Dälek Absence

Perhaps one of the most furiously uncompromising acts in underground hip-hop, Dälek have built a respectful following (and critical accolades) over the years for their combination of abrasive beats, wall-of-noise production and abstract lyrics, not to mention their ferociously intense live performances. Absence is their third effort (not including a highly experimental collaboration with kraut-rock legends Faust) and finds the trio of Octopus, Dälek and Joshua Booth entering an abrasive groove that isn’t really a progression from their last two albums at all, but something of a standstill. There are some moments here that shine through, like the Divine Styler-ish flow touches near the end of "Asylum (Permanent Underclass)” or the swelling ambient instrumental work of "Koner,” but many of the songs on Absence suffer from sounding the same. After a few songs Dälek’s attempts to shock or intrigue listeners with the same grating noise-scape and bob heads with the same shuffling tempo begin to fall flat, but by the end of the album you’ll be bored stiff. If Dälek expect to remain relevant over the years, they’re going to have to progress with them. (Ipecac)