Opening with repeated question: “Am I intriguing?” The short answer is no, not this time. Experimental rap trio Death Grips are often insane, abrasive and very intriguing. One of the most intriguing artists to appear during the past last decade in fact. From their debut mixtape Exmilitary in 2011, through to last year’s Year of the Snitch, they’ve consistently been one of the must listen to bands out there. But their latest release Gmail and the Restraining Orders is just horrendous.
More of a megamix than an EP (similar to 2017’s Steroids…), it’s a noisy, chaotic, raw, manic, avant-garde/free improvisational mess. It’s like being trapped inside a nightmare of arcade machine noises while it’s raining pots, pans and shopping trolleys, with MC Ride blurting chopped and screwed psychobabble in your direction. It’s like everything Death Grips has ever recorded being put inside a blender, guzzled down and shat out over the course of 28-and-a-half-minutes.
On Steroids… at least you were largely able to detect where one track ended and another one began, containing some really good material throughout. That’s not the case here though. Gmail… one big amalgamation of utter tripe. This is quite clearly Death Grips taking the piss, knowing full well their fans will (for the most part) lap it up as if it’s some stroke of genius. It’s just not. This stuff isn’t even new (despite most people hearing it recently via Warp 30 on NTS Radio), first being used before their shows during the Jenny Death tour back in 2015.
This most pointless of releases still doesn’t change the fact that Death Grips are one of the most original, challenging and essential groups around today, and we very much look forward to their next proper release. Whenever that comes and whatever the hell form it takes. If you’re a newcomer to Death Grips, DO NOT start here. It will likely make you run a mile and you may never return. If that happens then you will most certainly be missing out.