Where do you begin to describe a band like The Dillinger Escape Plan? What started as an admittedly game changing, but ultimately describable, math-metal project has evolved into a five-headed progressive juggernaut that seamlessly blends technical metallic hardcore with jazz, industrial, electronica, and just about anything else that takes their collective fancy.
Dillinger have always proudly worn their self-confidence on their sleeve, and it’s unsurprising that the moment they thought things could start to get stale they decided to burn out rather than fade away. This album, aptly titled ‘Dissociation’, is their swansong; one last hurrah before going their separate ways. A sad moment, perhaps, but a moment that will make one final meteoric impact.
Opener ‘Limerant Death’ starts a lot more subdued than we’re used to from Dillinger, but as early as 26 seconds in we’re hit with that trademark chaos, and from that point on it’s absolutely impossible to tell what’s about to happen at any given moment.
These guys are the absolute masters of keeping the listener guessing. The best example of this is ‘Wanting Not So Much As To’, with a disturbing snare and clean guitar intro building into pandemonium, and then disappearing into a black hole. Literally, the song is seemingly swallowed up by an industrial vortex before a spoken word section carries us through to one of the biggest clean choruses of their career, and back out again to the most harrowing vocal Greg Puciato has ever recorded.
Following this is the unexpected ‘Fugue’ – almost 4 minutes of glitching electronica that wouldn’t be out of place on a Venetian Snares album. Somehow, as with everything Dillinger try their hand at, it really works and serves as a perfect bridge into the panic-inducing ‘Low Feels Blvd’, the most ‘Calculating Infinity’ track they’ve written since… well, ‘Calculating Infinity’.
‘Dissociation’ does seem to serve as a bit of a potted history of the band, flitting effortlessly between every style they’ve ever experimented with. As usual, the Mike Patton worship is strong, and there are some moments seemingly lifted from ‘Irony Is A Dead Scene’, but, obvious influences aside, Puciato‘s vocal evolution is one of the most dazzling in modern memory. His clean vocals are incredibly distinctive, but his aggressive vocals are absolutely terrifying, and there are times where you’d believe those noises aren’t human.
Speaking of inhuman, the musicianship on ‘Dissociation’ is top tier, and cements the individuals in the band amongst the absolute best in their respective fields. Drummer Billy Rymer puts in a particularly impressive performance and every single beat, from the most intense blasting to the most subtle dropped kick drum or off-beat snare, is placed with military precision.
It’s an absolute crime that The Dillinger Escape Plan are calling it a day, but, at the same time, you have to respect them for the way they’ve gone about it. More than two decades after their initial inception they’re still one of the most challenging, innovative, and perplexing bands of all time, and they want to walk away with their heads held high knowing that’s still the case. ‘Dissociation’ is the perfect end to an illustrious career, and leaves them with a faultless back catalogue. How many other bands can boast that?
Written by Liam Knowles (@wearefixtures)