#soundcheck – crystal axis, teenage punk rockers from kenya, release “devil sold his soul”

August 31, 2012

The DIY scene in Nairobi is quickly becoming one of the most vibrant on the continent. A group of young bands, few older than 25, supporting each other making independent, badass, and just plain LOUD music. We’ve written about the scene before and I’m always blown away by the bands that come out of it. The latest out of Kenya is a young punk band called Crystal Axis featuring AP member Djae Aroni. The first track of their forthcoming EP is called “Devil Sold His Soul.”

While their sound maybe owes more to 90’s alt rock than punk (with more than a little My Chemical Romance… cue impassioned argument about whether MyChem counts as punk or not…), their commitment to DIY ethos is as punk as it gets. (You don’t have to work hard to win my heart when your band interests are listed as “Saying no to authority, music, poetry, art etc”) The song builds from a soft guitar to a howl beneath bassist Ahmed Bulhan’s scratchy urgent vocals. The band sounds tight but just ragged enough to be interesting; dueling guitarists Djae Aroni and Neel Vaghela sparring over Abuga “Rooni” Aroni’s dynamic drumming. Crystal Axis clearly has a lot of talent and passion, and are already working on their debut full length. In the meantime, their EP State of Uneasewill be dropping soon.

– Words by Nathan Leigh

And if you haven’t seen it, make sure you check out the powerful documentary about Crystal Axis here.