Sound: WARNING: THIS ALBUM MAY NOT BE FOR EVERYONE. IT'S NOT THE USUAL KIND OF ALBUM YOU'D SEE REVIEWED ON ULTIMATE GUITAR. THIS COULD BE SOMETHING NEW FOR THOSE WHO ARE CURIOUS. DON'T MAKE A "HIPSTER" OR "PRETENTIOUS" REMARK BECAUSE IT'S NOT FUNNY OR CLEVER.
These guys have been getting a ton of publicity lately, but why? What exactly about this group is worthy of such talk? Well, for one they are extremely difficult to classify. They have Hella drummer Zach Hill on production and occasional percussion, linking each heavy handed beat with a roll of snare and a barrage of bass. They have Andy Morin supplying other worldly sounds that mimic a dark-yet-uplifting future. Then there's Stefan Burnett, the rapper who speaks lyrics through hardcore yells and a flow that relies on percussion and not fluidity.
"The Money Store" is their first album of two this year, and it's a damn good one. Songs like "Get Got", "F--k That" and others are laced with tribal toms chained to loud claps, and this, along with Burnett's barks, provide an incredibly animalistic vibe to an otherwise extra terrestrial release. This look at a vicious humanity is the only real organic connection to a sound we aren't really used to. The song shifts are metal in nature, as the patterns and times shift so easily from under us that we don't know where we stand. Instead of a load of riffs, however, we get layers of absurdity and foreign sounds we can't make out for the most part. With that being said, "The Money Store" is a nice confusion, and possibly a look into the future of music. // 8
Lyrics and Singing: There is only one way to describe these lyrics. They are a compilation of suppressed emotions. That's what makes this album the most explosive. Burnett spouts lines of such spontaneous aggression, and then he tries to unite us with open arms. Not only did the band upload their own album on YouTube, they've also been nice enough to write out all of the many many many, and I mean many, lyrics. That was nice of them, especially since most of the lyrics don't seem to have been written but rather just said off the top of his head. This stream of consciousness feeling only adds more to the sporadic environment this album has.
Most of the lyrics don't have a deeper meaning. They are exactly what they sound like: Burnett's rage. With most of the lyrics being too graphic to post on here, you can be assured that Death Grips as a whole are meant to pull a specific emotion out of you. With that in mind, the lyrics aren't two dimensional, yet it kind of sets up this release for being one to listen to in the "right mood" as opposed to just whenever. Can you listen to this when you are happy? For sure. Mad? Oh most definitely. Sad? Well, there it could be iffy. It could work out, or it could instead convert your energy into one far more pessimistic in nature. // 7
Impression: "The Money Store" is just different. That's all it is. It may be difficult to listen to some songs at first, and it won't be an album that's for everybody. Is it worth checking out? For anybody, I say definitely. Even if you don't like it in the end, it's still such a unique sound that it's still worth a shot. Whether we hear more music like this in the future or if we never hear it again, it's a fine example of a group trying to explore what music can be, which we don't get a lot of anymore.
Death Grips almost feels like a garage-rap-industrial group, and yet you can attach so many other labels to them. They are garage because their sound is filthy and fuzzed. They are industrial because of the digital sh-tstorm that attacks you from all areas of your speakers. In the end, Death Grips and their attitude probably say it best: f--k that. Death Grips are Death Grips.
Their music is so unusual and yet they have uploaded every song and given us, as I've said, every lyric. This shows that they not only know how to live in the music business of the 21st century, but they also feel that their work can and will unite us. Will it? It's almost too possible.
Songs that are the "easiest" to listen to for new listeners (a bit of a stretch but I tried) are "The Fever (Aye Aye)", "System Blower", and "I've Seen Footage". If you don't know where to start, those songs may help you find your way, but as Death Grips are trying to show, the future may not be as kind to us as we wish. // 9