Death Grips – Bottomless Pit Review

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Death Grips are perhaps the strangest, most eccentric band I’ve ever heard. From their strange relationship with their fans exemplified through their twitter feed to their unique blend of music broadly encapsulated by the image of dancefloors turning into mosh pits (or to genrelise, a crazy kind of “cyber punk-hop”). The experimental duo (Zach Hill and MC Ride) have released impressive and different albums time and time again. Their last effort, The Powers That B, (a two-part album made up by Niggas on the Moon and Jenny Death) was incredible. In the first half, the band used vocal samples from Bjork to add to their electronic glitchy sound which worked particularly well on tracks like Billy Not Really. The second half embodied the punkier elements of the act. As is best shown from arguably the best single of the year, Inanimate Sensation, they blended booming drums with heavily distorted guitars as well as the roaring synths that have appeared on numerous of the duo’s albums.
These appear again on their latest album, Bottomless Pit, which is in many ways an attempt to perfect their 2012 LP, The Money Store rather than the push for new ideas which The Powers That B symbolises. That said, Death Grips are far from simply regurgitating the same music from three years ago.
“Giving Bad People Good Ideas” kicks the album off with a shot of adrenaline by crashing heavy synths and drums over one another with relentless tempo. The track’s simple chorus make it as a whole both head banging and catchy. It’s next track and the LP’s single, “Hot Head” is just as if not more chaotic. There is clearly a bit of everything that the band have done so well, the chaos of I Break Mirrors with My Face In The United States, the tuning up of synths from Inanimate Sensation as well as the electronic elegance from earlier songs like Get Got. Yet, there is so much going on (especially in the first part of the track) that it is often hard to tell what is what in all the chaos. As awesome as the track is, it also feels too much like these tracks, an accumulation of what they have already done rather than anything vaguely new.
“Spikes” benefits from taking a small break from this breakneck speed. With a chorus that channels Daft Punk level electronics (particularly their work on Tron Legacy) into punk energy as well as it’s generally insane level of production make Spikes an incredible track. “Eh” is arguably just as good. Although the track is notable for its strong production, it’s the lyrical prowess which errs strongest. Hill’s vocals sound perfectly dejected with pretty much everything; he even sings about his dejection from the whole Death Grips project. Hill further emphasises his apathy by saying ‘I’m way too loose like, Catch me hanging from my noose like, eh’.
The LP has yet another amazing chorus on the track “Trash” where they explain how everything, even Death Grips itself, is essentially trash. The hypnotic lyrics (“We know trash, we know clean don’t last/ never last when we load trash/ face down, trash begets trash”) are accompanied by textured, synthetic and electric trumpets. This self-referential theme appears again on “BB Poison” where the band ridicules it’s fanatic social media following in a way that seems bizarre to those not part of it. The BDSM themed relationship (seen on the cover of 2012’s Money Store) makes for interesting listening as they mock the way they are almost worshipped by their supporters.
The LP as a whole is perhaps less instantly likeable than Jenny Death was but the overall quality of the production as well as the bands lyrical prowess make Bottomless Pit a great album. Despite the fact that Bottomless Pit is more of an attempt to perfect an earlier and rougher sound, Death Grips continue to craft jaw dropping album after jaw dropping album.

Death Grips – Bottomless Pit = 8.5/10

 

Callum Christie

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