Album Review: Option Paralysis by The Dillinger Escape Plan
Great, Based on 7 Critics
Rock Sound - 90 Based on rating 9/10
Attention, everyone. Dillinger are back... Attention, everyone. Dillinger are back, and they’re not so much here for your children as they are to comprehensively fuck you all up with extreme prejudice. When one talks of vulgar displays of power there’s nothing so crass as a band this talented ….
The Dillinger Escape Plan, extreme metal pioneers from New Jersey whose lineup has been about as predictable as their music, made an apparent lurch toward accessibility on their last album, 2007's Ire Works, by incorporating aspects of disco and arena rock into their mathy brand of post-hardcore. But with Option Paralysis, heaviness prevails once again. Sure, DEP retains something of a pop sensibility on their latest effort, and they occasionally let it come up gasping for air before submerging it in a morass of intricate riffs and rhythm, but the melodic moments aren't anything that any human being raised on pop radio would recognize as a conventional pop or rock song.
The Dillinger Escape Plan don't make any major stylistic leaps on this, their fourth album. In some ways, it's a return to the shouty, spastic post-hardcore of their full-length debut, Calculating Infinity, abandoning the electronic freakouts of 2007's Ire Works while retaining some of the melodic elements, even if there's nothing here as almost radio-friendly as "Milk Lizard." Vocalist Greg Puciato has developed into quite the crooner, and even his shouting recalls Guy Picciotto more than Cookie Monster, when he's not borrowing Mike Patton's sneer. The band can still turn on a dime, musically speaking; its ultra-intricate jazz-metal breaks and solos that don't feel like solos are still very present.
Technical metal and hardcore scratch very different itches, despite sharing many of the same root-level obsessions (speed, aggression, you know the drill). One's fixated on a maniacal instrumental proficiency; the other strips rock down to a core of primitive blare. Dillinger Escape Plan's 1999 debut, Calculating Infinity, was a game-changing (and copycat-spawning) album because DEP excelled at both halves of the equation.
Ever since the release of their debut album, the genre-defining Calculating Infinity, Dillinger Escape Plan have had a tough time from the always hard to please hardcore scene. However you want to categorize them, be it metalcore, or tech-metal, or math-metal, or simply hardcore, Dillinger Escape Plan’s willingness or desire to experiment and fuck with their sound has caused them no end of flak, no end of 'I preferred their old stuff', but Dillinger Escape Plan are not the kind of band to buckle under the weight of such criticism. With Option Paralysis, Dillinger Escape Plan have created what is probably their most metal work to date, the one that is truest to their roots.
When the Dillinger Escape Plan abruptly left their longtime home Relapse Records and signed a deal with Europe-based label Season of Mist in May of 2009, it caught many off-guard, but it was impossible to ignore the new partnership’s enormous potential. After all, on one side you have one of the most daring, innovative acts in extreme music today, coming off three consecutive landmark full-length albums: 1999’s Calculating Infinity, 2004’s Miss Machine, and 2007’s Ire Works. On the other is a cutting-edge record label with very good worldwide distribution that boasts an impressive roster of diverse yet equally adventurous bands, including Cynic, Drudkh, Rotting Christ, the Gathering, and Psykup.
Album four from the mathcore innovators is another singular success. Mike Diver 2010 The past paints New Jersey’s The Dillinger Escape Plan as an impenetrable force of everything-against-nature, a combo whose combustive riffs were characterised solely by their mind-melting complexities. The past is both right and not: while the group, in their earliest incarnation (they’ve been through their share of members), essentially defined mathcore, a metal strand focusing on detailed dissonance, as their albums have passed the music has significantly evolved.