Thursday, June 30, 2011

Death Grips - Exmilitary (2011)

As a fan of noise and black metal and all sorts of other ugly musics, I've had to discuss the idea of value in aggressive music and the use of screaming and destructive melodies fairly frequently. Occasionally it's something as simple as "happiness or pleasure isn't derived directly from something that makes you feel cheery" which is simple enough to accept I think. Occasionally I'll have to bring up Schoenberg's sprechstimme and the idea of jilted dynamics and vocals to heighten the atmosphere and expression of a piece, which works itself into a circle when they insist on pure entertainment and such. All that aside however, there is a certain appreciation that is to be had in a very primal anger in music, like Salo to cinema, and an idea that it's something that must be done for the full spectrum of art.

And here rests a great example. From the takeoff, we're treated to a brief sample of an interview than none other than criminal and musician Charles Manson, leading into a thick heavy beat with a pointed grunt accompanied with a yell claiming this lead vocalist is the terrible beast he worships, later expanding discussing how he's not afraid of "the time he's taken past the point of no return" and that one should "wage war" as there is no hell and no worries for the future and such. Aside from the subject matter itself, the lyrics are incredibly poetic and theatrical. It evokes powerful imagery with ease, casually shouting down the powers of the earth and painting all the "evils of man".

The rest of the album follows in roughly the same path with some minor changes. Guillotine moves more slowly, with a thick low end beat settling as a sort of sludge underneath more angry vocals. Culture Shock has a more glitchy beat with a smooth subtle vocalist. Blood Creepin has some sort of tribal yell to transition into the first verse. But through every change, this album keeps its intensity and vileness.

At the very least, you're unlikely to hear much like this. You can get the same sort of angry vocals in something like Kill the Vultures, but that's generally much more lethargic. You could get the noise and destruction and, i suppose, wordiness, in something like dalek, but while that is sharp and, in certain respects, promotes human, this is thick and spiteful. While I was showing this around, one listener could only remark "I'm breathing heavy and stuff". Regardless of whether or not you find entertainment in this, very few can hit the atmosphere of this tape, and of everything released this year, this demands a listen more than anything.

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