By Charles Mackenzie
Unlike most contemporary music artists, Death Grips are not that ‘well known’ and are not ‘crowd pleasers’. Instead they hide behind a large veil of infamy. The Grips achieved underdog status with their critically acclaimed EP EX-MILLITARY, and quickly signed on to release two more albums under Sony’s EPIC records. On the same day, they vandalised the label’s bathroom, spraying graffiti all over the walls. Just ‘Cause.
It doesn’t end there. Months before the Sophomore Album NO LOVE DEEP WEB was even due for release under EPIC, the band leaked the album online for free, and as a result was dropped the label shortly after. In this radical move the band simultaneously dumped their label and shocked fans, releasing the album with a cover of an erect penis with ‘NO LOVE DEEP WEB’ scrawled on it.
So publicity and public opinion aside, how does NO LOVE DEEP WEB actually fare?
Compared to the two albums before it, NLDW is the most sonically stripped &‘clean’ album. Instead there is a much larger emphasis on the lyrics and rightly so, because they are deeper and darker than ever. NLDW no longer relies on that rash drum bashing that that we are used too; instead most of the songs feature 808 drum sounds and synthesisers.
This new approach, results in a less distorted and ‘grimy’ sound that the Death Grips are known for, and it places vocalist MC RIDE on a much larger pedestal. Suddenly RIDES aggressive, deprived and abrasive lyrics are more significant and overwhelming than ever. Melodically, this album will be far easier to digest than the previous two. That is, there is a chance that you might not burst any eardrums listening to any of the songs on half volume. However, RIDE’s lyrics are no longer drowned out by ‘noise with a tempo’, and honestly as a result this might be the hardest Death Grips album to listen to. It features MC RIDE’s most paranoid, aggressive and schizophrenic lyrics yet.
In ‘Hunger Games’ MC RIDE plays with themes of schizophrenia, mood swings and insecurity, the suffering brought on as a result of ‘not taking medication’:
My moods live on that swing same
Push me harder
push me push me
swang into tomorrow
Schizo superscript scan the voice imprint
only I can hear you
Deserted mansion in my head half
The song ‘No love’ is at times hard to stomach, playing with dark themes of addiction, abuse and torture. It’s an ill mannered, quick tempo song that’s about as subversive as a stinking teenager throwing rotten food at your face.
Bullshit matador grab the floor
whip it cracked to all fours
You whimper while I check my phone
An eerie parallel runs here, between the entire lyrics of the song and the bands actual attitude towards their fans. They fans are incredibly submissive towards them, and the band feels they can treat the fans however they like, without paying much notice at all(and enjoying torturing and confusing them all the more).
NO LOVE DEEP WEB, just like it’s two predecessors (and the band itself), does not entail a ‘love it or hate it’ scenario. No matter what album or song you are listening to, every time you put in your headphones and press play, you set yourself up for a vulgar shock.
Album rating: ??/10
There is no true way to ‘rate’ this album. Just like the band itself, neither song no albums are static or proportionate. Their music is a cruel& grotesque glitch carnival ride that has no stable course. Satisfaction and survival are not guaranteed; instead the only certainty is this album will shake you to your core, making you question your sanity and music taste all the same