Review Summary: The shape of punk to come. If they feel like it.
There are few more annoying feelings than having a grudging respect for an artist that doesn’t give a monkey’s about its audience. For example, when Axl Rose pops his latest diva strop amid a sea of expectation, it serves only to drive further nails into the coffin of the G’n’R reputation as there isn’t enough recent output to warrant it. Death Grips bounce carelessly on a similar tightrope, nonchalant as to whether or not they keep their balance. This attitude (and the ongoing cancelled shows, non-break-ups etc) has been frustrating for fans - who conversely ensure an almost perpetual wave of hype - and a justification for everyone else’s distaste.
who you think you are ***s like do you know who I am ***s fail to understand I'm like… ‘eh’
As with most Death Grips releases, where this record excels is in it’s ability to genuinely scare and unsettle. MC Ride almost works as the comic relief to Zach Hill’s schizophrenic slams and Flatlander’s wavy, messy, but surprisingly clean production. Ride’s lyrics are as paranoid and abstract as ever (who else could get away with the lyric 'I'll fuck you in half'"), but at this stage his delivery is what defines the sound. Not every bar here is violently scraped across his vocal cords - the moments of restraint are similarly important and altogether there is a tangible synergy between vocal and the truly insane range of instrumentation. There are actual hooks on offer here, and while this does not detract from the chaos, it makes it a lot more palatable and the album as a whole is their most structured since The Money Store.
falling out in tune out my grooves uhh warping all I do is lose my form I'm warping
Aggression is still very much a defining theme on this record, and both the opening and closing tracks (‘Giving Bad People Good Ideas’ and ‘Bottomless Pit’) are undeniably dirty punk rock tracks layered in distorted synths and confidently threatening vocals, and ‘Hot Head’ is the most unhinged cut on display here, throwing every noisy idea and motif at the wall and scraping the resulting splatter together. Releasing this track as the first single was undeniably Death Grips - it is one of the most bats*** insane tracks in their entire discography, let alone in comparison to the rest of this record…
blo blo blo blo oh no hot head clip a hundred doves like a bald head rasta raw no ***ing filter crooked needle hot head self inflicted
This is because, for the most part, Bottomless Pit
keeps the madness in check, and serves up dirty, abrasive, but unmistakably pop-like ideas. ‘Eh’ is probably the closest Grips have ever come to a radio single, and while it is still a million miles away from gracing the airwaves, the calm delivery and techno-esque instrumentation is alarmingly…normal. Whether it’s the synth hooks, the predominantly 4/4 time signatures, or the majority of these tracks actually having recognisable choruses, it’s clear that the Death Grips of 2016 may actually have an interest in expanding their fan base. And for a record to be this left-field, chaotic, but still so accessible, there is a chance that Bottomless Pit
does just that. Maybe world domination isn’t quite out of their reach just yet, assuming they’re still around in the coming days…