The Dillinger Escape Plan
(Party Smasher Inc.)
To drag something through the core of the earth as long as The Dillinger Escape Plan have and not be entirely destroyed is pretty amazing. In fact, they’ve left outlined craters of their bodies across the entire earth, staining their blood along the way, truly showcasing that music at the end of the day is the purest form of energy to be harnessed. Now, that long road that began with next to nothing in terms of expectations is slowing down, almost to a complete halt. But that is not before Dissociation plays much like a serial killer and gives fans one more taste of of their own blood from the New Jersey act.
While The Dillinger Escape Plan have always been known for manufacturing chaos and then shackling it into their songs, it has been a while since the band has felt truly out of control. No, that’s not right; it’s been a while since The Dillinger Escape Plan whipped chaos into shape for their own fun. The pacing of Dissociation is all over the place, the songs breathe much like a freshly injured individual — total shock.
Instead of the normal calm Ben Weinman felt writing the record, the guitar player felt overwhelmingly anxious during the creative process, allowing that to sink in with Dissociation for the swan song of the year. Opener “Limerent Death” finds the band stomping through time signatures as if tap dancing on needles, with Greg Puciato somehow figuring out a way to produce audible lyrics over the top. It’s a general clusterfuck that sends shivers down the spine of listeners because the song is the pure definition of adrenaline. The song is psychotically paced with twisting bridges, atypical drum patterns and shrieking vocals to lead into an ending which is what the audible psychological explanation of schizophrenia might sound like.
And it found its way into the core of Dissociation. For those fans who have been wanting progressions to be as crazy as Calculating Infinity, well here you go. “Wanting Not So Much As To” is a hefty five minute track of mind shattering progressions. Listen after listen it is hard to figure out where the hell the band is going to turn, but Weinman still finds a way to infuse brilliant jazz meditations into the track. I’ve always said Billy Rymer is the best drummer around, and being able to plot out the course for a rhythm foundation to the song shows how crafty the band is at knowing their madness and sticking to it. The song ends a bit more calm than it began, but there are still parts of Dissociation that showcase pure chaos. “Manufacturing Discontent” utilizes a lot of grooves that weave through melodious sections only to rip them in half with more incredible beat downs. The middle of the song features Puciato on top of the earth letting listeners know that this is it, there are no more directions.
“Fugue” continues the trend of having auxiliary percussion burst into a song’s formatting. The synths act like a vacuum in the atmosphere, creating an ominous swirl of music that feels like a partial soundtrack to the end of the world. When it ends The Dillinger Escape Plan return with fury burning in their palms on “Low Feels Blvd,” finding accenting notes for Liam Wilson to center a bellowing bass on, flying alongside Weinman’s leads in between these pulses. The song winds down into yet another outstanding jazz loop, showcasing Weinman’s frantic creative identity and fracturing as the rush to the end spirals into dizzying feedback. The best part about Dissociation is every song has that “shit, THIS is the craziest part of this record,” save for the ominous and bomb detonating melodious “Symptom Of Terminal Illness.” The Dillinger Escape Plan with every track find another way to stun the mind with vertigo obliterating sections, or entire songs like “Honeysuckle.”
“Nothing To Forget” opens with a commanding drum line, leading the band into a sonic palette that can be visualized as a painting with color everywhere, with a rather beautiful middle section full of whim and wonder. It is as if there’s a slight beam of light at the end of the tunnel throughout the anxiety, or maybe it’s finally coming to terms with its presence, understanding that this is the necessary atmosphere needed to complete the journey. The title track is the final closer for The Dillinger Escape Plan, and it is the most aspiring one to date. The song is a meditative, sweet sounding tune full of an ambitious Puciato delivering a beautiful singing performance. It’s a sendoff that doesn’t have to be about the explosion that was the previous 10 tracks. It’s rather gorgeous and if anything, this showcases how insane the musicality of The Dillinger Escape Plan is, being able to finally twist the altered percussion and synths into a brilliant goodbye. It’s touching. This mainstay of four individuals in the past half of a decade can finally find peace, whether it be floating off into the distance or staring at the sunset.
The Dillinger Escape Plan will go down in history because of their finesse. Dissociation sounds anything but the band out of place, out of touch or emotionally uninvested. This is a record that proves that throughout their whole career the band never lingered into the realm of insignificance. If this truly is the end, then may my mind never find peace trying to grasp the schizophrenic orchestration that is Dissociation.