The Dillinger Escape Plan
Dissociation


3.5
great

Review

by Simon K. STAFF
August 9th, 2020 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Too weird to live, too rare to die.

Time flies. It’s hard to believe that come Christmas The Dillinger Escape Plan will have hung up their instruments three years ago, but looking back on their career now, and in particular Dissociation, you can see why there was always a good reason behind the decision. In the loosest possible term, Dillinger was a freak of nature – a paradox on the very notion of understanding commercial viability. You can look at a band like Rammstein or Slipknot and at least assimilate their appeal to the collective masses when you analyse the music for what it is. Despite the fact that these two bands were made with niche appeal on paper, they both utilise a very accessible framework when it comes to the actual music and you can understand why their music resonates with millions of people, as the songs abrasively writhe around a humble verse-chorus structure fit for mainstream radio. With Dillinger, their success is utterly alien and an anomaly that probably won’t happen again for at least another generation. This is a band, in the broadest definition, that followed the punk philosophy to the letter and got rewarded for it: they didn’t compromise an iota of their vision for anyone, and they really didn’t give a sh-t if you liked them or not. To an unsuspecting layman, their music sounds like white noise being shoved into a meat grinder, and yet, they still walked out of 2017 with an unfettered legacy for future generations to use as a point of reference.

Granted, when you listen to the band’s works chronologically you can see a gravitational pull towards the conventional, but this happens to almost every band that’s been going as long as Dillinger. In the case of this band however, their journey balancing the obscene with the benign felt like it had tangible purpose to it. Ben and co. spent years experimenting with these two juxtaposing pillars, eventually mastering their uncompromising havoc with the congenial. The problem is that they succeeded with this endeavour one album prior to Dissociation. Indeed, One of Us Is the Killer is in my opinion – as unpopular as that opinion may be – the album that should have closed the book on their career. It’s an album that resides harmoniously in the band’s feral roots and latter-day melodies, and it feels like it has a certifiable finality to it. To this day, no matter how many times I listen to Dissociation, it feels, well… dissociated from the rest of the band’s works. Bizarrely the album does everything it is meant to: it hits all the right beats, taps into everything the band has created up to that point, and it doesn’t sacrifice its schizophrenic comportment for a second, but in all that box-checking it ironically develops something that is intrinsically safe, and the antithesis of what every Dillinger album has been prior.

With that, it’s hard to overlook the plateau that’s being exhibited here. For the first time in The Dillinger Escape Plan’s career, they’ve presented something derivative. In context, yes, Dissociation is a celebration of the band’s inimitable achievements, and I totally get that. However, bar the last two tracks that display an exciting new facet – an experimentation with a gorgeous symphony and a more level-headed calm to the songwriting itself – the album overall feels a little too conceited with sitting behind the band’s historic accolades. In short, the album’s just not as exciting to listen to as with previous incarnations. Dissociation experiments with Ire Works-styled glitchy electronics, a foray of crushing half-time stomps, Ben’s sharp, formless guitar noodles, and an impressive virtuosity with the usual and eclectic styles we’ve come to expect from the band, but all this still culminates into a far less dangerous experience.

It’s hard to fully articulate where the album is lacking, but it’s generally down to the fact that everything you’re hearing on here has been done – and marginally better – on previous LPs. Overall, the band knew they had little else to say up to this point, and Dissociation most certainly mirrors that. This record is a very solid offering that still manages to be brazenly heavy, classy, and adventurous, but rather than venturing out into the unknown it’s much more content with revisiting previous expeditions. Ultimately, the glimmers of prog-rock on “Low Feels Blvd”, the jazz-fusion segments in “Wanting Not So Much to As To”, and the ambient glitch voyage of “Fugue” bring moments of spice to an otherwise humdrum offering. Of course, this doesn’t make it a bad album, but for a band that has built a career on a bedrock of unease, in a vacuum of boundaryless songwriting, it comes as a bit of a shock and a whimpering disappointment to end a career on.

FORMAT//EDITIONS:
CD//DIGITAL//VINYL

PACKAGING:
N/A

SPECIAL EDITION BONUSES:
N/A

ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE:
https://merchconnectioninc.com/collections/dillinger-escape-plan



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2020


16632 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i know my opinion on this is far from the consensus, but i just wanted to write about it. if only because i can't believe this album is four years old already

Digging: HEALTH - DISCO4 :: Part I

Bedex
August 9th 2020


2294 Comments


this album is four years old already? *weeps in white hair tweed and wrinkles*

Digging: DNCE - Swaay

JakeStallion
August 9th 2020


570 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review, can’t believe it’s already been 4 years....damn. This album feels like a victory lap for the band and after making a career out of pushing boundaries, I think they’ve earned the right to end their career on a “safe” album. This is their best work in my humble opinion. A celebration of their sound with just enough new ideas implemented to keep it from ever sounding rehashed.

Digging: Havukruunu - Uinuos Symein Sota

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
August 9th 2020


12053 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I wouldn't say this is entirely safe or without exciting/"dangerous" moments, however. It's definitely not as experimental, but I feel you're downplaying the highlights that are abound here and how crushing it can be. Plus, I'd say the concluding tracks here bear a lot more of a sense of finality than the same cuts off of Killer in terms of tonality.



It's well-written enough and it is kinda radical that it has already been so long, but I'm not sure I can jump on board this train of thought (shocker, I realize).

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2020


29357 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Vaguely agreed with this take (this always felt more than a little Dillinger-by-numbers to me), but I think your framing re. appeal does a disservice to all the many openly engaging tendencies the band have played with post-CI (and it's not like they ever had anything like the same success as Rammstein or Slipknot regardless). Despite its being more negative, I'd probably agree more with cylinder's review (which y'all should read) as a blow-by-blow of why this doesn't quite land as well as their best.

Agreed that One of Us Is the Killer was a more exciting streamlining of their sound though; this feels like a more comprehensive jack of all trades/master of none deal despite having similar leanness. Nice to read a retrospective in 2020!

Digging: Tricot - 10

CalculatingInfinity
August 9th 2020


9269 Comments


This is definitely more suitable as a closer, and yes not every album has to completely reinvent the wheel but this album has more problems than just aping their previous work.

The obnoxious try-hard high pitched vocal delivery in Limerent Death and multiple songs, the misplaced and boring spoken word section in Wanting Not So Much to as To, the boring plodding riff in Nothing To Forget, the barren anticlimax to the title track, the last moment of Fugue adding nothing to the song and killing the pace of the album dead, the too stop-start feeling to the first 90 seconds of Surrogate, the plastic sounding production...

Just a laundry list why this remains the only Dillinger I don't care for.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2020


16632 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No, Dillinger never had anywhere near the success slippers or ramm got, but the point I was making is that it’s a miracle they got the widespread success they did, considering just how wild their sound actually is.



Also, last two tracks are incredible, which is a shame because they should have tried more stuff like that on this imo. Like I say, I know my take is a spicy one, so I’m not expecting a lot of agreement with it

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2020


16632 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And agreed calc, this is the only album I can’t seem to click with. All other albums are incredible

Wildcardbitchesss
August 9th 2020


4427 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Man calc I knew you didn’t have a lot of love for this album but that was harsh.

Did you like anything about this record?

And cool review, I agree that it doesn’t do anything new but I also don't think it needed to.

CalculatingInfinity
August 9th 2020


9269 Comments


Yeah, there are things I like about it. Honeysuckle is straight up savage to the point of parody and I love it. Manufacturing Discontent really stands out as well, a sense a genuinely well-flowing unpredictability and madness. Dissociation minus the outro is fantastic, especially that middle section with flawless production on Greg's vocals. The second half of Apologies Not Included, some parts of Wanting Not So Much to as To, first two minutes of Fugue rules. So yeah, there are positives.

However, basically every song minus two songs I have problems with to varying degrees. I can't call this album bad at all it's just when there are only 3 or 4 cuts I'd want to listen to in my own time, I can't call this album a good one.

BenThatsMyJamin
August 9th 2020


3437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"the too stop-start feeling to the first 90 seconds of Surrogate"



lol anyone would think this is your first time listening to Dillinger (I know it's not)

Ziggity
August 9th 2020


1180 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review and agreed.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
August 9th 2020


60685 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Big ups to the staff for their tireless work keeping the site relevant by reviewing the same 5 metalcore albums into eternity



I think we are overdue for some Jane Doe coverage!

Digging: Oklou - Galore

bloc
August 9th 2020


63680 Comments


Worst band ever

Digging: Orgy - Vapor Transmission

Demon of the Fall
August 9th 2020


17242 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review, summarises a few of my thoughts very well.

Digging: Undeath - Lesions of a Different Kind

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2020


16632 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I’m working on my 5 review for that now pots

Wildcardbitchesss
August 9th 2020


4427 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah step it up guys, I want six pages of reviews for every metalcore album I gave a 5!

ian b
August 10th 2020


964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

0/10 album, needs more reviews

Digging: Touche Amore - Lament

Tunaboy45
August 12th 2020


17235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

god-tier album

Tunaboy45
August 12th 2020


17235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great write-up nonetheless my dude



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