Today I’m reviewing Zwandiwana by Bankrupt souls. Bankrupt Souls are a band from Botswana. As you read this review, be sure to give the song a listen, as well.
The song opens with African folklore instruments with the combination of the konga drum, clapping and local flute, which then paves way for the guitar distortion. An interesting opening, a bit off at first listen, but definitely catches my attention for a repeat. The first verse then hits with clean guitars and more African folklore Instruments. Now, I don’t speak the Ikalanga language so I can’t comment on the lyrics, but it sounded very much like traditional music you’d hear in African movies. The first verse ends with a classic heavy metal vocal sound. The kind of guttural vocal technique that isn’t a growl. In fact it sounds more like a shriek but I digress.
The chorus kicks in with heavy metal style riffs that complement it quite well. In addition, the second verse and chorus kick in the same way the first verse did. At this point, I guess I was finally in sync with the song so it became a seamless and effortless listen. Then at the end of the second chorus, there’s this…. Moment of… “get ready folks.” So I’m listening and I think to myself “what are these guys up to?” and then they turn up the tempo of the riff and after that there’s a section with claps and just one guitar playing, then the guitar solo which is actually nice and catchy. It actually impressed me. Sure it’s not the most technical solo I’ve heard. However, I have to give it to these guys, it was a fun solo to listen to. After the solo, the chorus comes back for one last rodeo, followed by another riff with drop in tempo.
Now I will say, when I first heard this song, I felt the “Balance” was off, maybe it is. However, I see where the band was going with the song, and I respect it. It has this classic heavy metal feel mixed with a lot of folk musical elements. The folk music vibe dropped when the solo kicked in but I think that worked out for the best.
Another thing some people might point out as a flaw is the “extremely simple” bit of song writing. The riffs tend to be a bit on the simple side too, which is true. But, honestly it didn’t stop this song from being put on repeat. (I speak for myself in that regard)
That solo though, took me by surprise. And it made up for the simplistic riff in my opinion. For those who read this review, the solo won’t come as a surprise to you since you’ve read about its presence. I’m sorry for the “spoiler,” but such is a review. For those who had the pleasure of listening to the song before reading this, Yay!!!
Anyway, I like the direction the band is going with their sound. I hope the quality and imagination they put into this only grows. I’m gonna be on the lookout for their upcoming works.