Review Summary: An incredible release from an ever-strengthening outfit.
Mathcore can be a tricky genre; at least it was for me. The complex time signatures and constant changes in tempo was rather unappealing when I first stumbled across it a few years ago. Enter Dillinger Escape Plan, a band that made me give the genre a second chance just recently. The thing that set apart Dillinger apart from any other band in the genre for me, was the mass experimentation the band utilises. In some ways, Ire Works could be described as Dillinger's most ambitious effort to date: the glitchy electronic sound textures mixed with distorted guitars being one of many new features added. The question is, does Dillinger still have their roots intact when it comes down to the powerful force applied? The answer is yes, very much so.
The album begins fiercely with the pounding opener, 'Fix Your Face'. The track begins like you'd expect, with punishing drumbeats, catchy yet technical riffage and Puciato's shrieked vocals, the track struggles to be anything less than brilliant. The track then flows into the short but powerful ‘Lurch’, which seems like more of the same upon first listen. In a sense it is, the brutal nature of the opener is applied here but in a much more straightforward manner. The song packs in everything it can, climaxing to the brilliant outro, which leaves the listener drained, and in a sense of awe.
Up until this point you must be thinking: 'So, has anything actually changed here?' Based on the first 2 tracks the answer would obviously be a firm 'no'. Enter 'Black Bubblegum', a track that utilizes Dillinger's more accessible side perfectly. The thing that sets this track apart from the previous is, firstly, the tempo. Puciato and co slow things down here and completely strip any 'core' elements the band has be associated with over the years. Instead, the track seems more reminiscent of just a simple (albeit badass) rock song. The guitars are distorted to provide a thick yet catchy groove, which instantly hits home the different direction that Dillinger are embracing. Also, coupled with Puciato's clean vocal harmonies you'd never guess that this is the same band who created the goliath that was 'Calculating Infinity'.
The surprising thing is that 'Ire' gets even more surreal straight after the 3rd track. 'Sick on Sunday', 'When Acting As a Particle', 'Nong Eye Gong' and 'When Acting As a Wave' all incorporate electronic elements, and to great effect. At first, these newfound techniques can seem a little awkward to listen to, but on repeated listens you begin to see how the tracks actually break up the album very well. The tracks provide a somewhat melancholy edge to what it mostly a very technical and crushing LP.
When all is said and done, ‘Ire Works’ is just another fantastic release from an equally fantastic and consistent band. Not only do Dillinger perfect upon elements of their previous LP ‘Miss Machine’, but they also incorporate new elements which makes ‘Ire’ their most expansive release. However, if you are new to Dillinger then I would suggest debut ‘Calculating Infinity’ rather than this as the album showcases what the outfit utilize mostly throughout each LP. Saying that, ‘Ire’ is still a release that still feels unappreciated, maybe it will grow in time…who knows?