Boomkat Product Review:
Kampala's Nihiloxica challenge the UK's draconian immigration system on 'Source of Denial', using twitchy Bugandan rhythms to lead a suite of sludgy, technoid mutations that are more Lightning Bolt than Luke Slater.
“We wanted to create the sense of being in the endless, bureaucratic hell-hole of attempting to travel to a foreign country that deems itself superior to where you’re from," Nihiloxica say in the accompanying press release. The band had their UK tour canceled in 2022, and recently performed a pared-down show as only three of the five members were able to enter the country. It's given them plenty of indignation to chew on that provides 'Source of Denial' with its barbed edges. And they've never sounded more charged; the band's self-titled debut neatly introduced their fusion of Bugandan percussion, kit drums and synths, but this record advances the sound significantly.
'Asidi' is an immediate highlight, tumbling from fictile traditional drums and wonky, expressionistic electronics into full-on, sweaty 'ardkore with the huge stabs and breathless breakdowns to prove it. The title track is even twitchier, a bizarre prog-metal mashup that uses distorted synths and heavily amped kit drums to recast the Bugandan ngoma percussion as frothy rolls that keep the momentum going as the rest of the band slog it out at half tempo. Thankfully it's not all balls-to-the-wall biz either; 'Postloya' is a relatively meditative cut, breathing between its percussive flurries and spicing up the gaps with glassy FM chimes, and 'Trip Chug' goes even further into the abyss, obscuring the band's rhythms with filters and turning pulsing drums into humid, anxious drones until they burst out mid-way through.
But Nihiloxica impress most when they're on familiar ground. The schizophrenic Bugandan techno flair of 'Baganga' gives us the kind of idiosyncratic energy that's made the band's live shows so notorious, and on 'Olutobazzi' they manipulate and skew the kind of hypnotic, trippers' tech that Donato Dozzy has spent a lifetime perfecting. Very strong.