The first cut, "Spiritual Healing," dives into what sounds like the repeated scream of a mechanical eagle as it's beaten with a bat. The lyrics are mostly abstract yet provocative: Who you pray to, my god/The black god?/Who you pray to, my god/The brown god?/Who you pray to, my god/The white god? The second cut is equally strong, with a slow tension that climaxes with the group's lyricist and namesake, Dälek, saying, "Yo, I'm askin', what happened?" over and over. The refrained question is delivered with such pleading earnestness, the result is compelling enough to bring tears -- not that you know the hell he's talking about, but goddamn, sniff, why did it have to happen?
As for the musical backdrop, group members Oktopus and Still create an industrial auditory assault infused with tinkly piano, 4AD-reminiscent ambient dreamscapes and sounds that mimic a hunk of steel meeting a rotary saw -- and don't forget the old-school drum breaks. Aww yeah.
Like Anticon or the Anti-Pop Consortium, when Dälek first began making music the group had a hard time finding a niche in hip-hop. But like those other groups, it didn't much care, either. East Coast independent label Matador released one of its 12-inches, and From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots is out on Ipecac. Dälek has said that the original intent of hip-hop was much more punk-rock than all the pop music it has become, anyway. If that's true, then this album is this year's Never Mind the Bollocks.