Album Review // Die Antwoord – Donker Mag
Three albums in Die Antwoord have got no less inventive or, to quote their signature song, Freeky. One thing though hasn’t changed; Ninja, Yolandi and DJ Hi-Tek are still a wildly listenable trio despite what appearances may suggest. Donker Mag slows down the pace a little from the erotically charged rap of previous albums but don’t make any mistakes, the band is still on fire, even if the fire doesn’t burn quite in the same way.
That said, the says-it-all call out from album track Happy Go Sucky Fucky, (No, we didn’t censor that!) ‘Fuck your rules!’ pretty much sets the agenda, as well as setting up the audience call out of the upcoming tour. Of course, this being Die Antwoord there are some moments that perplex rather than entertain, such as the rather odd interlude ‘Pompie’, but the fully formed songs are where the real goodness is to be found.
With more of a rave angle in place on this occasion than rap, the beats are truly well formed here. The Afro-beat meets rave melange of Girl I Want 2 Eat U is filthy and fun, Pitbull Terrier is just as effective without the accompanying video (if you’ve seen it, you’ll know just what we mean) and on the whole you wish the band would have dropped some of the skits (however funny they are on occasion) and given us more beats. But with some choice material on offer, there’s little to truly detract from the experience.
The Yolandi moments are particularly sharp on Donker Mag as well, with the quieter track Strunk veering somewhere between out and out balladic-weirdness and comedy. That said though, it’s good to see the band doing something different and it works in a surreal sort of way. The interlude Do Not Fuk Wif The Kid is truly a scary listen, with Yolandi offering sweetly intoned threats before the hard-edged Rat Trap 666 kicks in, perhaps the closest to rap on the album.
In all honesty though, if you’ve got to this point of the album you probably have listened to their previous two and decided that Zef is your thing. If you don’t like swearing, beats, rave and references to sex then Die Antwoord will definitely not be your cup of tea. But arguably, Donker Mag is a gentler introduction to their music than Ten$ion or $0$ and is recommended for sure. As a whole, Donker Mag feels a bit disjointed but taken as individual moments there is much to enjoy. But, perfection is elusive after all…