Precipice is the new album from Dälek, the New York duo of Will Brooks (aka MC Dälek), and Mike Manteca (Mike Mare) who are back with a set of tracks that are darker and heavier than their previous releases; and that’s saying something as I can still remember hearing From Filthy Tongue Of Gods And Griots for the first time after reading a Bandcamp article on leftfield rap and hip-hop. I was instantly blown away by the menace and unnerving sonic assault that accompanied MC Dälek’s words.
The album crackles with the tension between an album which was planned, and started pre-pandemic, but ended up being put on hold then re-evaluated and re-tooled to reflect the COVID years. Brooks says, “when I went back and listened to what we had down… it just wasn’t right anymore, it wasn’t strong enough, it wasn’t heavy enough, it wasn’t angry enough. It just didn’t say what I needed it to say.”
It opens with ‘Lest We Forget’ a grainy instrumental overture that sets an uneasy tone for the album and opens the door to track after track of dizzying soundscapes. There are the backwards loops of ‘Boycott’, blown out beats of ‘Decimation (Dis Nation)’ re-invented old-school of ‘Good’, the space travel of ‘Holistic’, and cathedral grit of ‘The Harbingers’ at the halfway mark. Then comes the epic widescreen slow motion hurricane of ‘Devotion (when I cry the wind disappears)’, the grinding industrial gears of ‘A Heretic’s Inheritance’, Valhalla’s echo chamber on the title track and the sound of a city in pain on final track ‘Incite’.
Despite the immense hypnotic gravel-soup from the backing, where beats click, crunch and stomp around on unsteady ground, and the landscape is flooded with washes of pulsing loops and gritty swells of synthesiser, the vocal lines cut through everything like a scalpel. These are lyrics forged in the crucible of our troubled times. I got a copy of the lyrics with the PR pack and it’s a shame that they haven’t been included in the Bandcamp download I purchased, as these are words that speak truth to power and deserved to be re-read multiple times. To give you an idea I have included some extracts below.
In the way that the band LOW treat their lush harmonies with sandpaper and walls of radiant static so Dälek seem to be experimenting with sound in order to mirror the paranoia, confusion and anger of the world around us. It’s a magnificent album that intrigues, frightens, entertains and informs in equal measure. This is music on the edge of psychosis with laser-guided words for our fractured age. The feeling of being on a crumbling precipice permeates this album with everything focused by Dälek into a chilling triumph.
From ‘Decimation (Dis Nation)’
You preach division
Now you want to burn all the BOOKS that’s written!
Embark emboldened by my soldiers
Remnants of our past still smolders
Art forms advance displace weight off shoulders.
we all seek closure.
Grind back molars out of habit and stress
Whole world’s bi-polar who we gotta impress?
Free the imprisoned
I know .. too simplistic
Intrinsic evil left residue
Reacts against the very facts I been tried telling you
Society’s been failing you.
Boycott The Whole lot!
The structure, the whole spot
The vultures , the cold cops
Taking what our souls got
The fall proceeds winter
From cinders of me that are left perhaps you build a new kingdom.
Never now have I thought beyond my own breath until this instant
Been resistant to envision existence.
Not sure how to explain this mortal prison
To a new prisoner.
The world is sinister.
And when you speak there’ll be few listeners
We are ALL so different and yet somehow even MORE similar
Anger was our family’s signature
But its compassion at our core
We’ve endured, adapted, reacted.
Lineage over time has fractured.
Those that are left gather to recollect the echoes of past laughter.
Perhaps YOU truly ARE all that matters.
From ‘A Heretic’s Inheritance’
We born of concrete and granite
Survival is automatic
From my vantage? The tactics are classic
Mechanics to cause havoc
Impact of phrase lost to phase and dynamic
UK tour dates:
09/06/2022 UK Preston – The ferret
10/06/2022 UK London – Electrowerkz
11/06/2022 UK Birmingham – Centrala
12/06/2022 UK Manchester – White Hotel
13/06/2022 UK Newcastle – Cluny
14/06/2022 UK Bristol – the lanes
16/06/2022 UK Glasgow – Bloc+
Review by Paul F Cook