Release Date: May 14, 2013
Record label: Sumerian Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Heavy Metal, Progressive Metal, Metalcore
With 2007’s Ire Works, 2010’s Option Paralysis, and now 2013’s One Of Us Is The Killer, New Jersey mathcore band The Dillinger Escape Plan have become one of the most consistently satisfying bands making music today. One Of Us Is The Killer is typical stellar Dillinger Escape Plan, which is very much a good thing; the record’s punishing screams, complex drum beats and overall explosive urgency give you exactly what you want in a Dillinger Escape Plan record. Many of One Of Us Is The Killer’s songs work so well because they impressively, on a dime, break down and pick right back up after a quick interlude, as on first two tracks Prancer and When I Lost My Bet.
Review Summary: As lethal as ever.From what I’ve witnessed about The Dillinger Escape Plan’s newest album and its incoming reception, it seems what’s on many peoples’ minds is whether the release will be “the one in which they stumble.” I probably shouldn’t get started on how wretched of a mindset this is, considering any experimental band will, at some point or another, displease each of its fans. But it’s important to underscore this mindset in order to explain One Of Us Is the Killer. By deriding the album for failing to live up to its predecessors, we're missing the point entirely.
While they're still more than capable of generating a sonic mass of technical chaos, it seems that these days the Dillinger Escape Plan are most comfortable and confident exploring more melodic pastures. On One of Us is the Killer, their fifth full-length and first for Sumerian Records, even the heaviest tracks–such as opening salvo "Prancer" and the furiously spastic "Hero of the Soviet Union"–break away into more traditional rock sounds midway through. The heavy parts are still convincing enough as to not feel forced, but it's clear the group have bigger things on their collective mind.Case in point: the absolutely jaw-dropping title track, which could almost be described as a really heavy Mars Volta song.
In the earlier part of their career, the Dillinger Escape Plan's sound was a glorious frenzy of unfathomable aggression and musicianship, with the band mashing disparate parts together to create something akin to a puzzle made up of pieces from random boxes that, somehow, made a complete picture. Now over a decade out from the savagely genius Calculating Infinity, the band has been continually refining its sound into something that, while still musically interesting, feels sharper and more focused. The results of this refinement shine through on the band's fifth studio album, One of Us Is the Killer.
The fifth full-length from mathcore giants the Dillinger Escape Plan, One of Us is the Killer is an example of experimental aggressive music under pressure, torqued and compressed until it bubbles over, explodes, bursts into flame. As vicious as they are indefatigable, the Dillinger Escape Plan are known for apocalyptic, acrobatic live performances that often involve vocalist Greg Puciato climbing amps or scaffolding, breathing fire and diving into the arms of the seething, screaming audience. They are able to bottle a great deal of that energy on One of Us is the Killer, an explosive and unpredictable record that often fractures and falls apart, suddenly spraying shrapnel.
Defined by angular chord stabs over the mathematic, shredding riffs usually expected from The Dillinger Escape Plan, lead single ‘Prancer’ turns out to be a pretty good representation of ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’ as a whole. Though there are plenty of technical riffs written large and small across this record, the overall feel is of something sharp but flat, a knife rather than a needle. ‘Hero Of The Soviet Union’ is a prime example; though there is an escalating motif that pulls up short of collapsing entirely, the bulk of the work is done with hyper-aggressive guitar rips and stabs.