Oil and water. Oranges and toothpaste. Screaming and factory beats. It isn’t difficult to realize the juxtaposition. Duma‘s self-titled album is a musical ketchup and spaghetti that midwestern Nebraska wouldn’t accept.
Duma, by the duo Lord Spike Heart and Sam Karugu, is a clever consortium of genres. It is clever in its ambition to create a new vibrance. Both members broke from their respective bands to form an amalgamation of industrial flow, hardcore trashpunk, and mesmeric sound functions. Since the rule of unknown unknowns apply, everything has been done until something new negates the premise. Everyone thought Lulu was a good mix too but it’s like getting a tapas tray with beef stroganoff and tofu. The table walked and no one got tipped. It is intriguing on paper: combine the hums and cogs of NIN with guttural screams. Practicality is a hydra of reality. It starts off promising with a rumbling menagerie of industrial grinds in “Angels and Abysses”. It has a Wish You Were Here-era milieu that sets a tone of unpredictability.
The build continues with a radical war zone of chaos in “Corners in Nihil” and the swathe of audio from gunfire and bombs dropped to a Travis Scott-oriented beat and whimpering night terrors offers a terrifying glimpse into Duma’s outlook.
Sadly, all momentum goes bust beginning with “Omni”. “Omni” is when the first guitar track crunches in with fuzzy fury. The screams roar over the song and linger directionless. No song structure, no conduction of drums, no dynamic of vocals, and no tonality that comprises a listenable album.
The rest of the album is exactly that. It’s a square peg in a round hole. The effort is highly admirable but bequeaths no feeling of fulfillment. Imagine if Elton John was singing “Candle in the Wind” and suddenly started screaming. It’s like that. Anyone with Pro Tools and ten hours could make an album like Duma.
There are shining moments which slightly redeem the song. “Uganda With Sam” has tribal summoning and an atmosphere of a dark safari. It actually had a snare with a downbeat. “Pembe 666” is the best track on the album. There is a nefarious incantation recited over frantic percussion. It fits the motif of Duma’s direction effectively.
Hopefully, the follow-up will be more evolved, but Duma is otherwise a bricolage of poor style choice.