- To say that that the work of California alt-rap group Death Grips is hard to digest for some may be an understatement. That can go for dedicated fans as well as newcomers. Having traversed the likes of controversy in the industry, surprising collaborations, surreal marketing tactics, and of course, ferocious live appearances, the band have most certainly cemented their status as one of the most captivating and fearless acts of the 2010s. Following 2016's Bottomless Pit, here the band deliver their sixth LP, Year of the Snitch. The former -- alongside other prior releases -- have managed to occasionally meld somewhat accessible traits of more widely acknowledged hip-hop into their sound. Here, however, it seems that Death Grips have opted to go for more surrealism this time. Although the first third of the record is seemingly not as in-your-face as previous work, opener "Death Grips Is Online" blasts in straightaway with thudding electro percussion, indecipherable vocal samples, and bright synth leads before segueing into Zach Hill's thundering toms and MC Ride's trademark hollering. Languid beats and deadpan rapping adorn single "Flies," while "Black Paint" wallops with organic drum rolls, buzzing keys, and eerily reversed vocals with the chorus consisting of Led Zeppelin-esque guitar riffs and abrupt turntable scratching. Fifth track "The Horn Section" is where things get weird -- erratic drumming and dissonant, Casio-style keys carry the instrumental to a close before "Hahaha" arrives -- a sign that the rest of what you're about to hear probably won't adhere to any strict time signature for longer than four to six bars at any one time. Odd unpredictable moments crop up elsewhere, but Year of the Snitch does give you a breather with tracks such as "Streaky," which is largely composed of hard-hitting MPC beats, sporadic scratching, and the band's knack for brilliantly executed sampling techniques. Having sampled some of their own work in places -- "Shitshow" features samples from their debut 2011 mixtape Exmilitary -- you can never really tell what sounds are discovered or if they're original recordings from Death Grips themselves, albeit heavily processed and manipulated to the point where it's impossible to identify. Which is just one small aspect of the broader genius that is Death Grips. Not one of their releases is the same as another, and with Year of the Snitch, they continue to break boundaries and expectations. The record is another example of true experimentation with their sound along with an uncompromising work ethic and a thirst for originality. ~ Rob Wacey
Professional Reviews: Rolling Stone - 3 stars out of 5 -- "A glitch in the system, Swamp furiously cuts up old Death Grips songs, making one of the most Internet-funhouse-mirror bands of all time reflect back on itself."
Format: Vinyl (1 Disc)
Release Date: 21 September, 2018
Dimensions: 31.5 x 0.3 x 31.5 centimeters (0.29 kg)