DÄLEK – Gutter Tactics (2009)

Dälek - Gutter Tactics The last two Dälek albums, Absence and Abandoned Language, were both dense portraits that pulsated with dark grooves and a sobering political reality. Given this, Gutter Tactics begins much as one might expect it to; by sampling a sermon of Jeremiah Wright in the opening track, Blessed Are They Who Bash Your Children’s Head Against A Rock – a title which acts as a revelatory Beatitude for our times.

In interviews, Dälek continually have to assert that they do indeed play hip-hop, to a wide variety of people who somehow think they don’t. It’s true that they are a touch unorthodox in their approach, but they’re still hip-hop nonetheless. Their music is packed with deft rhymes, steady beats, some samples and a nigh unstoppable flow; that’s hip-hop to a tee. Still, I can forgive all the journalists who might balk at calling Dälek’s music hip-hop, as the band have no qualms whatsoever about pushing their songs into realms that hip-hop does not typically tread into.

On Gutter Tactics, one such genre-defiant song is Who Medgar Evers Was…; it soldiers forward like a powerful death machine, before slowing down, and down, and down, as if all the gears were failing at once. It’s frightening to listen to; it’s got a to it power that the genre hasn’t exhibited as strongly in over a decade; you’d have to go back to the heyday of Public Enemy to find something that’s equally as charged and ready to blow.

While my initial reaction is that Gutter Tactics may not be quite as volatile as Absence or Abandoned Language are, but it still packs one hell of a punch. If you’re looking to dive into a hip-hop album some serious edge to it, look no further.

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