The cop-out way to describe Duma is simply ‘grindcore’, but that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface (and some purists may even recoil at the very suggestion this is even grindcore-adjacent).
Formed in Uganda five years ago by producer Sam Karugu and vocalist Martin Khanja, Duma’s sound was influenced by the fact their local studio was better suited to electronic music. With this, they went on to integrate grindcore, industrial, and noise as part of their constantly evolving sound. Where Duma shines most, however, is when they take inspiration from the music around them, both contemporary and traditional, as their African background obviously makes them quite unique in these genres.
Their debut album is seemingly at odds with itself – being an erratic, explosive, perplexing series of tracks, each with its own unique structure and combinations of influences, while also being a cohesive album that flows consistently from the first track to the last. The attention this album has received, both positive and negative, only shows Duma are onto something. People are paying attention, and that usually comes with the territory when you are breaking the rules.
Tribal trap beats meld with gutturals, shrieks, drones, and blast beats. Duma is a melting pot of violent noise, and undeniably confronting. This is not an accessible band but, if you are prepared to subject yourself, the result is as rewarding as it is confounding.
This is what innovation sounds like, and it’s fucking thrilling.