Death Grips – No Love Deep Web (Epic / Self-released)
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Out Now

For some reason records that are given away for free tend to slip under the radar of most websites reviews section. I guess this is because most reviews editors tend to stick to what gets sent to them via PR’s etc. Not so us. We positively go out looking for albums by artists we want to review & although a fat chunk of what we review does come through PR’s a lot doesn’t. The fact that even a band as amazing as Death Grips fall foul of this prejudice is probably sauce for a feature on it’s own but meanwhile here’s our track by track review of No Love Deep Web complete with streams (at least until Epic come after us) & the original cover art. Apologies for those of you of a sensitive nature.

So, where to start with this one? No Love Deep Web is an album that’s been out for a while now, and I’m pretty sure you’re all aware of the recent goings on between the group and their (now-ex) label Epic. And herein lies the crux of the problem for myself.

I had never heard any of the Death Grips’ previous music but was turned onto them recently by an old uni friend who sent me ‘Come Up And Get Me’ to listen to as I travelled back to Wales from London. To say I was shocked on that first listen is an understatement. Such brutality and ferocious lyricism was a breath of fresh air, so I decided to check out the rest of their catalogue. THEN the shenanigans began with Epic and, I’m afraid to say, the whole thing started to smell like hype and this made me delay listening to the album.

THEN I read a live review by a certain Guy Manchester on a certain, and I must add, excellent website (clue: you’re on it!)

The review was written with such passion and excitement that I thought to myself that I REEEEAAALLLY should check this band, and in particular, this album.

So, in answer to my initial question of where to start, I’ve decided to start at the beginning and write this as I listen with fresh ears. Brace yourself, I’m going in….

In we go then and the first thing we hear is the aforementioned ‘Come Up And Get Me’. Such a powerful opener to an album has not been heard for a very very long time. The last time I was this thrown back into my seat on a first listen of a hip-hop album was probably N.W.A’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ or Wu Tang Clang’s ‘Bring Da Ruckus’. Like those seminal tracks, CUANGM instantly sets out the artists’ intentions and ethos. There are no punches being pulled here, no worrying about what the average listener will feel like. Brass-monkey confidence is on display here and you either get on board or get out of the way. Damn, I need a drink.

‘Lil Boy’ starts in much the same way but at 30 seconds in something else all together happens. A lovely electronic 4/4 beat drops in and it’s as if we’re listening to the latest Four Tet release…for a few seconds at least. With lyrics about children crying and fear over pride, the subject matter is obviously of a dark nature with references to war. A beautiful yet sinister track.

‘No Love’ flows on a beat that could easily make dubstep fans salivate and metal heads throw their devil horns up in the air. Pure industrial sludge with more unexpected twist and turns which, I’m fast learning, is how this group operate.

‘Black Dice’ opens with a lovely D&B type synth sound and the whole track has that feel to it. Maybe Metalheadz (being at the forefront of the genre for many years now) would be more of a better fit for this group to be signed to? Anyone have Goldies’ number????

‘World of Dogs’is Gabba perfection which leaves me looking for my beard as I’m sure it’s been blown of my face….

‘Lock Your Doors’ is probably the most perfect example of where this band is currently at and what their ethos is. Dark, doomy bass, and heavier than Marilyn Manson being teabagged by Sun O ))). Opening with the lyric “I’ve got some s**t to say, just for the f**k of it”, this is about as precise a lyric about a bands outlook and attitude as “I am an antichrist”.

‘Whammy’ and ‘Hunger Games’ slip back to Metalheadz territory and are sub-base heavy.

Just I was starting to think Death Grips had revealed all of their cards, Deep Web drops! Heavy and articulate, this track is an extreme highlight.

‘Stockton’ skips by and again I’m wondering if this band have revealed everything (like the album cover I suppose), but I should never have doubted and this thought should never cross your mind when listening to Death Grips.

‘Pop’ is as industrial/ liquid D&B mash-up of dark beauty. Reminiscent in sections to the seminal D&B classic ‘Valley Of The Shadows’  by Unknown Origin, this is for electronic fans old and new and stands out as a highlight on an album of many.

‘Bass Rattles Out Of The Sky’ slips back into similar territory to the first half of the album but with ‘Artificial Death In The West’ we finish with a ‘German electronic sound’ (I won’t use the “K” word) which reminds us of Neu! , Beak etc.

This is a dense, violent, witty, and heavy record. It’s a very physically demanding listen but there are layers of beauty in the dark. It is not like hearing the Pistols for the first time, it’s like hearing TG for the first time. Death Grips are obviously making music that they want to make and really do not care if you listen or not. No Love Deep Web rewards many listens due to the many layers and to truly grasp the lyrics.

Epic may have lost them, and if Death Grips do decide to sign for another label, they should certainly look at a label like Metalheadz or Brainfeeder whom I believe would be a perfect fit.

Right then, I’m off to find my beard and have a lie down…

Death Grips website, (where you can see a huge picture of the cover art & count the hairs should you wish) is here. Death Grips are on Facebook. Death Grips aren’t on Twitter themselves any more but band member Zach Hill is. Also P4k today ran this splendid interview with the band.

All words by Simon Tucker. More work by Simon on Louder Than War can be read here.

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