Review Summary: With DEP's 3rd album, the music goes further than being the normal mathcore sound of DEP...
The Dillinger Escape Plan deserve a 4.5/5 rating for this effort. Why? Simply because this is DEP's most experimental album to date. I can't believe that DEP would still do so good without DEP's co-founder, Chris Pennie (now with Coheed & Cambira), in charge of the drum work, as this is the only DEP album featuring Gil Sharone as the studio drummer. However, the drum work of the album doesn't increase the perfection of this album, as a whole; Greg is still there, Ben is still there... The perfection of the album seems to blind me from the obvious flaws of the music, But as for DEP, they cant get worse, they can only get better.
The album has its hardcore lunatic fridge, as usual, with typical style DEP music such as "Fix Your Face", "Lurch" & "Horse Hunter". "Fix Your Face" comes first, following "Lurch", to (suddenly) open the album. It was noted that the former DEP vocalist (Dimitri) appears on the first track. I don't recognise Dimitri on that track at all, I can only hear Greg. Then comes the poppy styled "Black Bubblegum": not something you could easily find in a typical DEP record, but when you listen to it more, it becomes more interesting and enjoyable, probably like the rest of the album. I wouldn't think that it would fit for a listener of today's modern pop music, they are more likely to be Justin Bieber fans or N-Dubs fans or something along those lines. "Sick On Sunday" is a short 2-minute break from the first three tracks, introducing the electronica influence of the album. most of "Sick On Sunday" reminds me of FOABP-era Porcupine Tree music (notably Anesthetize), especially the intro; Except at the 17-second mark, where there seems to be Venetian Snares style drumming in the background. I literally jumped and laughed so hard at the 38-second mark on my first listen to this track, and now, I have no idea why I did that. There also seem to be some strange apple-crunching-like sounds sampled in the track.
The next 4 tracks are LESS than 2-minutes long: "When acting as a particle" starts it off with strange, but tension building orchestration, which then involves a drum roll/fill through the rest of the song. Then, it ends abruptly to then move on to playing "Nong Eye Gong" which also has the sound of the first two tracks, including some jazz breakdowns which seem very irrelevant for the track; I also found this funny when I first listened to it. "Nong Eye Gong" ends, following the start of the other instrumental, "When acting as a wave". Those two tracks both flow well together, but with "When acting as a wave", it's not as insane as normaly; The tremolo-lead in the background from 23 seconds into the track sounds very Meshuggah-influenced (try listening to tracks on Meshuggah's obZen, I or Catch 33 and you might get it). Also, there are some irritating sound effects put on the track which are more likely to fit onto a Linkin Park instrumental (a la Session), but does that really matter to the music's sound? Anyway, "82588" is the next track following this "less than 2-minutes long" rule and is the most insane out of the the rest of those tracks following that rule.
"Milk Lizard" is Ire Works' single; it does seem lyrically poppy (not the "Black Bubblegum" type of "poppy"), but it is also pretty interesting when you get into it. It's a bit easier to get into than "Black Bubblegum", since DEP use their instrumental skills more effectively on "Milk Lizard". "Party Smasher" follows the same rule as tracks 5-8, and it is just as long as "82588", but it separates itself from those other tracks and is still kind of insane. Not much to say about this song, but I still find it complex, because of time-signature changes and BPM changes. "Dead As History" is 5 minutes long, but the first 2-minutes of the song aren't really too important; The song itself is more like a hard rock influenced song, and is addictive for me to listen to. I can't believe that I just can't compare this song's sound to another band's music that I would know already. The next track, "Horse Hunter", opens in a funny & insane way, and some of the lyrics are also funny: "Yeah this party is a bore and you're the joke". Brent (Mastodon) appears on this track to perform some (backing) vocals and it is more easy on this track to identify that guest appearance, unlike Dimitri's appearance on "Fix Your Face". The drum performance on here is also insane, but nothing easily comparable to Chris Pennie, as mentioned earlier.
Finally, the last track on this album, "Mouth Of Ghosts", is the most epic album opener from DEP to date. It is nearly 7-minutes long, so it is also the longest DEP song to date.* Most of the song has a jazzy feel to it, though this song is obviously influenced by progressive rock (reminds me a bit of Dream Theater). and Gil Sharone performs very well and accurate on here. To me, the song feels shorter than it's supposed to be. Overall, the album is just perfect considering what DEP can do in their music, including the experimentation and effort put into it. With or without Chris Pennie, It is still perfect.
Fix Your Face
Dead As History
Mouth Of Ghosts
*"Variations Of A Cocktail Dress" is nearly 8-minutes long as a whole, but the breakdown of the song goes like this: Variations Of A Cocktail Dress 0:00 - 2:14, Silence 2:14 - 5:16, Hidden Track 5:16 - 7:55.