Release Date: Jan 27, 2009
Record label: Ipecac
Genre(s): Alternative, Rap
Coming off of the blistering beats and symphonic doom of Abandoned Language, New Jersey duo Dälek (pronounced dialect) continue swaggering down the same path that made their last album a success, and in a sense, Gutter Tactics could be considered Abandoned Language, Pt. 2. When you've found your sound, why make a departure? Previous tour dates with Ipecac labelmates -- Isis in particular -- prove to be hugely influential once again, as metallic fuzz and white-noise layers propel the agitated rhymes of dälek (the MC) in a thick swampy steam.
The hip-hop heads who follow the genre as closely as high rollers watch a horse race might have other ideas, but for my money Dälek (pronounced “DYE-a-leck”) was responsible for the best—and most depressing—rap song of 2007. Over 10 minutes in length, the title track from Abandoned Language channeled a world of depravity in the muted wail comprising half of the song’s melody, looped and sustained into oblivion. What begins as “typical” hip-hop fare sprawls upward and outward as bricks pile atop others and the instruments steadily crush everything beneath them, but not before Okt0pus and Dälek (the MC after whom the duo is named) have their way with words.
Review Summary: Gutter Tactics thick, doom sound that defined Dälek's approach has now turned back and smothered any attempt at a unique change.It has been two years since Abandoned Language, the last release by Dälek, and not much has changed. With Abandoned Language there contained a certain aura that made the drone hip-hop/experimental sound of Dälek so appealing. The album was cohesive, rhymes often bouncing off every eloquently spoken word, but with Gutter Tactics it has become rather redundant.Pastor Jeremiah Wright profoundly begins Gutter Tactics with his segment about the hypocritical state of the United States used as a sample.
For an outfit so volubly invested in the purity of hip hop, Dälek suddenly seem out of touch with the way hip hop gets things done. Even as they continue to expand the parameters of the rap genre, the duo – eponymous MC (hereafter with a lowercase D) and producer Oktopus – have hunkered into a pretty conservative relationship to the culture at large. Gutter Tactics, Dälek’s fifth album in about twice as many years, turns a lot of blind eyes: to the details of the grind, to the mixtape market and the YouTube beefs, to the weird way the rap microeconomy has of mainstreaming reprehensible but morbidly fascinating things.