DEATH GRIPS - I’VE SEEN FOOTAGE
I’ve seen a hit!
Jonathan Bogart: Not to be the guy who’s all “oh, we’re finally getting around to reviewing this after it’s been out for months,” but, well, it’s been great for months now.
Alfred Soto: The ugliest industrial sounds of the year complement the chanting.
Brad Shoup: Salt-n-Pepa x 2 Live Crew, with Brutal Juice’s Craig Welch surveying the landscape. I just saw the Juice at a festival this month; Welch is in a hip-hop project now, and he spent soundcheck chanting “guillotine” into the mic. At their best, Brutal Juice spewed out horrific imagery in a way that split the difference between goonish humor and real repulsion. “Show me something I ain’t seen before,” sez MC Ride in the first verse, clicking through juking and footage of people getting high. It only gets realer from there, as he ponders the surveillance state that puts so much carnage at the fingertips. He checks out a cop blowing some kid away, but there’s no sense of accountability obtained: the machine’s going to keep spitting out this shit. Meanwhile, the guitar line whines and warps, a pitbull shaking a piece of meat in slo-mo. That sunken stutter recalls Eminem’s Pee Wee-biting on “Just Lose It,” only here its goofiness is a symptom of madness. An hour with this song and paranoia becomes the only reasonable mindstate.
Patrick St. Michel: The production is Jock Jams gold, Zach Hill and Andy Morin creating a crustier version of “Push It.” The vocals, though, distract from the song as a whole. MC Ride’s shouts neither sound like rapping, nor do they really sound like something that would come from a hardcore singer. It instead sounds like a bad half-way point between the two.
Mallory O’Donnell: Underground hip-hip during its academic phase: guitar loop, electro-era drum pattern, indecipherable vocals, indie production. The fact that the first three are live matters naught.
Will Adams: The video’s onslaught of images points out that we’ve all seen footage; if you look hard enough, you’ll find an unsettling amount of depraved shit available for public viewing on YouTube. The distorted synth riff is ugly and relentless, the sonic equivalent of another filmed shooting, beheading, or beating that assaults you and doesn’t let up. Fortunately, there’s also a catchy-as-hell hook to attenuate the disturbing content.
Edward Okulicz: To take paranoia to a level of sheer awesomeness, add hooks and dizziness. And beats straight out of “Push It” if you can get away with it.