19 June 2016

dälek - Asphalt for Eden

Dälek are a band that my friends have been raving about for years, but one that I have been trying to fit into my playlist for an awfully long time without much success.  Formed in the mid-1990's in New Jersey, over the course of thirteen years they built up a reputation of being outside the normal boundaries of hip-hop, making dark and dangerous experimental hip-hop that had a harsher groove than your Jay-Z's of the world.  Making waves wherever they went, they were at one point signed to Ipecac Records (which is probably why my friends were raving about them), but in the end of 2010 to 2011 the band went into hiatus with members being spread out around the world and pursuing individual goals.  But in 2015, there were rumbling that Dälek were once again about to come out of the dark and attack the world.  Now, as I said I have not really heard too much of their music before; but with a new album out now, it seems like it was meant to be.  Time to find out what all the fuss is about....

Starting off the album is "Shattered" and from the beginning we are introduced to a harsh and confrontational environment, a determined anthem for going through barriers and my deity, does this song deliver the goods.  It is one of those moments where the introduction takes my breath away, it is one of the strongest openings to an album I have ever heard and in one song the hype from all my friends, magazines, fanzines and websites has been justified.  It crosses genres and mixes them in a hardball, bass dropping, noise groove that will convert people to their music style in a heartbeat.  "Guaranteed Struggle" is the first song to have been released from this album, with a strange and trippy video that confuses the senses in places.  But the music is not confusing, a song about trying to stay humble whilst knowing how good you are with all the points in between, there are some political messages in there as well and it all comes together in a great follow up to "Shattered".  It is a strong number, with some harsh beats, big drops and the rhymes are just so good on this song.  It is a brilliant hip song, very dark and noisy without giving anything up to anyone and taking no prisoners.  "Masked Laughter (Nothing's Left)" slows down the music slightly, but it does not slow down the intensity by one iota.  The music sounds like a mixture of harsh electronica, blaring horns, droning synths and loose drum machine beats; it is a song that I have been lost in each time that I listen to it, with a sample about revolution and how it changes humanity.  It is a strong number, each to any song on the album and it is all about the need for change and that something will have to give at one point in the world to make up for all the shit and repression that has been going on.  It is a powerful song, you cannot deny the anger behind it and one day it might just explode. 

"Critical" is adds the larger than life sound back to the mix, but the anger is still on the surface and mixing in with the noise.  It is all harsh sounds, dark synths once more and some of the heaviest rapping I have heard in an awfully long time. It reminds me of the second half of 'Angels & Devils' when everything just went to hell in a burning hand basket, it is just as aggressive as that and if you have read that previous review, you will know how much I loved that album.  This song is a towering number, full of big drops, huge samples and one of the best songs of 2016 - fact.  "6dB" starts with a guitar riff looping around, which is totally out of time with the beat when it eventually comes in to play which causes an uneasy feeling that takes a while to shift.  I love that sort of piece in a song, it is not meant for comfort, it is meant to cause you mind to know something is not right and that is trying to play catch up.  All the while, the band are creating a moment of instrumental wonderment that at the right time is just hits all the right spots.  The penultimate song of the album is called "Control" is all about being controlled by outside influences and once again it is not taking any prisoners, telling it how it is and not sugar coating it at all.  The sample at the beginning of the song is fantastic, it is all about how the world is given an illusion of freedom; something that you cannot say sounds familiar in Western society.  It is an intriguing and powerful song, one that gives so much more with each subsequent spin.  Ending the album is "It Just Is" which slows the mood down once again, but once again it does not slow down the intensity of the album.  It continues the overall themes of the album, freedom is an illusion, we are all stuck in this without hope unless there is total change and it is how it is.  It is a dark moment to end the album on, but it is also one that makes so much sense to me - the world is all about how we view it and this song sums up the themes of 'Asphalt for Eden' perfectly, which is that we are all fucked.

I love this album, it is at its heart an album that is crying for change, showing us how fucked we all truly are and that we need to break the mould.  They have taken just seven songs to change me into a believer of their sound and I am wanting to heard more of their sounds as soon as possible.   Musically, they are as important as The Bug & Death Grips in terms of noise and as important in terms of protest as D'Angelo & The Vanguard.  They bring something totally unique to the table and it is such a brilliant release; I am trying to find an issue with the release and apart from wanting more (which is just selfish), I cannot think of one.  It is a brilliant album, one of the contenders for (at least on my personal list) the album of the year in 2016.

9 out of ten - Almost perfect, almost

Top track - Critical

You can purchase Asphalt for Eden on Amazon here

The deadverse recordings website acts as the official website for Dälek

You can visit the Profound Lore website here, where you can also purchase Asphalt for Eden 

You can follow the activities of Dälek on Facebook here

You can stream Asphalt for Eden on Deezer here

You can stream Asphalt for Eden on Spotify here

You can stream Asphalt for Eden on Tidal here

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