Duma – Duma Review

Nyege Nyege Tapes already widely testified the prosperity and the high innovative potential of East African club scene. Since 2016, the collective based in Kampala, Uganda, has been able to reach a growing popularity and to attract great interest, quenching our thirst for new worlds and possibilities with wild rhythms and combinations, such as kuduro, balani or coupé-décalé, constanly hybridizing techno and grime.
But things can actually blow out when the raw material is grindcore metal, with all its package of suggestions and rough communicative potential, trasplanted in the spiritual and ritualist Africa, while a full local “post-club” scene is alive.

When “Lionsblood video came out in the middle of the summer, in a trap fashion, with red blood instead of purple drank, and lyrics about killing a lion to become a man and washing yourself in its own blood, the hype around Duma and their self-titled, debut album was really intense. Also, the artwork is one of the best of the year so far, mixing the liveliness of colors proper of the region with an explicit message: a person is buying meat at the butcher shop, all dressed in red and gold, perfectly camouflaged between the pieces of raw meat around.

Duma are producer Sam Karagu and singer Martin Khanja aka Lord Spike Heart, based in Nairobi, both emerged playing in the speedcore metal band Lust of a Dying Breed. As the artwork clearly claims, all they want to do is “to bring guts on the table”.

Dark ambient, congas and noises open the album in “Angel and Abisses”, while echoes of dried-up grindcore drums rise, clunching up the space through speed changes, until it takes you by the throat. It’s a prologue: all the elements that give life to the concept, mixed together as a preview of this aseptic hell, both perfectly inserted in the imagery of the virtual world and so deeply connected to human emotions.

The following tracks like “Corners in Nihil”, “Omni” and “Uganda with Sam” sound like the witches haunting the house of Crystal Castles and Co. finally accomplished their ritual, or, at least, this is the effect of the synth line instead of fast guitar riffs, which are absent or reduced to hyper effected noise or large drone. The evolution of doom got ahead by Sunn O))) finally comes to a new sick vitality, blending alien rhythmic sounds of synth, industrial noises and traditional drumming, creating a deep but dried up space where the screaming of Lord Spike Heart sounds even more violent and hardcore, ranting about being trapped in a loop, within the confined limits of the capitalist way of life, education, and religion in “Corners in Nihil”, or, also, meditating about the importance of living the present in “Omni”. Here becomes evident that the duo also flirt with the most punk-aimed artists of the trap scene, such as XXXTentation or City Morgue.
So it goes, techno kick in the aforementioned first single, “Lionsblood”, alternates with scary and obsessive congas in the evocative peak of the album.

The second half of this first outcome is almost minimalist and ambient, giving to the album that soundtrack flow proper of the great concept albums, but, once again, all the influences of Duma come out like everything is in its right place. From Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails in “Kill Yourself Before They Kill You”, to Gabber Modus Operandi in “Sin Nature”, last, extreme flicker of hardcore power before the final, widely atmospheric track “The Echoes of Beyond”.

Varied background of punk and metal evolutions of the late 90s, alongside with the instances of the present, to create the rebellious, vital and wishful music for the future, such as the person on the artwork who’s going to eat meat is like about to eat itself. Everything is deeply connected in our collective subconscious, or, as they say, the Akashic records, compendium of all human events, thoughts, words, emotions, and intent ever to have occurred in the past, present, or future.

Duma are definitely defining a brand new effective language, coming out with one of the best album of the year so far. Even the purists of metal who disrespect the use of PC software to create music should come to terms with such a great work of concept, which certainly gives new blood to the extreme metal movement.

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