Having explored dystopian science fiction with their astonishing 2016 release Splendor & Misery, experimental rap trio clipping. tackle the hip-hop subgenre known as horrorcore on their third Sub Pop full-length. Taking influence from the 1973 vampire-themed cult classic Ganja & Hess as well as the Geto Boys and early Three 6 Mafia, the group paint portraits of harrowing scenes filled with stalkers on the prowl and ruthless carnage. Daveed Diggs' rapid-fire verses are precise and unflinching, detailing gruesome scenes with pinpoint accuracy. Much of the album, particularly the interludes, is filled with field recordings, giving the sensation of being on the run and uncertain of one's fate. "Nothing Is Safe" features suspenseful, repetitive piano clearly inspired by John Carpenter, but sidestepping the tropes of synthwave, and while the bombastic synths and skittering beats are closer to trap, this is far from that style's druggy, hedonistic tendencies. The album's most exciting tracks are downright hallucinatory. "La Mala Ordina" has a lurching, woozy beat and potent guest verses by Benny the Butcher and Elcamino, and once Diggs returns, the track becomes engulfed in scorching, all-consuming distortion courtesy of Canadian harsh noise master the Rita. For the first half of "Run for Your Life," the track's eerie melody and nervous heartbeat-like pulsations briefly flicker behind Diggs' voice, only fully appearing in time for a merciless verse by Hypnotize Minds-affiliated Memphis rap legend La Chat. During "All in Your Head," Robyn Hood's fiery incantations are electronically stretched and scattered over fits-and-starts bursts of disconnection static, eventually clearing the way for stirring, gospel-inspired singing by Counterfeit Madison. The searing, cut-up noise of performance art duo Pedestrian Deposit matches the breathless lyrics about acid burning flesh during "Attunement." Ending the album is a recording of "Piano Burning," a 1968 composition by Annea Lockwood, indeed consisting of a piano being set on fire. Hearing this literal destruction of music is an about-face from the album's previous content, but it's every bit as chilling.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson