Review Summary: "Option Paralysis" is a wolf in sheep's clothing. It is the Will Hunting of the musical world--brilliant and complex, yet angry and dirty. A fitting way to usher in the new decade.
1 of 3 thought this review was well written
The Dillinger Escape Plan's fifth studio record is approximately five times better than their fourth, "Ire Works." "Option Paralysis" is nothing like "Calculating Infinity," and those who tell you so are likely just trying to tell you that they are “real” Dillinger fans and that they listen to "Calculating Infinity." What changed from Ire Works? Three things:
(1) Greg Puciato’s vocals. Immeasurably improved. "Option Paralysis" features Greg’s singing this time around, and it’s right on par. His screaming is moving from the unintelligible, yet forceful screaming on "Miss Machine" toward a more refined and confident style--but it still retains his trademark banshee-like flurries of passion. Puciato has really come into his own--king of like Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die did between "Gutter Phenomenon" and "The Big Dirty." The lyrics are also notably improved--in metal, a front man often has to capitalize on memorable lyrics. Most metal lyricists write great poetry, but a lot of it is lost in the whirlwind--not so on Option Paralysis, where Puciato showers us with instant-classic lyrics to scream back at him from the crowd.
(2) Songwriting and structuring. The album opens with the blistering “Farewell, Mona Lisa.” I saw Dillinger in Worcester, MA at the Palladium a few weeks ago and they finished with “Farewell”--it’s really telling when a band with so many brutal finishers decides to close with a song off their new album. Dillinger’s confident about this album in a way that they weren’t about "Ire Works." “Good Neighbor” is ostensibly the title track, as it deals most overtly with the theme of the title, option paralysis--“Suicide by way of information.” “Gold Teeth on a Bum” is a crushing roller coaster sing-a-long, and “Endless Endings” and “Crystal Morning” are probably the closest to original Dillinger as it gets on the album, showcasing Ben Weinman doing unspeakable things to his guitar. “Widower” highlights the band’s realization of the ineffectiveness of the interludes and intermissions from Ire Works--instead of giving us boring ambiance, they roll full-on ahead, blending piano and forceful guitar crescendos. “Room Full of Eyes” is the dark horse of the album, and contains probably the best example of a discernible apex of an album I’ve ever heard--“And why? ‘Cause we…REAP WHAT WE SOW.”
Like I said, that’s the apex. But often on a roller coaster the most enjoyable part is the free-fall after--which is why “Chinese Whispers” is the most interesting and most enjoyable track on the album and flows perfectly into “I Wouldn’t if You Didn’t,” with poignant breakdown-closing lyrics that tell the unpopular truth--“Suffering is not love.” The closing track, “Parasitic Twins,” is a likable-enough denouement, but could’ve been done better. It’s the only reason I didn’t give the album a five-star rating.
(3) Liam Wilson on bass. I’ve been resisting foul-mouthery til’ now, but I can’t help it--aren’t you ***ing tired of hearing the bass player totally mixed out? Great mixing on this record, and it’s only what Wilson deserves--his highlighted spots are gorgeous and he’s always present. Hearing bass in metal is ***ing refreshing. And Billy Rymer is somewhere between Chris Pennie and Gil Sharone--I really dig his style. Tight, but not technical. And with just as much groove as Sharone. You might wonder why I’ve left out mentioning Ben Weinman…but do I really need to? The guy just never ceases to amaze. He hit me in the back of the head when stage-diving in Worcester--it hurt like a sonofabitch, but I’d rank the occurrence in the top three events of my life (sad, but true.)
"Option Paralysis" is an album you can bring home to your parents. A freeloading cowboy, high on amphetamines, in a tuxedo from Goodwill. Go buy it right ***in’ now and let it sit on repeat.
Damn Sputnik is brutal.. Your review is fine, a good first. I haven't bothered to listen to this yet
but I plan on it when I have time.
Edit* I won't pos or neg cause there are some quite a few issues, just be sure to take people advice,
I'd give you some but I'm about to write another one of my own. Shout me if you need anything
Appreciate all the feedback, even though some of it was completely useless. I just fixed the Liam /Wilson/ mistake, that's my bad.
@Ironyisalivingscene He sung clean on every album, but it was never featured to the extent that it was on Option Paralysis. As for the rest of your criticisms, why exactly are you LOLing at them? If you think they're wildly off, then let me know why. I don't know what the fuck LOL is supposed to get across.
@Gib and DirEnRefused: I understand where you're coming from. I'm just trying to get away from the boring "list every track and use a bunch of adjectives" that music criticism so often comes down to. But I appreciate the reality check because it's always difficult to judge whether or not your audience is making the same connections or has any semblance of what you're trying to get across.
Ah, thanks guys. I don't know how you can LOL at "Most metal lyricists write good poetry." Sure, I didn't write it well, but I don't think anyone would disagree that (if you are listening to the right lyricists) the genre has the best lyrics after folk.
In any event, I'm going to rewrite this tonight and resubmit it.
I would've just preferred to see it in a essay form because that's basically what you're trying to accomplish with a numbered list. Track-by-track reviews aren't that terrible common anymore anyway...
I just think that your support is somewhat weak. I completely disagree that the bass is improved from Ire Works, if anything it has been subdued slightly. Wilson on Ire Works was the focal point of some songs and even had some lines that nearly lead. Here the bass mixing isn't as prevalent, although it is still audible. It surely isn't one of the album's strongest points. We all know Weinman, Puciato, and now Rhymer try to hoard the attention.
The vocal work, although improved somewhat, was already stellar. Puciato showed tremendous range in Ire Works (and Miss Machine somewhat) and he continued to do so here. Sure, it's a good thing but not enough to justify 1/3 of a 4.5 rating.
pffft. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh God that is some quality fucking standup right there.
Also in case you're wondering the LOLing is directed at how stupid what you were saying is. For example how can Billy Rymer be a combination of Chris Pennie and Gil Sharone yet not be technical? That doesn't make any sense.
Going to also take some time to laugh at motocross, it must bother you that I'm comfortable with my appearance and have probably gotten with more girls in the last month than you have in your life. But don't worry the perfect guy is out there for you. :]