May 18, 2016 Death Grips – Bottomless Pit (Album Review)
Northern California’s Death Grips is easily the most difficult band to describe in short terms. Their genre is argued about across the internet, iTunes has listed them as Punk Rock, their vocal delivery unquestionably has roots in Hip Hop, and their instrumentation ranges from maximalist guitar-filled barrages of Industrial noise, to minimalist synthesizers riding over sequenced drum machines. Their antics as a band are often perplexing to fans, having not shown up at performances in the past and, as late of 2015, announcing that they were no longer staying together as a band, and would still release the second half of their double album. Yet, after finally releasing it nine months later, they announced that they in fact did not actually break up, and planned to continue making more albums.
Fans waited eagerly for any sign of life from the band after this announcement, until October of 2015, when the band posted a mysterious video to their Youtube page, titled “Bottomless Pit,” which involved the late actress Karen Black, lying down on a couch and reciting a series of lines meant for a film being created by a band member. With the video was a vague album announcement, simply stating, “We’ve decided to make a new Death Grips album and it will be called Bottomless Pit.” Then, within the next few months, the band continued to toy with their fans, releasing an EP of instrumentals tagged onto a bizarre video of the band being interviewed that had no audio, as well as a hotline number that could be called to hear a new single, among other things.
Now, after months of waiting, along with speculating, the release dates were finally made public, and everyone was able to, at last, hear the short, sweet album that was Bottomless Pit. Released as of May 6th, the album starts with two of the bands noisiest songs they have ever made, as if a way to scare off any non-serious listeners. The first is “Giving Bad People Good Ideas,” which opens the album with the frantic singing of Liz Lyles, a long-time friend of the band, followed by a fast-paced and short-lived song, with traits of Punk Rock and Power Metal. Following that is “Hot Head,” which was the first official single that has two distinctive parts. The first of those is a loud, entirely unstructured noise fest, with Lead Vocalist MC Ride yelling nonsense throughout, and the other a tame, bouncing synth arpeggio, with Ride rapping rhythmically over the beat, with grotesque lyrical references to hard drug use.
Thereafter comes “Spikes,” which is one of the catchiest songs the band has made to date, featuring just one of the many addictive hooks heard on Bottomless Pit. The song continues the streak of loud, in-your-face music that the album began with. The first song to break this streak is “Eh,” which lyrically showcases just how much the band does not care about a thing their doing, as if listeners needed more reassurance, ending most lines with the same phrase; “I’m like, eh.” This is followed by “Bubbles Buried in This Jungle,” which has a beat centered around the disgustingly distorted guitars listeners heard on previous releases from the band. It has that sort of grime and harsh delivery that music lovers cannot get anywhere else but from Death Grips.
At the halfway point of the album, “Trash” opens with what sounds like an orchestral hit, filled with an array of synthesized horns and strings. Here Ride has a calm vocal delivery on this song compared to the rest of Bottomless Pit, where he describes the over-saturation of creative media brought on by the internet, saying, “We know trash, we upload trash…Trash begets trash.” Then, the dizzy, hypnotic beat on “Houdini” is like nothing anyone has ever heard from the band before. Keeping intrigue, sonically, “BB Poison” sounds perverse, with distorted 808 drums bouncing around, broken up only by a some demonic snare sample.
No stranger to bizarre sexual themes, with songs like “Have A Sad Cum” or “Pss Pss,” a song entirely based around the act of urinating on someone else’s face, Death Grips find themselves referencing sexual themes in an extremely deranged way once again throughout Bottomless Pit. This is heard especially so in the last few songs including “Three Bedrooms in a Good Neighborhood,” which has some lyrics that will make some cringe with just how raw and uncensored they are in their descriptions. This is all while they deliver impressive instrumentation. The album slows down for a bit on the second to last song, “8080808” which features a chill, atmospheric beat. Finally, the madness ends with the album’s title-track, revisits those deranged sexual themes, with Ride repeating the line “I fucked you in half” for the chorus.
Death Grips is known to never disappoint. The band manages to totally flip their sound on every album and surprise the listeners. More than anything, Bottomless Pit sounds fresh, like nothing their fans have ever heard before. It is distorted, grimy, fast-paced, and loud, yet manages to sound clean and reigned in. Death Grips, over the years, has proved their worth as one of the most prolific bands of the internet era, and Bottomless Pit is no different. It is the culmination of all of their previous work, mixed perfectly into this fresh, exciting sound. CrypticRock gives Bottomless Pit 5 out of 5 stars.