Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Dillinger Escape Plan - Option Paralysis (review)

It's Mathcore Madness!

It has been more than a decade since the release of The Dillinger Escape Plan’s acclaimed 1999 progressive metalcore debut “Calculating Infinity.” The group continues with their latest release doing what they do best: providing catchy unpredictable aural assaults while trying to experiment with new sounds and styles.

The first track “Farewell, Mona Lisa” foreshadows what’s to become of the band’s longest album to date. The first part features their signature burst of chaos exemplified by guitarist Ben Weinman and newly recruited drummer Billy Rymer.

Almost two minutes in, the song displays an ebb and flow effect where vocalist Greg Puicato shines in his dynamic vocal range following a tremendous band-central climax.

Although not as apparent, it’s great to hear that their characteristic hypersonic and discordant style is not forgotten in this record.
“Good Neighbor” features many dissonant yet enticing guitar runs by Weinman while Rymer can hit multiple time signatures without error. It has a lot of energy which when translated live, can entice large scale moshes.

The instrumental capabilities of Weinman and Rymer are best heard in “Endless Endings.” The majority of the track sounded like a much harder version of experimental jazz band Naked City. Weinman’s fast solos and chords sound like an altered interpretation of many different cultures of music and Rymer does his best to the point that it’s reminiscent of former DEP drummer Chris Pennie.

Some select songs from previous albums “Miss Machine” and “Ire Works” featured DEP experimenting with a pop music approach in mind, much different from their heavier pieces. “Option Paralysis” takes what made those songs great and adds a fitting metal edge, which makes the overall sound more cohesive.

“Gold Teeth On A Bum” best displays their new approach. Taking notes from former collaborator Faith No More’s Mike Patton, Puicato uses various vocal styles throughout.

From whispering, to screeching and then to singing, Puicato knows which style is perfect for each section. The band aids him resulting in a more tenacious unit instead of one particular member standing out.

“Widower” is another great example of the band’s experimentation in the album. Enrolling pianist Mike Garson, the song evolves from being very isolating and later on deconstructing.

Although being the longest album compared to the others for the band with only three songs falling below three minutes, there are still intense songs that justify its length.

“Room Full Of Eyes” still sounds like DEP but halfway in is a very pummeling doom dirge where everybody can headbang to.

Each album sounds like a logical progression in which “Option Paralysis” follows what made best with their previous work. With four albums and multiple member changes, The Dillinger Escape Plan excels at what they do and always tries to tread new ground, while not compromising who they are.