A lot of people will tell you that you have to master the rules before you start to break them. Those same people might tell you that uniqueness as a trait doesn't always translate into quality, but lucky for us we have Thotcrime to prove them wrong. The intercontinental commotion causers seem to have stuck the landing with their intensely non-conventional cybergrind style very early doors. Debut effort ønyøurcømputer refused to slow down for anybody and was a powerful, if not a little bit jarring delight; now D1G1T4L_DR1FT has upped the ante with a refined effort that somehow wrangles the absolute chaos of its own genre dabblings into a more nailed-on and recognisable form. This is an achievement in and of itself, given that the album runs just shy of half an hour all told.
Thotcrime don't need nearly that long to get rowdy, however. Huge, thumping opener "This Isn't Foundation, Now Give Me Your Skin Please?" is a hardcore delight, alternating sizzling blast beats and anarchic energy in one of the record's more metal-focused efforts. These guitar-focused sensibilities crop up in more tracks later on, namely the high-octane, EDM-fused "There Will Come Soft Rains" and "Critical Co-Dependence", which starts out as a breakdown-heavy collision course and swings 180 degrees into melodic pop-synth madness with seemingly no effort. It's these meeting places that make cybergrind so interesting; testing the limits of each genre to breaking point, then crashing them together to witness the explosion.
There's plenty in the tank for those of the non-analogue persuasion, too. "Tweet This!" is a digital playground, electronic elements and chirpy sonic accoutrements skipping over that hardcore centre in a mass of noise designed to rattle skulls, while "trust//:fall" blends aggressive synth raging with chiptune style bips and boops to great effect. The whole sound of the album feels like an oncoming brick wall, filling the space between you and it with an air of overwhelming size and unstoppable impact.
Here's the thing though; this isn't just unbridled, blurred lines noise, not by any stretch. There are meaningful moments and personal vulnerabilities on show here amongst the chaos. "I Couldn't End Me, So I'd Like to See You Try" stands out as a track that could speak for itself on title alone, but the band's excellent songwriting creates an anthemic rallying cry from it. There's plenty of artificial sounds here, but not a whole lot of artificiality.
Thotcrime are starting to feel like the tip of a spear, leading an incoming wave of a new genre's assault on our senses, before being thrust into the collective consciousness and jiggled around until we get the idea. D1G1T4L_DR1FT takes zero prisoners and makes zero compromise and it's an all-out frenzy of sound designed to make you sit up and pay attention. Consider us paying attention.