For their fifth album in four years, elusive noise-rap provocateurs Death Grips have finally settled into a “sound”: future b-boys spaz-screaming their way out of the glitches of punk and cyberpunk past. Building off the speedier ends of last year’s The Powers That B, Bottomless Pit has a shell of mid-Eighties crossover punk and thrash metal — blastbeats, bellows, arch sloganeering — but it’s built almost exclusively out of digital noise and disgustingly distorted guitars.
A man-machine divide informs the lyrics, a cut-up where body horror meets information overload — part Burroughs, part Cronenberg, part Gibson: “Luster of entrails stacked and slung/Under cement veils my traffic hums.” The choruses are angry but also paranoid and painfully self-aware, with main shouter MC Ride oozing out “All I do is lose my form, I’m warping” and guest vocalist Clementine Creevy belting “I keep giving bad people good ideas.”
There’s a hip-hop pulse anchoring the whole thing, but drummer Zach Hill — usually playing triggered electronics or samples — grooves like ball bearings in a blender. The beats and squiggles of Hill and producer Andy Morin recall the “digital hardcore” of Nineties acts like Atari Teenage Riot or the “glitch techno” of early-Aughts acts like Kid 606, but it swings hard and (most importantly) has the feel of actual humans making a mess. Ultimately, for all the different genres it consumes and spits back, it sounds like no other band on earth.