The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

REVIEW: Death Grips – ‘Bottomless Pit’ (Third Worlds / Harvest)

death_grips_bottomless_pitby John Tindale

It takes approximately four seconds to be entirely captivated by Bottomless Pit, the fifth record from Sacramento three-piece Death Grips. By combining punk aggression with experimental hip-hop Death Grips have a sound completely unique to them that has seen them gain a cult following featuring the likes of Björk and Robert Pattinson to name but two.

Previously alluded to opening track ‘Giving Bad People Good Ideas’ is an abrupt, in your face salvo offering slick production and drumming to match. The fact that it also features guitar riffs that get buried in your head and a catchy monologue are prime examples as to why Death Grips have been called “the most important band of the 21st Century”. Bottomless Pit is thoroughly unrelenting in its mission to grab and hold your attention throughout its 39 minutes. Single ‘Hot Head’, featuring paradoxical lyrics like “but you know me don’t / Nobody knows my business” before comparing himself to the overseer of life and death with the image of the cobra. While ‘Eh’ begins as the most accessible track on the album, with catchy and frantic layers of electronics M.C. Ride explains the lack of care for anyone or anything to create a one-off sound of faux pop on the album.

The brilliant thing about Bottomless Pit (and the previous four Death Grips records) is its ability to push boundaries that others have tried and failed to do; where Yeezus attempted a certain level of industrial hip-hop in comparison to this record it sounds commercialised and tame. Where Shabazz Palaces reach in the use of a casual electronics, the punk edge isn’t there and vice versa for Ho99o9. ‘80808′  is a brilliant example of Death Grips combining all of the above sounds to make their music, it feels futile comparing them to anything because everything Death Grips do, they do more, and do so while sailing closer to the edge of extremity. The fact that they are able to use their melodies and anger to run free in their music and release consistently good music on a regular basis is a testament to that.

Still, Death Grips are at their best when they go off the wall; ‘Spikes’ has memorable hooks from all corners, memorable lyricism (who could forget the lines: “My jigsaw manipulates you open / My skids rit rubbernecks agent orange”) and the anger of Ride, the tight drum work from Hill and the production from Morin are an example of styles meshing perfectly. Title track ‘Bottomless Pit’ closes the record, following efforts in the vein of ‘80808′ and ‘Eh’ in being the closest thing to a radio noise that Death Grips have ever had, and completely dismisses the idea that the Californians would ever come close to commercial airplay – not that they care. Consisting of three minutes of savage guitar noise and barely decipherable lyrics, the record ends on a brilliant high.

Bottomless Pit is the sound of a band comfortable in what they do; pushing boundaries, making a unique sound that most others can only dream of emulating but, at the same time, having a pop sensibility to provide an access point for the masses. This album may get overshadowed by the publicity of Skepta, James Blake and Radiohead this week, but it is an album which, if you let it, will force its way into your mind and won’t ever leave. (9/10)

Listen to Bottomless Pit here, and tell us what you think below!

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