Review Summary: Mike Patton leaves his mark on the band, as "Ire Works" fully absorbs his diverse styles into a rewarding release. Finally, The Dillinger Escape Plan has solidified their "mathcore" sound into something both challenging, and accessible.
What I don't understand is why adding "core" as a suffix to a word instantly makes it a genre.
Crabcore, Deathcore, Grindcore, Mathcore.
Pardon my French, but Merde I say! Merde!
Dillinger Escape Plan is a baffling band, to say the least. To say the most, they graft on several characteristics that seem disjointedly out of place, not only in a musical sense, but in a personal sense. The band has, since its creation, been a revolving door or musicians in such a vein comparable to some sort of prog band. A good majority of the members have faced horrible medical impairments over the course of their career (burns, broken rotator cuffs, paralysis, etc.); and if I was a potential member of the band, I'd be sure to invest in some Spinal Tap "drummers death" insurance. Currently, there is only one original member in the band, the guitarist, while DEP has contained the likes of guns for hire, fans of the band, and even the fantastic Mike Patton at one point.
Let's forget the lineup though, and focus more on the sound. Since their debut album of spaztastic "mathcore", the band has slowly loosened itself open to wider variety of styles. Sure, they may not be as idiosyncratic as before, but goddamn, they really do flaunt their elastic abilities. "Ire Works", their latest album, expands upon this philosophy. While songs such as "Fix Your Face" and "Lurch" still hail back to the days of their constantly shifting (and sometimes, sickening) roller-coaster ride hardcore music, other tracks such as "Black Bubblegum" and "Milk Lizard" show their value as "pop" writers.
Pop, yes, as unbelievable as it would be to assume these guys had any potential to be "poppy" by listening to the debut it is true. "Black Bubblegum", while it is a painfully obvious Faith No More rip-off, is nonetheless a fantastic one. And concerning the later track mentioned, "Milk Lizard" is just dirty, sleezy riff rock which somewhat reminds me of a rather good Tomahawk song. If you haven't caught on yet, DEP has, more or less, fully absorbed the influences from the time they spent with Patton, and strategically inserted it within their own music. This is where most critics find fault; the fact that these tracks owe so much to Faith No More/Tomahawk/Mr. Bungle - esc type of compositions. But to hell with critics (I'll see you there I suppose), all of these are excellent, and above all, SMART bands. DEP, has officially crossed the line between impressive talents without structure, to impressive artists with a solid foundation. Not to say I don't love "Calculating Infinity", but really, the album can be a bit of a "drill to your head" type experience if you listen to it long enough (at least for me it is, with my baby ears).
My only disappointment here is that the album is painfully short. There are several tracks that don't pass the two-minute mark, and most of them loaf around the 3-4 minute length. Sure, it would definitely be a bad thing if these songs dragged on too long (and oddly enough, a few do! Such as "Black Bubblegum"), but when it takes several listens to fully remember some of the "minor" tracks ("Nong Eye Gong", "Party Smasher", "Sick on Saturday"), it gets a bet annoying. Again, this is simply a minor complaint, and in all fairness, all of those "minor" tracks are good songs.
The best addition, in my opinion, to the band's sound is the way in which they link together complex shifts when they start to play to their good-ol' mathcore roots. While shifts simple abruptly collided together on "Calculating Infinity", these songs here (perfect example being the opening track) often rise their heads above a sea of complex riffing and focus on a few simple, yet effective, ass-kicking hardcore head bobbers. It's a nice break in the middle of all the chaos, and the best part is, the effect works; the parallel time signatures are now easier to follow, or at the very least, a bit less grating to the ear.
So good show DEP, I hope they continue in this direction in the future. So, if you see Greg Puciato walking down the street, give him a pat on one of his bionic muscular arms (I mean, MY GOD the dude's a titan) and say "Good show ol' bean"
Then hurry up and get the *** out of there, because you've surely angered him now and he's likely to give you a beat down.
I MEAN A BREAKDOWN! (Just a little hardcore humor for all the hardcore fans out there. Holy ***, I'm unfunny)