Death Grips - No Love Deep Web

by Daryl Worthington Rating:8 Release Date:2012-10-22

No Love Deep Web is the second album from Death Grips, the trio of Stefan Burnett, Zach Hill and Andy Morin, and it's caused controversy even before its release. Death Grips' label, Epic, decided to delay its release until sometime next year but, eager to release their new material as soon as possible, Death Grips made the album available for free download on the October 1. Inevitably this proved an unpopular move with Epic. The circumstances of its release are very apt, for 'No Love…' is an album that is harsh, confrontational and aggressive, both lyrically and musically.

This is an album which snarls its way out of the speakers. The songs are stories of urban paranoia and disorientation, vicious confrontations with their environment. Album opener 'Come Up and Get Me' begins with stuttering synth and electronic drums. The lyrics deal with urban isolation and fear: "I'm in an abandoned building, no light, come get me".

Musically, No Love Deep Web has a very minimal and synthetic feeling to it. The songs are often built on very few parts, often just a drum track, synths, samples and vocals. 'Whammy' has a glitchy looped sample of a female vocalist, on top of Zach Hill's frantic drumming and occasional blasts of discordant, trebly keys. This minimalism and harshness creates a strong sense of context in the music, this is an album from a bleak urban environment. The fact that prior to Death Grips, Hill was known primarily as a drummer in noise and avant garde ensembles (in particular the always incredible Hella) is apparent in his current outfit, and provides a distinction from other hip hop - capturing the harsh chaos of the world they describe.

Death Grips music seems to be another progression along the path trod by acts such as Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan, and Dalek. This is hip hop with a strong social and political comment behind it, communicated through their own unique soundworld. Not as explicitly politically driven as Public Enemy or Dalek, it seems pretentious to say it, but there is almost something Kafkaesque to Death Grips commentary. 'World of Dogs' has the line "Ruthless and free, its all suicide to me.", while 'Lock Your Doors' is built around a chorus of "I've got some shit to say, just for the fuck of it."

Death Grips seem to be reacting against something that is vague and hard to define, an absurdity ingrained in the make-up of the world, but relevant none the less. It's not always easy to detect the narrative of the songs, but the feeling they're meant to create is clear. Abrupt changes in rhythm throughout add to the sense of unease. The whole album has a ferocious energy and sense of movement, but it never allows the listener to settle into a comfortable groove.

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