WPGM Recommends: Death Grips – Jenny Death (Album Review)

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Experimental Hip Hop group Death Grips have finally released the highly anticipated second half of their double album The Powers That B on YouTube. The follow up to the record’s first instalment N***as on the Moon titled Jenny Death was unexpectedly released early, in response to the album being leaked online. The Powers That B was billed as the trio’s final project however a recent post via their Facebook page may suggest otherwise with a link to Billboard’s article regarding their new release with the ambiguous caption “you’re right, we might make some more“.

This would be a somewhat surprising move were it not for Death Grips’ well documented past of constantly defying convention, for instance; them rebelling against Epic Records and releasing their second LP No Love Deep Web for free online, resulting in them being dropped from the label or the numerous live shows they’ve cancelled in the past. I myself wouldn’t be surprised if the group were already working on or have even completed new material.

Jenny Death begins in Death Grips’ usual explosive fashion with the deliriously fast track “I Break Mirrors With my Face in the United States” where vocalist MC Ride repeatedly yells the song’s title over a typical abrasive, electronic Death Grips instrumental resulting in the track feeling almost hypnotic. The second track “Inanimate Sensation“, released last year as the album’s first single, is even more intense than the first, featuring some strange revving effect and booming drums which lead into Ride’s vocals which are as manic as ever.

“Inanimate Sensation” never lets you settle as it segues into peaceful and explosive sections several times throughout, with even MC Ride’s delivery being switched up in every verse. Despite it being one of the craziest and most experimental tracks in Death Grips’ history – which is saying something – I still thoroughly enjoy it and think of it as one of my favourite songs from any of the group’s projects.

Track five “Pss Pss” is another one of my favourite songs, mainly because of it’s stripped back, catchy, electronic instrumental and Ride’s creepy whispering and lyrics on the song’s chorus. As we progress into the second half of Jenny Death we are met with the double album’s title track which is possibly the noisiest song from the entire Death Grips discography, both vocally and instrumentally. “The Power That B” massively contrasts the relatively softer and groovier previous track “Pss Pss” which acted almost as a rest from the album’s deafening opening.

Jenny Death’s penultimate song “On GP“, another song put out prior to the record’s full release, sees Death Grips take somewhat of a different sonic direction. Whilst “On GP” sticks with the signature pulsating drums and crazed vocals of Zach Hill and MC Ride respectively, we have the rest of the song’s instrumental somewhat strangely relying on what sounds like live guitars rather than the electronic production styles usually used by Andy Morin.

The album concludes with the frantically dark instrumental piece “Death Grips 2.0“, which is what I imagine a modern soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange would sound like. Overall Jenny Death is one of my favourite Death Grips’ releases yet and whilst I feel it far surpasses this double album’s first half N***as on the Moon, The Powers That B as a whole piece is one of the group’s strongest projects yet, perhaps only bettered by 2012’s The Money Store.

As for the band’s future, we’ll never know if they’re truly broken up, until they release new material, but regardless of whether or not we hear from them again, I can safely say that The Powers That B has more than satisfied me as the group’s closing record. The Powers That B is available to buy on iTunes here.

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