Dalek has long been a group for outsiders. Embracing noise, industrial and ambient genres while still holding a tenuous grip on their New York hip hop roots. There is something strangely prescient about their mix of these genres being their own thing while fully embracing a structured sound that embodies the new york aesthetic at the same time. So after a long break Dalek returns. Will brooks (Dalek and the voice thereof) broke away from longtime producer Oktopus and has found a new producer to help him bring his street stories to life. Hip hop more than nearly any other genre lives and dies by the producer as much as the person rhyming and therefore a change as drastic as this could truly shake up the final output in a huge way.
All this said I am glad to express that this album is still firmly sliding into the overall sound that Dalek has created up to this point. Still embracing a strong sense of dense production and rough but well thought out rhymes. Where things change is that with new production has come a stronger sense of ambience within the songs dare i say moments of melody in a traditional sense. This is not to say the production itself is more of a traditional style but to mention a more deft sense of quiet while maintaining what makes the music theirs in the first place.
The first two tracks float by embracing what Dalek has always done, deft rhyming coupled with industrial styled production. This helps the listener fall into the album. These tracks are incredibly slow for the hip hop genre almost giving the sense of el-p playing on stage with Godflesh. This is until "Masked Laughter" which seems to fully embraced the more ethereal side of the group. Opening with a calm wash of synth before dropping in a calm beat everything just floats before the rhymes cut in. Almost disassociating from the rest of the song Will Brooks sounds almost angry here. The differing outputs come together in a remarkable way and fully embracing what Dalek has always been.
This Record is a long awaited return for fans, and a strong starting points for new listeners. The increased ambience allows newer listeners to partially avoid the bombardment of sound that Dalek has been known for while still being able to hear the full range of what they do. The further embracing of calmer elements shows a new side of the group while helping to make the songs, and album as a whole more fully featured. Dalek is what would happen if you took El-P, Killing Joke, My Bloody Valentine and Godflesh and forced them into a room making them produce a record. While that seems like it'd be a mess of noise what Dalek has done is take all of that and distill it down to make something nasty and beautiful.
8.5 / 10
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