-Death Grips release another exhilarating, blood pumping record.
“Bottomless Pit” is perhaps the most fitting title for a Death Grips album yet. Their music symbolizes everything “wrong” in the world: violence, arrogance, paranoia, suicide, death, drug use, and unbridled anger; it’s an endless pit of filth. But, danger only goes so far. The real reason I keep coming back to their music again and again is because they take those themes, their harsh and in your face sound, and the esoteric lyrics and turn them into something incredibly fun. Albums like “Exmillitary,” “The Money Store,” and last year’s “Jenny Death” are visceral, exhilarating roller coaster rides that are as catchy and quotable as most pop rap albums. “Bottomless Pit” is no different.
It actually begins with two of their most intense tracks, “Giving Bad People Good Ideas” and “Hot Head.” The former provides you the solace of a lone female vocal melody for about 15 seconds to start, and then pulverizes you with blown out guitars and blast beats that run at a breakneck pace. It’s not unlike black metal, actually. MC Ride of course isn’t shrieking like a ghost in the background, but he shouts with the same kind of intensity you would expect from him. Either way, it’s a fucking wild track, and it only gets wilder on the next track. “Hot Head,” previously released as a single, has been given a bit of a makeover. There’s a short synth intro that wasn’t there before, as well as a bassline and more background sounds that weren’t there on the verses. It results in a way more overwhelming song, and just these few additions make the verses way better, as I previously saw them kind of empty as compared to the main theme, which is maybe my favorite musical passage of 2016. It’s pure chaos: wild drum fills from Zach Hill, unintelligible shouting from Ride, and these minor, omnipresent chords that seem to go where they please. The music isn’t tied down to anything, expect for when the band all crashes down on this fast blast beat as Ride screams “BLOWBLOWBLOWBLOWBLOW.” It sounds like complete and utter bullshit in writing, but trust me when I say that this section/intro is some of most blood pumping music you’ll hear.
Things are slightly more grounded elsewhere. While those songs’ instrumentals were rooted in hardcore punk and metal even, most of the following tracks combine their electronic past with their live approach now, with more synthetic drums either mixed in with live drums or just taking over the song entirely, and grainy, sci-fi synths popping up in spots. Some of these beats actually are reminiscent of “No Love Deep Web,” the band’s challenging 2012 effort, in how futuristic some of the synth sounds are, like on “80808.” However, ever since last year’s “Jenny Death,” it appears that the band have totally entered guitars and a more live approach into the fray. Towards the end, tracks like “Ring a Bell” and the closing title track could’ve landed on their last effort, with the overwhelming walls of loud guitars and crisp drums. “Ring a Bell” actually features a guitar melody in the hook that’s simply addictive, and combined with the perfect rhythm that Ride uses, it’s one of the catchiest things I’ve heard all year. Overall, the beats will not disappoint if you’re used to Death Grips’s style at this point. They’re a really clever combination of their past styles, with the blown out visceral live instrumentation of “Jenny Death” mixed in with the futurism of “No Love Deep Web” and even “Government Plates.”
But the songs true power come from the songwriting and lyricism, as well as the typically incredible performance from MC Ride. He’s such an electrifying presence. Unrelentingly intense, even when he’s not shouting, and his lyrics alone are intimidating enough. They’re like the diary of an absolute madman; a man barking on a street corner; a man expressing his dominance over everybody psychically, sexually, and mentally. What’s best though, is that Death Grips take these lyrics, which are really esoteric and “out there,” and mold them into absolutely killer hooks, going back to the idea that Death Grips takes inaccessible sounds and themes and make them accessible if you can get into it. Just look at some of the lyrics for some of these hooks, and you’ll see what a feat it is that they made them catchy:
“SPIKES SPIKES SPIKES SPIKES.”
“Who you think you are / fucks like do you know who I am / fucks fail to understand I’m like eh.”
“Three four fuck you baby / disjointed Houdini baby.”
“I’m all up in my glory hole s o no no no no / nylons on side bitches don’t your table through my my body through your / three bedrooms in a good neighborhood / on fire like a margarita made out of wood / she got solar panels for thirty cents a watt / there’s a future there’s a party from the past / she’s a cop.”
“She’s so she’s so beat thirsty thought I heard a mosquito / she know we know but her vox so desert and our beats so dro.”
“I fucked you in half / I see you fiending marvelous / gagballs drooling pools ‘cause / I see you fiending marvelous / gag ‘til I’m all drenched / gagballs drooling pools ‘cause.”
“Bottomless Pit” is another album of Death Grips magic. The lyrics are unrelentingly strange, vulgar, violent, and sexual, the music is loud, distorted, and warped, and the performances are incredibly intense. But, these are just killer tunes. I always say that the best artists mix the inaccessible and the accessible. Death Grips are one of those artists. Translation: Death Grips are one of the best artists,
Standout Tracks: “Giving Bad People Good Ideas” “Hot Head” “Spikes” “Houdini” “Three Bedrooms in a Good Neighborhood” “Ring a Bell” “Bottomless Pit”