In this the group’s second studio album, we heard a harsher sound than we ever had from Death Grips, offering a more confrontational sound and harsher lyricism than it’s predecessors, while also providing a couple of accidental meme anthems along the way.
One glance at the album art of this album should tell you all you need to know about the band’s attitude going into their follow up album from the critically acclaimed The Money Store and what we were given was just that, a no fucks given boom blast of an album that was as unapologetic as it was intriguing.
As a short back story as to why this album became such a controversial one in the group’s discography; they had been signed onto Epic Records, one of the biggest record companies in the world and were embarking on major steps in the experimental genre. These two facts clashed as Epic wanted Death Grips to be something they weren’t and to make them tamer, something that just wasn’t going to happen. The Money Store went okay without any major problems, but upon the release of No Love Deep Web, Death Grips decided they weren’t a fan of selling their music, so instead went against the word of their label and released the album for free. As you can imagine, the repercussions of this weren’t pretty and they were immediately dropped from Epic (I somehow get the feeling they weren’t really that bothered, though).
It was released on October 1st 2012 and was described by the group as “a sort of a culmination of our two previous releases.” They went onto say that “we think it’ll end up being the heaviest thing we’ve made so far on many levels. It’s striking us as the closest we’ve gotten to what our initial vision of what Death Grips would sound like. We have the feeling and it’s pretty absolute that this album will contain our most future-forward and potent material…It’s emotionally raw and direct; the sound is indescribable, it’s very beat oriented. It has some of the guitar-driven elements that we touched on with Exmilitary but they aren’t exactly being generated by a guitar.”
This was evident from the very first listen as songs like Come Up and Get Me and the hugely popular single No Love took more of a punk style than we had heard from them before, something which actually comes across very very well. It is loud and angry in delivery, mixing hysteria with sheer anger and rarely stopping for breath in the 46 minute running time.
The punk rock sound at the beginning is something which makes the first three songs of the album perhaps their strongest three song run to date, while the fourth track Black Dice is a real turning point as it uses far more synthetic sounds and a more recognisable experimental rap sound that we had heard previously from Death Grips. Speaking of which, we were treated to an absolute belter of a meme anthem in Hunger Games, a song which is now more recognisable as the soundtrack to phenomenal YouTube video ‘Dog Grips’. Incredible content to match an actually brilliant song, all jokes aside.
The album’s closer Artificial Death In The West is the group at their most mellow which really says something given the eccentric instrumentation but oh my word the sound it creates is majestic. It has a real awe-inspiring feel to it and wraps up the project but when diving into the lyrical content, it is far from majestic, instead looking at the dangers of modern society’s obsession with the Internet; implying that unless we conquer our life’s devotion to technology, we will suffer an artificial death.
This album does, however, offer one or two shortcomings in the track listing but they are important to the running in order to maintain the concept and style Death Grips were going for. World of Dogs and Whammy just seemed a bit too weird for my liking and like they were trying to confuse the listener. While I appreciate the idea of testing the limits of a listener, I think songs like this flag up as weak points in the group’s discography as a whole, despite not being bad songs by any stretch.
No Love Deep Web was a dive into territory Death Grips hadn’t ventured into before and it worked a treat, offering some of the group’s best songs and unique production while also adding more strings to their already stacked bow. They had now proved they could be even grimier and punk rock than they already were at this point, which is pretty damn impressive. Was it progression from The Money Store? No it wasn’t, but that is no slight on this album because that debut was something truly special, a one of a kind if you will. What No Love Deep Web taught us was that Death Grips had plenty to say and weren’t about to keep quiet anytime soon.