At this point, it’s impossible to determine what defines a publicity stunt in the world of Death Grips anymore. They’ve pressed the self-destruct button so many times it’s all a blur, their implosions as much a part of their success story as the music itself. In many ways, this album —the one they leaked after canceling their tour without even notifying their own team, the one that got them dropped from Epic Records — was the turning point, the chapter where the cagey group pointed their middle fingers (and, on the original cover art, one erect, Sharpie-scrawled penis) at all of us, making it clear once and for all that they’re not playing around, not even a little bit.
“Come on,” shouts frontman Stefan Burnett, over the scratches and screams of “Lock Your Doors,” daring his detractors without irony to “stick me, cut me, drain me, suck me, trick me, take me, down.” At that point — just six songs into No Love Deep Web, you have two choices: 1) Subscribe to the trio’s chaos theories and listen to them LOUD, or 2) Walk away like nothing happened, like you didn’t see footage. Which would be missing the point. Death Grips are determined to make us Question Everything in ways the music industry hasn’t witnessed in far too long, whether expressed through sucker-punched bass lines (“Artificial Death in the West”), oxygen-depleting vocal takes (“Come Up and Get Me”), or mechanized melodies that could turn a mosh pit into a killing field (“No Love”). How these broadcasts reach the public hardly matters. Abruptly leaked or properly pressed, Death Grips is out for blood, even if it means spilling some of their own in the process.