fan of fantasy literature, he hopes to write a novel one day. On the other hand, Saptarshi is a visual artist and designer on the side. He decided soon enough, that his hobbies are what he will do for the rest of his life. He wears all black clothes, in the Indian summer, because the edge can’t be lost. Apart from being the frontman for BSD, he even plays in a death metal band called flint knife murder, and a goth-punk band called Rednoise. Having a single ‘Slumber’s hook’ in their discography already (released in 2019), ‘Humanity Shoemanity’ is an EP that firmly establishes the duo in the growing independent rock/metal scene.