Album Review: Death Grips-The Powers That B

Very few albums have this much anticipation and build from fans of one specific band. Death Grips stated that this was going to be their final record, and planned to go out with a double album only to have people wait a year for the second half of it. Niggas On the Moon showed off a more glitched out and clean ride on the first half released for free over a year ago. Initially, the ride seemed too much of an annoyance to be worth multiple listens, but in order to review the whole LP, it was required to dive into both halves to give a fair score. It is safe to say that the whole album clicks together in what may be the boldest experimental album of the year.

As a structural record, the flow is quite odd and unpredictable, not like the band themselves. Niggas On the Moon has aged well over the last year, and all the tedious moments from my first review have almost disappeared. The flow of the 40 minute opening side has become infectious and easier to read lyrics that set up the more refined and familiar second half. MC Ride dropping lines about needing someone’s neck to cure himself, wanting some sexual pleasures, and depressing existential debates are perfect for what comes on Jenny Death, the second side. Jenny Death dives into similar themes but on a much more simple package. The guitars and live drums make a major come back here, and one could argue this part sounds like The Money Store with much less vocal distortion. It is doubtful anyone could possibly complain about Death Grips going back to being their loud, noisy, and powerful selves.

Jenny Death not only hearkens back to past work, but has a new level of great writing to amp up the experience as well. “I Break Mirrors With My Face In the United States” kicks off the second disk with incredible ferocity. The ominous and noisy opening gives a sense of destruction coming forward, while MC Ride screams the song title repeatedly as a show of force. “Inanimate Sensation” veers the line between being visceral and outright loud with a beat that constantly loops to building rhythmic screams and lyrics about technology becoming more important than having sex and other human pleasures. “Pss Pss” is one of the grossest tracks Hill and Ride have ever released, using an off-kilter beat to tell a story of possible sex addiction and being aroused in odd ways.

The last four tracks are much more intense though. “The Powers That B” feels more like a superhero track where the main character is struggling with an ego complex, while “Beyond Alive” follows by unshackling those powers and becoming an unstoppable force of nature.  “Centuries of Damn” and “On GP” are much more reserved in nature, showing off a more pessimistic point of view. Lyrics for both tracks speak toward hating the sunlight and other positive life forces, even resorting to being anti-social and not seeking out human contact whatsoever. The one final track seems like more of a teaser or bonus snippet than anything else. “Death Grips 2.0” kicks off with a radio dial sample and movement toward a potential industrial dance music vibe for a new record in the future. The track works fine as a teaser but feels very anti-climactic and too much of a change from the dark tones of the previous two tracks.

The Powers That B is a great example of how to make a diverse double album that requires a lot of listens to get a deeper understanding. The first disk is almost seamless, bouncing from track to track with clean beat change ups, but Jenny Death is much more segmented, noisy, and angry, like previous releases from the band. There was a clear emphasis on combining all of the sounds from the duo’s previous four albums, and the surprising level of intrigue as a full package is something worth marveling.


Track Listing:

Niggas On the Moon
1. Up My Sleeves
2. Billy Not Really
3. Black Quarterback
4. Say Hey Kid
5. Have a Sad Cum BB
6. Fuck Me Out
7. Voila
8. Big Dipper
Jenny Death
1. I Break Mirrors With My Face In the United States
2. Inanimate Sensation
3. Turned Off
4. Why A Bitch Gotta Lie
5. Pss Pss
6. The Powers That B
7. Beyond Alive
8. Centuries of Damn
9. On GP
10. Death Grips 2.0

Death Grips Links:

About krthll1 (82 Articles)
I am a huge media fan in general. Video games, music, and movies tend to be the ticket to my happiness. As far as music goes, I like to listen to music that can convey any sense of tangible emotional impact, whether it be dark, depressive, or happy. Favorite artists include Deafheaven, Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, Kendrick Lamar, and Alice In Chains. I would like to thank everyone on the site for this opportunity and hope my output is worthy of the publishing.

Have something to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: