Death Grips – Jenny Death

(Third World / Harvest, 2015)

During their (about) five year long career, the Californian experimental Hip Hop group Death Grips has been a constant cause of controversy among labels and fans alike, with cancelled tours, albums offered free for download and break-ups paving their way to genuine obscurity and cult-like status, keeping the audience and press on their toes.

With four amazing albums released before the first part (“Niggas On The Moon”) of their latest double-album “The Powers That B” came out in 2014, people have been anxiously waiting for this the second part, “Jenny Death”. Between the releases of the two parts of the double album, an instrumental album “Fashion Week” was given to the fans to satisfy their hunger. The band also announced their disbandment in 2014, leaving the music-world cautiously waiting to see the future development of the group unfold. It is possible “Jenny Death” will be their last album, but then again, who knows.

Once again, the album is filled with the groups trademarks of violent low-fi synth-sounds, complex beats and intense vocals, attacking harshly into our consciousness, like the Electronic Punk of the first song “I Break Mirrors In The United States”, breaking reflecting surfaces and shields of expectations like some violent but pleasant drug.

The second song “Inanimate Sensation” has been released earlier, showing magnificently the groups talent of creating powerful arrangements besides their hard-hitting musical approach. The whole song vibrates like a psychedelic amusement park with cathartic agendas.

The third song “Turned Off” features electric guitars, organic-sounding drumming and drony noisy synths which really sound like played (and not programmed), while delivering the same intense stuff we are used to hearing from these original individuals.

The fourth song “Why A Bitch Gotta Lie” continues quite along the same lines with the previous song sound-wise, with more straightforward and simple grooves, and for example awesome vocals through a vocoder (?).

The fifth song “Pss Pss” is a weird and (naturally) intense one, mostly minimalistic in nature, with vocal-performances reminding of a mental breakdown, reminding us how little the band has actually ever changed its fundamental style during the years.

The sixth song “The Power That B” has also been released earlier, being quite anxious and ominous in it’s lyrical content and overall atmosphere, being surprisingly elevating and positive at the same time.

The seventh song “Beyond Alive” features once again some electric guitars and live-sounding drumming bringing some sixties and seventies playing, groove and overall psychedelia to the music. Once again, a very welcome experimentation from the band.

The eighth song “Centuries Of Damn” is a slower but heavy piece, taking some of the psychedelia of the previous song with it, partly in a form of kinda Stoner or Doom-like elements.

The ninth song “On GP”, was released as a mysterious music video earlier, being sound-wise a minimalistic one (compared to the usual Death Grips material), containing awesome multilayered heavy guitars and organ-sounds. The most melancholic song of the album in it’s own way, showing the groups talents for creating music with “only” traditional organic Rock-instruments (kinda).

The tenth and final song “Death Grips 2.0” is an intense and fast instrumental Electronic piece (in nature), sounding indeed like some futuristic (or perhaps nineties Jungle-like) version of the music of Death Grips, ending the album in style.

The talents of this band can not be emphasized enough. Zack Hill is undoubtedly on of the best drummers of this modern world. The vocals and rapping of Stephan Burnett are beyond phenomenal when it comes to technique, voice and intensity. But in the end, it’s the electronics of Andy Morin, and the production and crafting of the soundscapes, that create the style and sound of Death Grips just as much as the two other areas of the music, making them truly a trinity functioning in perfect equilibrium.

If this really is the final album of Death Grips, it must be their finest one. Although I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this is not the last we’ll hear from the band.

Death Grips

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