The Dillinger Escape Plan ~ An Analysis + Option Paralysis Review
Written by: Steve Moore
We welcome back guest musician writer Steve Moore of the Unravelling and Post-Death Soundtrack as he crafts an excellent break-down of the new DEP album, Option Paralysis.
Most people don’t understand The Dillinger Escape Plan. I think that’s a pretty safe statement to make. Of course, most people live quite low intensity lives, and are used to running away when the stakes are high and the chance of loss is imminent. It can be argued that screaming, and noise made by humans, are in fact human expression; just like laughing, crying, singing, humming, whispering, or playing common scales on musical instruments. Aggression, being well within the realm of honest human experience, is art. It can also be quite useful and constructive – it can contribute to self-belief. Of course, tackling these kinds of sounds and facing these parts of you can be a challenging experience.
The Dillinger Escape Plan, for better or for worse – are fearlessness personified. You get the sense that they are going to take out the Queen, and absolutely no prisoners along the way. There will be no compromises. There will be no discussions. But you at least get the feeling that they’re fighting on the right side. Riled up. Unpredictable. Violent. Relentlessly inspired. Good people.
Not much can be said about their new album except that it serves as a slap to the face of the entire musical world, and a voice that just might say “Wake up, you lazy garage bands! This is real inspiration. You don’t know how to do this properly so quit shitting the bed. People are losing faith!” Their live show sends the same message, inadvertently making their contemporaries look like drunken talent show rejects waiting for Mom’s kool aid after band practise with the boys.
“Farewell, Mona Lisa” was released prior to the album as the opening single, and an album teaser. It tends to mix all the elements that make Dillinger great into one song. The frantic breakdowns and extreme emotion are all in place. The slow march that dominates the latter half of the song is a welcome change of pace for the band. They are also now fusing together the melodic and aggressive elements of their sound together, making for a more epic execution.
“Good Neighbor” takes cues from Black Flag, then raises the stakes. This track is getting into the category of “ridiculously heavy”, and it made me realize that I can’t win Dillinger new fans anymore. At least not by trying to force it on people. It’s simply too loud. Of course, by the end of the track it turns into a full on gang vocal – “Suicide by way of information!” to push it right over the edge.
“Gold Teeth On A Bum” is one of the most ambitious tracks, with inspirations ranging from The Jesus Lizard and Fugazi to even some Alice in Chains and Guns n’ Roses on the later choruses. They keep their signature sound intact while expanding it seamlessly.
“Crystal Morning” could refer to an apathetic music scene. “Cheering crowds deify their waste, Making love to their disgrace” opens the song lyrically. On this track and “Endless Endings” they are mastering a sound that only they can play effectively. They’ve gone so far with it that they’ve left the few bands who’ve attempted to copy them far back in their dust. Let it start, indeed.
“Widower” starts as softly as possible, with a solo voice and piano piece. This, leading into a catchy chorus layered in vocal harmonies, is the Dillinger most people don’t know about – probably because tracks 4 and 5 left them running for the Off button.
“Room Full Of Eyes” would be my personal favorite, both live and on record. After the enemy has already been shamed, let’s push this over the edge. Slow heavy. “Until we die we’re never satisfied. We’ll lust for and feed the dissatisfaction of want and need.” Damn right. They stretch to the complete opposite of their natural tempo, and execute it well. If you enjoy any kind of heavy music, listen to this song front to back.
“Chinese Whispers” is another standout track, mainly for it’s infective chorus “Every second is passing by so fast. Everything that you cling to will not last.” This track marks an expansion of the catchiness found on “Ire Works’” “Milk Lizard”, but better. More engaging.
“I Wouldn’t If You Didn’t” is the final heavy expression on the disc, if you see heavy as screaming and raging guitars, that is. The screams of “Suffering is love. Suffering is not love” give way to a strange circus-y closing track entitled “Parasitic Twins”, and it’s a beautiful one. A song about lost love with harmonies coming from just about everywhere, it’s an easy song to sink into. It could even be a gateway song for the band, though most would shrink back in terror after listening to the rest of the album.
Overall, you have to admire art that has real passion, real gusto, or true grit, as the late Hunter S. Thompson would say. Here we have it, so don’t ignore it. Learn from it. Let’s get some more real inspiration in this world. Turn the tides and show the bastard’s some fire in the head.
Steve and cohort Gustavo de Beauville heralded in the Unravelling‘s debut CD 13 Arcane Hymns yesterday (on the 13th of May). You can get yourself a physically or digital copy at theunravellingmusic.com NOW! You can also hear a couple of tracks from the new album on our podcast episode #24 and episode #21.
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