ALBUM REVIEW: Dälek – Precipice

Dälek (pronounced ‘Die-a-leck’) returns with a new album Precipice on Mike Patton’s Ipecac Records. In what is becoming a common refrain of recent times, the album originally planned for 2019 has been completely overhauled because of the pandemic, and the chaotic times we currently find ourselves in. The duo of MC Dälek and DJ Mike Manteca felt that the originally planned album wasn’t strong, angry or heavy enough for the times we have endured. The added strength, anger and heaviness are indeed defining features on Precipice.

Opening track ‘Lest We Forget’ is several minutes of instrumental transcendental noise and static both calming and abrasive acting as a calm before the storm, leaving you almost in a dreamlike state. Therefore when ‘Boycott’ hits it hits hard, and we head into more familiar territory with the down-tempo boom bap beats stomping a heavy groove, whilst psychedelic jangly noisescapes hypnotise. All of this serves as the perfect backdrop for MC Dälek spitting out crafted lyrics which mix a raw cathartic anger with a clever intellect to refine the message with laser like focus.

We also see a mellower side towards the middle of the album, which tempers the fire a little and adds dimension. The slowdown continues into ‘The Harbingers’ which is painfully lethargic, almost like it’s crying for help, an exhausted lament, the relentless slow pace giving the sensation of breaking down and shuddering to keep going under the weight, struggling to carry on, the music mirroring the lyrical content expertly. ‘Devotion (when I cry the wind disappears)’ starts to pick the mood back up with its post-rock stylings, giving an open chested magnificence to the orchestration, and whilst solemn we sense a return of a faint sense of hope and optimism, all whilst maintaining a slow industrial sound and motivational feel to the lyrics.

‘A Heretics Inheritance’ is a standout track which sees Tool‘s Adam Jones provides his familiar guitar stylings, which imbued with their own trippy rhythm dance around the main beat providing a wonderful backdrop to MC Dälek’s prose. As he states in this track, he holds himself to high standards, and this Dälek certainly delivers on those standards. By the title track ‘Precipice’ and closer ‘Incite’ the fire has returned: abrasive, fiery, a dark and noisy rebelliousness is once again in the air, we’ve been through hell and not let it break us.

I think this is my favourite Dälek album since 2005’s Absence, which was an absolute masterpiece. An emotional journey which serves as a document of strange times, better than many who may try, and truly cathartic.

Buy the album here:

8 / 10