Originally published in the Hindu Sunday Magazine on January 27th.
Workshop – Made Love To the Dragon
The last thing you’d expect from metal bands is comedy, but of course, Spinal Tap and Dethklok have been among the most successful. There’s something surreal about seeing an otherwise regular bunch of metalheads taking on this avatar, complete with costumes, nicknames and personality quirks. That’s exactly what Mumbai’s comedy rock/metal band Workshop are all about; They put on blue jumpsuits, hardhats to sing about the raunchiest, funniest things.
Consisting of members from Mumbai’s local metal circuit, Workshop’s second album Made Love To The Dragon, comes three years after they released their first album. Vocalist Sahil Makhija, who is best known as the frontman for Demonic Resurrection, tries his hand at tickling his mostly-metal audiences’ funny bone with Workshop, while messing about musically. The guitars screech in on the opening title track ‘Made Love To the Dragon’, with a hint of power metal, especially in the deliberately show-off guitar solos.
It would be a crime to tell you about the lyrics, partly because some of it is unprintable, while publishing others would just ruin the punchlines set up by Workshop. There are some pretty heavy breakdowns, courtesy the new recruit Devesh Dayal, who also plays for alternative metal band Goddess Gagged. Apart from that, the compositions are, music-wise, very standard and nothing too special. Perhaps the fans that enjoy straight-up modern metal would be enticed, but the rest of the crowd would only stay for the comedy aspect of it all. Workshop sings about all kinds of woes – suburban living (‘Down To Dahisar’), encountering snakes (‘Naagin Ki Nazar’) and women (in most of their songs on this album, in fact). The only point where things get eclectic for them is on ‘Blues Mention’, a blues-inspired jam with enough self-loathing toilet humour to leave you choking.
Workshop’s bigger risk after putting out this album is actually going out there and playing these songs with complete confidence to audiences. They do pull that off, though, leaving fans confused as to whether to headbang or guffaw. On Made Love To The Dragon, though, when you sit down and listen to it, the laughs get a bit old after a few plays. It’s a good thing this is a side project the band members (thankfully) don’t take too seriously.