Interview
Image courtesy of Sub Pop/Nyege Nyege.

Meet Kenyan Metal Band D​uma​

The duo of Martin Kanja and Sam Karugu have made a name for themselves by adding electronic elements to the grindcore metal sound. They've now released a single on famed American label Sub Pop.

Duma make an uncompromising noise more likely to emanate from the British Midlands, where the rain mists over ugly industrial towns, than from the East coast of Africa. It's an angry and frustrated purge from a band that recently teamed up with Seattle's famous Sub Pop record label, home to Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Sonic Youth. To put it lightly, the local tourist board will not be soundtracking their adverts to Duma's last single "Cannis" — it's more 'Welcome to the Abyss' than 'Welcome to Kenya.'

Duma is the theatre of the ominous, channelling Ornette Coleman, Napalm Death, and their own inner demons. An expression of no restraints, they conjure up bad spells and bad luck, for all your setbacks, but it's the screams, the long tortured primal howls from unsettling depths that cause the most distress. As they reach your ears, it's hard to tell if they carry you out of the dark or if you are being sucked in. It's entrails unfolding into ecstatic hell. Foreboding tension, wildly unleashed as African rhythms are kidnapped and then tortured by a drum machine at speed. This is grindcore, Kenyan style. Extreme metal and hardcore punk, which has been the sound of disillusioned youth with nothing but contempt since the '80s, now gone electronic. Beyond the pantomime, a disturbing fight back in bloodied glee.

If you like machine-gun beats and the sound of animals being tortured, Duma will leave you feeling hit and left reeling. The music begs you to embody it through violent movement, for you to release all that should no longer be suppressed. It dares you to take it on.

On one hot night I got through to one half of the band, Martin Kanja, as Sam Karugu fired in his voice notes.

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