By KRISTOF G.
Dälek ain’t a robot, but it sure is heavy AF. Scary, even. Do you know a lot of MCs who enlist musicians from prog-metal giants like Tool for “featuring” gigs? That’s right, you can hear Adam Jones’ guitar and synth lines on the dissonant yet hypnotic “A Heretic’s Inheritance,” off the New Jersey rap duo’s latest record, PRECIPICE (out today on Ipecac Recordings).
Since its inception back in 1997 (a quarter of a century, folks!), Dälek has put out over a dozen releases, constantly pushing the boundaries of what hiphop means. They say they’ve been inspired by the likes of Public Enemy, My Bloody Valentine and Faust, which is quite true, but there’s more to it. Aside from the shoegaze connection, Dälek’s sound is introspective and bleak as hell. It pairs oppressive rhythms with an angry poetic delivery–when it doesn’t get a bit smoother, with ambient and ethereal loops, always with an (un)healthy dose of experimental noise sprinkled on top. Overall, these are uneasy, “end of times” kinds of beats. Postapocalyptic rap, maybe?
On PRECIPICE, semantics often rhyme with toxic (check out the powerful “Holistic”), evil, metaphoric monsters sometimes lie in the lyrical (the aforementioned “Inheritance”), where lurks the sinister or mere mortal. Cinematic stuff and psychologically mental, indeed. In the end, what you get is a truly horrific look at our post-pandemic, BLM world. Jordan Peele would love it.