Bottomless Pit by Death Grips, released on May 5, is an album that simply could not have been made by any other band. A friend recently asked me to describe Death Grips to him, wondering if they were a rock band or a rap group. I wasn’t sure how to describe the music in terms of conventional genre titles.
Although MC Ride, whose title denotes him as a rapper, fronts Death Grips, MC Ride’s style is much too different from any other hip-hop artist to properly place him in the same category. His barking style may at times be more similar to hardcore punk or metal, and while rap focuses on lyricism, MC Ride’s words are sometimes hard to make out over Andy Morin’s unique, sample-laden production.
Even the members of the band seem to avoid characterization of their music. When asked what music inspired him, MC Ride claimed that he only found inspiration from within himself. Ultimately, I ended up telling my friend that Death Grips was in a class of their own, a band putting together many styles into their own hardcore, iconoclastic image. Though the band may cause vexation for such antics as canceling their own concerts and angering their own label by leaking their own album, ultimately their unique, creative sound draws audiences in.
Bottomless Pit is an experiment in nihilistic, head banging chaos, released just a little more than a year after the release of the incredible Jenny Death. The album does not really break any new ground, as many of the songs sound like they would belong on 2011’s The Money Store. However, although much of the sound is a retread, Death Grips seems to have perfected their sound over the years to make Bottomless Pit one of their best offerings.
The first two songs of the album, “Giving Good People Bad Ideas” and “Hot Head” are the two most abrasive on the album, resembling hardcore punk more than anything else. After the first few songs, the songs on the album become much more accessible. The song “Warping” features MC Ride swaggering over a menacing electronic beat, with drummer Zach Hill providing the heavy metal percussion.
The song “Bubbles Buried in this Jungle” shows Death Grips at their highest level of mosh pit-worthy insanity. The album also displays some more mellow offerings, such as the song “Trash,” where MC Ride playfully mocks his own music with line such as, “We know trash, we know clean don’t last / Never last when we load trash / We upload trash.” On the song “Eh,” MC Ride responds to critics of the band’s antics both succinctly and humorously. “Fucks like, ‘Do you know who I am?’ / Fucks fail to understand / I must confess, I’m like ‘Eh.’”
Towards the end of the album, the song “Ring A Bell” displays the band’s style quite well, sounding part-Black Flag, part-rap, and part-electronica, while somehow all meshing together to form a cohesive whole.
Death Grips’ unique style is definitely not for everyone, and their songs are definitely not the type you might hear at a typical Isla Vista party. However, if you’re into music that is incredibly unique while not afraid of being caustic, rule-breaking and at times angry, Bottomless Pit may be the album for you.