Album of the week: Death Grips – Year of the Snitch

Death Grips are to the music industry what Banksy is to the art world. They have undermined their label Epic, releasing music for free over the web before the official release, provoking the industry at every turn possible from the artwork to their performances. They cancel shows and tours at a whim and when they do perform it’s usually with deprecating air of contempt on their faces. They’re constantly teetering on the edge of destruction, like when they dismantled the project while riding the immense wave of success that came after their third studio album “No Love Deep Web” only to reform again a few months later.

The California duo made up of vocalists MC Ride and drummer / producer Zach Hill are a volatile force that aggressively subvert expectations with an anachronistic attitude supplanted directly from Punk. Their recorded works  channel this into furious diatribes, a carousing cocktail of industrial, punk and electronic noise with dissident disdain while animalistic, primal performances deliver a glaring view from the side of their world through brutal noise, drenched in tension.

They’ve been actively recording and performing since 2010 with records like “Money Store” and “No Love Deep Web” receiving great critical acclaim and tracks like “I’ve seen footage” and “Guillotine”” taking some of the top honours in various best of lists through the years, only probably fuelling the group’s intense aversion for these institutions. After some much debated will-they-won’t-they through 2017, they’re back in 2018 with “Year of the Snitch”, their first record in two years, dispelling rumours that they’ve broken up again.

It’s officially their 6th studio album, but Death Grips have lost none of their edge, and have only grown more incensed it seems. Violent staccato guitars and jittering electronics fuel Zach Hill’s furious percussive onslaught while MC Ride delivers obtuse outbursts from his microphone like a young activist with nothing left to loose trying to incite a riot. There’s no peace to be found on “Year of the Snitch”, as the LP powers through 13 short, electronic Punk tracks, cutting through the quiet like a sharpened incisor violent tearing at the flesh. “Year of the Snitch” is Death Grips baring their teeth like never before.

There’s no knowing what inspired this album or fuelled their rage, the notoriously media shy band still refraining from fielding any nosy questions from reporters, but even if it’s just subconsciously, something gnaws at the current atmosphere of discontent spreading through the world. Everything Death Grips does, there’s always been some abhorrent socio-political undercurrent goading their fervour. Everybody said Punk would be the music that will soundtrack this new era of discontent, but few knew that it was already here and it was called Death Grips.  

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