The Dillinger Escape Plan Melt Brains

Hailing from New Jersey, The Dillinger Escape Plan have been obliterating the mathcore/metal scene since 1997. With only one original member, guitarist, Ben Weinman, they have had many different line-ups in their 16-year stint. I’m not gonna lie, the first time I heard them, I admit I didn’t really get it. It was noise to me, but I was 14. I remember being woken up in my tent at Reading Festival 2002 by a friend shouting ‘the lead singer of TDEP just pooped in a plastic bag and chucked it in the audience,’ I was like ‘Say whaaaaat?!’ After this, I actually sat down and gave their debut album, Calculating Infinity a listen. It was so loud and frantic to my fragile little mind. But after a while I finally got it. They weren’t trying to confuse people; they were just making some of the most technical and distraught music the late 90’s had ever heard.

The band have progressed a large amount from this 1999 release, and have gotten a lot of schtick from their old school fans for their change from the abrasive nosebleed noise to this slightly more structured aggressive aural whiplash. But I must say I am one of the fans that prefer the new route they’ve taken. Don’t get me wrong, Calculating Infinity was a definitive album in a genre they ultimately crafted but the new path on which they’ve strayed definitely gives the feeling that they’re taking a more structured approach to their songwriting.

The new album, One of Us is the Killer is definitely one for the new fans. TDEP’s vocalist, Greg Puciato has incorporated a lot more vocal melody than previous albums, while still maintaining his deathly hellcat roar in tracks like ‘When I Lost My Bet‘. There’s also a bit more rhythm from guitar, without forgetting the classic schizophrenic technical wieldings from guitarist, Weinman, evident in tracks like ‘Magic That I Held Your Prisoner’.

Newly appointed drummer, Billy Rymer and long time bassist, Liam Wilson, work closely together to keep the live show functioning, in stark contrast to Puciato, who is usually mounting the front row of the audience or setting fire ‘to sleeping giants’ while Weinman is propelling himself off the highest object he can place his eyes on with complete disregard for his own safety.

‘Prancer’, the first track from the album, is what TDEP fans have been waiting for. It’s chaotic and has the uncompromising feel that can only be TDEP. As TDEP’s choruses go, this is a pretty catchy one, while still managing to capture the aggression. With the closing lyrics to this song being “fuck you, now try to disbelieve it,” we pretty much know we’re in for a party-smashing album.

The title track for this album, is a superbly crafted number that has everything you need from TDEP. It has an eerie beginning that reminds the listener of a desperate struggle in a bleak pitch black forest that breaks into a chorus that will make the hairs stand on the back of your neck.

On the whole, this album ticks a lot of boxes- it has the raw energy that the band is known for, while tracks like ‘Understanding Decay’ and ‘Paranoia Shields’ showcase how TDEP have evolved, while intertwining the influences of Mike Pattern-esque vocals and off-beat chord structures. Weinman still keeps his jazzy repertoire flowing, with funky little breakdowns throughout the record. Puciato’s vocal range has grown from the last album, spanning from melodic singer, to freaked out banshee.

In the epic tune,’Crossburner’, Puciato gives you his ferocious onslaught, while Weinman will give you nightmares of pure devastation. And finally,’The Threat Posed by Nuclear Weapons’ is a salt-in-your-wounds conclusion to an album that holds no boundaries.

Over all, this is a great album and it shows that TDEP know what they want to produce, and know how to produce it bloody well. The buzz behind TDEP has always been huge, due to their frenzied stage presence and their albums of brain-melting technical ability. This new offering still manages to keep their old flame ignited, while consciously mixing it with their new path that they cannot detour from. Go buy this album and go see them when they play. You will be mesmerised.

Words by Adam Powell