Review Summary: Miss Machine is the quintessential Dillinger Escape Plan album.
After the release of the monstrous Calculating Infinity, The Dillinger Escape Plan were faced with a couple of challenges. The first one was how to replace former vocalist Dimitri Minakakis, the answer to that was Greg Puciato. The second challenge was how do you release an album that could eclipse the brutality, technicality, and genius that was Calculating Infinity, and to answer this I present you with….Miss Machine.
Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel they opted to do what they did best, which is making massively technical, brutal, and inventive music with a few exceptions. Firstly their music contained more jazz influences in it to create a more broad sound. Tracks such as “Sunshine the Werewolf” or “We Are The Storm” best illustrate this change. Also now their music was a bit more accessible in at least a few songs. Tracks such as “Phone Home” and “Unretrofied” are slow and twisting, using Greg Puciato’s vocal talent to it’s full extent as it sings in a low sinister tone. Which brings up the next part and one of the biggest reasons why their music diversified, Greg Puciato.
Greg Puciato is much better than Dimitri. Dimitri’s shriek got old very quickly, his voice was also one dimensional, minus the occasional spoken word passage there was no variation. Greg is able to scream, sing, shriek, and do spoken word with no difficulty. This adds to the versatility on this album. “Baby’s First Coffin” really showcases Greg’s vocal talent.
Greg isn’t the only talented one in this band either. The instrumentals are so tumultuous and insane all while being calculated and planned. The guitars play catchy start-stop riffs coupled with eclectic rhythmic breakdowns. The drums pound along at immense speeds and play very diverse beats and rhythms. Also Greg Puciato used to be in an industrial band which brought in the occasional electronic section or ambient sound.
The album kicks off with “Panasonic Youth” which is an in your face, classic DEP song. Offbeat drums and catchy start-stop guitar riffs pound you through the speakers, and just like that it’s over. “Sunshine The Werewolf” is the next track and it gives you a taste of some of the jazz influence in the center of the song before it jumps back into the head banging song it began as. “Highway Robbery” follows in this trend before “Van Damsel reverts into a more classic DEP sound. “We Are The Storm” showcases some very impressive drumming and a nice slower and softer section in the middle. “Setting Fire to Sleeping Giants” is a more mainstream sound but still retains it’s heaviness. “Baby’s First Coffin” is one of, if not, the album highlight, the song goes from being aggressive and adrenaline filled to quiet and beautiful.
Overall Miss Machine, in my opinion is the quintessential DEP album. It seems most people look at this album as a stepping stone between Calculating Infinity and Ire Works, or that it is lacking direction, but I think quite the opposite. I think Miss Machine is DEP playing in their niche and playing to their full potential. Miss Machine is a classic album, recommended to anyone and everyone.