Exmilitary Review

artist: Death Grips date: 11/23/2012 category: compact discs
Death Grips: Exmilitary
Released: Apr 25, 2011
Genre: Experimental Hip-Hop, Hardcore Hip-Hop, Industrial Hip-Hop
Label: Self-released
Number Of Tracks: 13
Death Grips have made something unlike anything any of us has heard, and yet it is filled to the brink with elements of genres we have all heard before.
 Sound: 8
 Lyrics: 10
 Overall Impression: 9
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overall: 9
Exmilitary Reviewed by: Seventhside, on november 23, 2012
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: Death Grips have begun to capitalize on a dead period in music these days. With rap instrumentals getting blander and blander with each new single being produced, and guitar riffs getting muddier with each album, it's a wonder to think where the direction of music is pointed. New electronic genres such as dubstep are even beginning to be run into the ground, even though its only been in the public eye for a few years, now. Hella drummer Zach Hill and synth technician Flatlander produce glitchy and garbled textures to some of their songs; as most of the songs on the EP are samples, but they are able to put their own unique spins on those as well. The EP opens with a legendary quote from Charlie Manson backed by a simple guitar thump reminiscent of blues music. After the quote the music segues into a lasting drone of guitar chords backed by a simple drum beat and bits and pieces of chopped up vocal samples. The result is a instrumental that is more than the genres it hails from, it might be new ground tread all together. Probably the most talked about, bombastic and aggressive instrument implemented by the trio is the very voice of Stehpan Burnett rhyming as the depraved and sociopathic MC Ride. Often times he is yelling at the top of his lungs to get the vocals across, which is sometime often needed due to the sheer abrasiveness of the instrumentals. As I've said many samples are used in this EP, most of them paying homage to their heavier roots. "Klink" uses the Black Flag's "Rise Above" as a sample, reulting in a very recognizable main riff. They also pay homage to old bomb-track style hip-hop producers with "Lord Of The Game", which is probably one of the songs closest to rap. The comprehensive sound of the EP comes across as very lo-fi, and so revolutionary in many different ways. Alot of different genres are mixed into the sound of this album, it often has a hard time finding its niche. But something you will have to come to expect from Death Grips is that they're not about keeping it consistent in terms of sound. This is an experimental effort, and should be treated as such. // 8

Lyrics: You may find that you have difficulty deciphering the words that Burnett has penned for each of these songs. With his harsh flow and often quick cadence, you could find yourself scratching your head to try to pick out phrases. What it takes, is to probably look up the lyrics to get the full picture of each song. While some people might find this propect extremely unconvenient, as they believe you should be able to pick out the words clearly. To this I say no, the way that he "raps" or "rhymes" is as much about the art of it as the instrumentals. Burnett is trying to put you in his shoes in the clearest way possible; and to fit inside the shoes of a sadistic sociopath/serial killer, you need to be made to feel a little uncomfortable. I remember the first time I watched the video for "Guillotine". I was immediately turned off from the get-go, and shelved it in my hate-list for quite some time. But the more I listened the more I began to understand what was going on with each of the songs. Most of the songs on this EP are not something that will reward you for listening once in total disgust. It's a collection of songs that lets you in with each listen. Songs like "Beware" use powerful imagery in a commentary about God and relgion in general, pounding the chorus line; "I close my eyes and sieze it/ I clench my fist and beat it./ I light my torch and burn it./ I am the Beast I worship." into the listener's mind, and if that wasn't blunt enough, Burnett seques the verse with the line; "To pray is to accept defeat." Certain parts of the EP give you a peek into the character that Burnett is trying to portray. He is sadistic, sociopathic, and a poet of sorts, not above leaning towards the more frowned upon words in the English language. Many might see this as verbal act of rebellion, art in its finest state. It's as experimental as the instrumentals its backed by. If all of these artists trying to be dark, Death Grips stands ahead of the pack in lyricism, if one can be bothered to look them up. (Protip: You should.) // 10

Overall Impression: Death Grips have made something unlike anything any of us has heard, and yet it is filled to the brink with elements of genres we have all heard before. Having dropped only last year, it's almost hard to imagine something of this calibur was produced in my lifetime. All of my life I've heard of and listened to music that was part of some major movement in music, it's odd to think that I may be experiencing it as it happens. All the hype started around the time that their first studio album, "The Money Store" was released. After some time of hearing all of the hype I decided to come back and give "Exmilitary" a listen, and it was free so it couldn't of hurt anything if I disliked it. What I found is a freshman release that is brimming with a creativity that many can't appreciate. If only more people could listen to it the way that I do, ad the way that many others do. It's an amazing EP that was bested only by its successor in terms of production. There are flavors on this album that just do not exist in their later releases.

// 9

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