“Bottomless Pit” is the first full commercial release from experimental hip-hop band Death Grips since their faux-breakup in July 2014. Originally announced in October of last year, “Bottomless Pit” has been one of the most hotly anticipated records of 2016.
On April 29, the band’s SoundCloud account was hacked and the album in its entirety was leaked exactly one week before its scheduled release.
“Bottomless Pit” has far surpassed my expectations. After the release of the album’s first single “Hot Head,” I was expecting the rest of the record to be consistently loud and abrasive. But instead we get 13 of Death Grips’ most varied songs.
The album’s opener, “Giving Bad People Good Ideas,” starts with the last thing I’d expect from the band – a female vocal harmony. This voice is placed throughout the track as well, supplying the chorus and a few bridges.
After putting out such a huge amount of music since their inception in 2011, many believed that Death Grips would begin to stagnate and start putting out boring or just plain “samey” music. “Good Ideas” instantly debunks those implications.
Death Grips are known to create some of the catchiest hooks in modern hip-hop. Personally I could recite just about every chorus from their 2012 release, “The Money Store.”
Here, on “Bottomless Pit,” they continue this trend. On my second listen, I was already shouting along to the choruses of “Spikes,” “Bubbles Buried in This Jungle” and “BB Poison” and have been humming the harmony behind “Ring a Bell’s” hook for the last few days.
The band has always followed the simple verse-chorus-verse formula, but for them, that’s not a bad thing. Not a single track on this album overstays its welcome, with the longest clocking in at 4 minutes and 11 seconds.
The variety found on this album is amazing. Each track is more unique than the last. “Giving Bad People Good Ideas” is covered in loud, distorted guitars that wouldn’t sound out of place on a death metal record. The verses on “Hot Head” feature synths reminiscent of Daft Punk. “Eh” would fit right in on the soundtrack to “Hotline Miami.”
Vocalist Stefan Burnett leaves some of his trademark shouts on the opening track and “Hot Head.” But for much of the album, he gives a pretty mellow performance – just about as mellow as Death Grips can get. This makes “Bottomless Pit” one of the most accessible records in the band’s discography – the polar opposite of the first half of “The Powers that B,” although elements of that record bleed through onto this new one.
Aspects of all their previous projects can be heard on “Bottomless Pit.” Zach Hill’s kits and Burnett’s vocal delivery on “Trash” sound straight from “No Love Deep Web.” Again, the hooks are just as memorable as “The Money Store’s” and the more aggressive tracks take a page from the book of “Jenny Death.”
The only complaint I have with Death Grips’ latest release is that almost every single track here ends so abruptly. They just kind of stop.
All in all, Death Grips put out one of their best albums, continuing to prove that they are some of the most creative and daring musicians in modern music.
“Bottomless Pit” is currently available for download from iTunes and can be streamed on Spotify.
Check it out below.