After Cannibal Ox released The Cold Vein last year, hip-hop heads began clamoring for more stuff that mixes ambient noise with East Coast rhyming. So all hail the real kings of noise-drenched hip-hop: Dälek. This Newark, New Jersey, outfit has rejuvenated all the jaded, indie-rock, Public Enemy-lovin' mofos with hard-hitting beats, brain-buzzing lyrics and emotion that crescendos higher with every song. Their latest, From the Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots, opens with what sounds like the repeated scream of a mechanical eagle being beaten with a bat. On the next track, slow-burning tension climaxes with the group's lyricist and namesake Dälek repeatedly saying, "Yo, I'm askin', what happened?" The question is delivered with such pleading earnestness that it could bring listeners to tears--not that you know what the hell he's talking about. As for the musical backdrop, group members Oktopus and Still create an industrial auditory assault infused with tinkly piano, 4AD-reminiscent ambient dreamscapes, sounds that mimic a hunk of steel meeting a rotary saw--and don't forget the old-school drum breaks. Awww yeah.

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