Dillinger Escape Plan reminds me of some massive cyborg amalgamation machine – the foundation to the unit was laid down on 1998’s Under the Running Boards and perhaps more specifically 1999’s Disasterpiece Calculating Infinity, but ever since then the band, in spite of (or perhaps because of) their fluctuating lineup has added to itself by absorbing its influences and reverse-engineering them into that foundation, so that a track like Black Bubblegum from 2007’s Ire Works is Justin Timberlake coated in electronic honeycombs of pain and barbiturates and turned in upon himself. This makes sense: always a heavily influenced band these were the guys who did the marginally disappointing iTunes exclusive Plagiarism E.P. in 2006 – a digital collection of covers that were so well-picked that the final realization that the songs had been done true-to-form instead of ‘dillinger-ized’ (such as the Mike Patton-helmed cover of Aphex Twin’s Come to Daddy on 2002’s Irony Is A Dead Scene) was a bit of a let down. But still that selection of covers* seemed to have shed light on why DEP, despite flirting with a scream-o scene is so damn amazing to many of us who still hearken back to the 90’s as a more definitive time for exploration within heavy music. DEP’s newest album, Option Paralysis is a continuation of this amalgamating force, further utilizing layering and structure techniques the guys have previously picked up from groups like Faith No More, NIN and Autechre while shifting a bit to some more melody-centric arrangements featuring, of all things, grand piano.
However, do not let this fool you. Option Paralysis is every bit as technical and punishing as their previous albums**. Folks who mistake the group’s divergent experimentation should sit the fuck down and take notes – the bludgeoning math-metal means a hell of a lot more when juxtaposed with all these other seemingly disparate but here fully-integrated ideas and influences. By track three your exhausted, seven your renewed and ten you’ll find yourself hitting ‘Repeat’ and retiring to the garage for a hammer to smash common household appliances with. Dillinger is dangerously violent disposition streamlined and personified: Patrick Bateman obscuring his (real or imaginary) need for murder with a droll and superficial career and social life or the homicidal designs of the cheerfully convenient robot servant who plans to murder the futuristic family of five even while it does their laundry.
Live these guys are always on and always a show, and I’m salivating at seeing them perform this new material. Another album from one of the bands that completely squash the argument so many aging stoners have that no good music comes out today. Shut the fuck up and go support Dillinger – they may have changed, but it’s right inline with where they were coming from originally. And besides, to stay static you might as well be dead, right?
*Covers performed on Plagiarism:
Wish – Nine Inch Nails
Jesus Christ Pose – Soundgarden
Wish – Massive Attack
Like I Love You – Justin Timberlake
** Okay, nothing is as intense as Calculating Infinity.
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