An evening with Dj Edygrim and Irony Destroyed

Today is Friday and the week is ending. The last one had a strangenesss to it. Things seemed to have a pale color to them and I didnt know how to feel about life in general. Cold weather prevailed throughout but even when the sun conspired to break this monotony there was simply not enough motivatiob to have a positive outlook.

How does one step outside such crippling apathy? I had half the mind to wrap a few belongings in a large headscard and tie that bundle to the end of that stick that I found in my grandmother’s backyard. I remember being very proud of that stick. I would go away for good and get a new name. Under the cover of dark grey clouds I would make my living cutting sugar cane. If I don’t from snake bite, pneumonia will steal upon me one night as I sleep in my mud thatched hut and I will die with no more belongings than a radio and my macheté!

Yes, dissapearing is an enticing notion but I doubt it will ever offer complete satisfaction to the emptiness of urban life. That solution must be found amidst its streets where an underground culture is always bubbling. At the tail end of Moi Avenue, Club Seven’s Lounge is hosting Dj Edygrim’s weekly show which also doubles up as metalcore band Irony Destroyed’s meet and greet session.

The streets are noiseless and clean. You can almost feel the world as it spins. 

I arrive, surprised to find the band alreadt set up at their merchandise table just at the mouth of the entrance, straddling the Dj’s booth to the front. Skylar is seated at one end of the table. At times I look at her and wonder if she ages at all. She wears the same balanced smile and her eyes are always clear. Seated next to her is Lenny Kiano the band’s guitarist whose green celtic tattoo peeks boldly from under the sleeve of his cradle of filth tshirt, a clothing item I secretly covet. I also see Dennis and Lawrence. The customary nod and knowling glances are made and capped off with energetic handshakes. Carrington Kabatha, joins them later, walking in with Martin Kanja. 

All this time Slammy is filming and taking photos. Sometimes I wonder what goes on in his head as he clicks away. He must be worried about things like shutter speed or the balance of light in the room. How long will it take to edit those photos. Powerslide and skating must be on his mind a lot too. 

Seeing as Im early I may have to order a drink as I wait for more company but at least there is football on the display to avert my gaze. Slowly more people stream in. Willy Ojiro of powerslide, Antonio with his hair tied up in a pony tail. Mordecai Ogayo also walks ib wearing a Pink Floyd tshirt and his signature brown leather shoes. Later we are seated around the same table with Mahia Mutua of Last Year’s Tragedy and Eric the Juventus fan. The company fluctuates from between 3-6 members at any one time. Mahia offers fire to the conversation, recalling a pool match between LYT and ParkingLotGrass where it ended as with the latter winning. I am tempted to revisit the topic of Murfy’s fLaw being able to outdrink any band in a contest. 

On the decks, Dj Edygrim starts out with a steady mix that doesn’t overstate the current mood. Later on in the night, when bodies are lolling away in the moshpit, it is intense, conducting heads back and forth and every which way. Those with dreadlocks and braids are perhaps my greatest envy. They make their moshing graceful. They are flock of black swans beggining to advance from the surface of the water, wings outstretched. And just like these wildly swinging hair, they make rhythmic flapping sounds. To windmill must be every metalheads dream.

This is tonight’s scene. Sprawled across the merch table are copies of the album ” Strife to Legacy”, stickers of various sizes, booklets with lyrics placed over backgrounds that bear pristine shots of the band. There is something for everyone. ‘Lazima Udie’ is playing and a moshpit battle between Lawrence Muchemi and Yvonne Ndubi is at its peak.


Kobimbo Daniel Otieno

Connect on Twitter: @kob46 @beastheavy


Irony Destroyed – Strife to Legacy (Album Review)

​”A Path Of The Few… A Path Of The Gods”

I have always held that one particular quality which makes the Kenyan rock and metal scene special compared to other regions all over the world is how inextricably connected the music is to the culture in general. You can almost always tell the state of the scene at any given time from the kind of material bands are putting out. To claim that we have finally come of age would hardly be an overstatement. 

A fortnight ago, local metalcore overlords Irony Destroyed  dropped their highly anticipated debut album titled ‘Strife To Legacy’ to the delight of fans, having initially released their first single ‘Oreon’ a few weeks earlier.  The album is a six-track piece of work that is without a doubt  the most audacious of anything I’ve heard before in any album by a Kenyan band. It is iconoclastic in both composition and presentation, profoundly confessional in its tone and unrelenting in its message. A very personal album indeed.

The album opens with the 1.45 minute intro ‘Strife’ which begins with a gloomy atmosphere punctuated by winds and thunder before guitarist Lenny Kiano and vocalist Lawrence Muchemi break the transient grey with high-octane guitar riffs and quite possibly the most impressive harsh vocals I’ve ever encountered on a metalcore record. ‘Strife’ ,in spite of its brevity is one of the best tracks on the album. It crystallizes the experiences of the band leading up to this release and the clusterfuck of challenges they have had to endure on their journey to realize this dream. It certainly cozies up the listener for the mindfuck  that is to follow up shortly. 

Second track on the album is ‘Oreon’ which most metalheads would have heard prior to the release of this album. ‘Oreon’ was released as Irony’s first single and the band has played it at shows in the past, most notably at ‘Nairobi Rock Showcase’ in December last year. This track for me sums up pretty succinctly what Irony Destroyed are as a band: an experimental metalcore  act (and I have strong reservations about describing them as metalcore, but more on that later) that is not afraid to step out of their comfort zone. Carrington Kabatha’s masterful drumming on this track makes it one of my favorite. It seems some glitches occurred during the recording of this track but it’s easy to overlook them in the face of such overriding talent.

Like I said before, it’s difficult for me to conceive of Irony Destroyed as a plain-old metalcore band. Nowhere else does this become more apparent than on the next track – ‘Fight Back’ . Lawrence  incorporates his black-metal influenced vocals on this track to great effect. One minute into the song a whistle can be heard before Lenny’s guitar breaks into a rhythmic death metal-tinged riff and Lawrence channels all his rage in a macabre yet infectious cry :

“Stand up for yourself

   What do you have to lose?”

Very hard to restrain the ‘shower-growler’ in you when that part comes on.. lol
‘Fight Back’ introduces the second part of this album which is musically more aggressive and complex than the tracks that come before. 

 The track that follows – ‘Lazima Udie’ is arguably the summit of this epic album. Being the only song on the album that is written entirely in ‘sheng’ one would expect it to fall short but who would’ve thought ‘sheng’ and metal mix so admirably? This track is pure unadulterated rage. You won’t find any sentimental nonsense here. It plays like a theatre performance. In between blast beats and searing guitar riffs you hear cricket sounds , spine-tingling screams and gunshot sounds. Irony’s siren Lorena ‘Skylar’ Mbogo  makes her first appearance on this track, punctuating Lawrence’s death growls with her angelic crooning. Little wonder why this song is a fan favorite.

Irony Destroyed with Skylar in the foreground.

After ‘Lazima Udie’ comes ‘The Dreamer’, which is the longest song on the album clocking at 4.44 minutes. It’s comes as a breath of fresh air after all the rage and violence your ears will have suffered from the two previous songs. It’s cathartic melodies will purge you of all prior emotion induced by ‘Lazima Udie’ (no, please don’t sacrifice yer cat to Satan mate). This song is an anthem for dreamers everywhere. It reiterates the underlying theme of the album: that only we can design our realities and that whatever dreams we may harbor are never too  far-fetched. Skylar’s fragile vocals appear once again on this track twining and complementing  Lawrence’s in a style that is reminiscent of bands like ‘Tristania’ and ‘Trees of Eternity’

The album concludes with ‘Dissolving The Bully’, a 4.03 minute track which is most confessional of all the songs on this record. On this track, Irony once again manage to step out of their niche to showcase the tech-death influence on their sound with riffs that sound similar to the chugging of a train. Halfway through the song, a guitar solo can be heard which although not very complex in construction accentuates the mood of the music surprisingly well.

This album is generally very poignant and introspective with a timely message that most everyone deserves to hear. The only downside to this album is the fluctuation of sound levels on some tracks, a problem that I hypothesize came about during recording. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful offering especially for a band making its first foray into the world of metal and one that is unapologetically DIY.

I honestly have to confess I haven’t listened to a debut record this impressive from a local metal act since Mortal Soul released their ‘Ashes In The Wind’ EP back in 2013. I cant wait for Irony’s sophomore album. It is surely an exciting thought. Meanwhile I’ll be blasting me some ‘Strife’. 
Rating: 7/10


Mordecai Ogayo

Mordecai Ogayo is a multi-instrumentalist that operates from Nairobi, Kenya. He plays bass and violin for “The Seeds of Datura”. He is also associated with Imber Luminis. 

Locations and the Memory of Music

Locations have a strange habit. They excite the memory. Fond sensations stowed away, locked in the forgotten corridors of infant years, suddenly emerge with an astounding clarity. While I attending This Is Africa Fest II, I suffered an injury to my left foot. Swollen as it was, I couldn’t bear even the blood that pumped in it. It was excruciating. A fortnight later, along Aga Khan Walk, I miscalculate a step on a slightly heaving panel of cobblestone and that left foot is unnaturally bent for a swift second. The pain that follows surges like lightning across daunting cloud covered sky. The thundering pain obscures all reason, all sight and even sensation.  Continue reading “Locations and the Memory of Music”