It's not easy being the most innovative hip-hop crew on Earth, but Dälek is persevering with gusto. On their third album proper (ignoring a crucial collab with Faust), Abandoned Language, the New Jersey trio scales back on the caustic noise grind and ushers in eerier tones and more blissful atmospheres than found on their previous full-lengths. Here, finesse trumps brute power and in-the-red squalls, elements that Dälek had taken farther than anyone in hip-hop history. Language is the group's most melodically accomplished work, and it also exhibits producer Oktopus' and turntablist Still's continued mastery of drones. MC Dälek's verses continue to boil with articulate rage, lamenting the lack of progress for minorities, and documenting centuries-old injustices as well as current oppression and strife. Dälek's music may have slightly simmered, but its quality remains as staggeringly high as ever-its sting is just more subliminal now.