Endangered Philosophies


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Endangered Philosophies Review

by Paul Simpson

New Jersey noise rap pioneers Dälek resurfaced in 2016 after a period of inactivity, with MC dälek (Will Brooks) accompanied by previous collaborators DJ rEk and Mike Manteca rather than the group's longtime producer Oktopus, who left in 2010. Following the revamped lineup's initial foray, Asphalt for Eden, released by Canadian metal label Profound Lore Records, Dälek returned to Mike Patton's Ipecac label (home to the majority of the group's discography) with the follow-up, Endangered Philosophies. Almost immediately, it becomes apparent that the slightly underwhelming Asphalt for Eden was just a warm-up, and that this is the group's true comeback. The guitars are sludgier, the drums are harder and crunchier, and the production is denser and busier. In addition to all of this, dälek's lyrics are more direct and urgent than ever, referencing cases of police brutality against African-Americans and calling for resistance and change. At times the swirling, swarming noise comes close to drowning out the vocals, but dälek prevails, and the production dramatically underscores his messages. As with the group's previous album, the subject matter is bleak and dälek admits he doesn't always have solutions or answers to everything, but he doesn't stop encouraging people to rise up, protest, and fight. On songs like "Beyond the Madness," the message is that we are all human, oppression is real, humanity is in peril, but we have to maintain hope and work for a better future. The group's shoegaze-influenced washes of guitar noise and midtempo breakbeats couldn't be a better backdrop for such intense lyrical content -- equally abrasive and hypnotic, it sounds bracing yet beautiful, and holds the listener's attention. Endangered Philosophies is another triumphant, socially relevant album from the masters of industrial shoegaze hip-hop.

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