The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation (Album Review)

The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation

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TDEP line up:

Ben Weinman – lead guitar, programming, backing vocals, keyboard
Liam Wilson – bass
Greg Puciato – vocals
Billy Rymer – drums
Kevin Antreassian – rhythm guitar

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The Dillinger Escape Plan have their own escape plan sorted in 2016; release another unprecedentedly bombastic, engaging, and uncompromising ball-tearer of an album, then break the fuck up. Rumours swirl from ‘extended hiatus’ to flat out eternal and immediate cessation as a band following this album’s ample and current global tour cycle. If they’re really calling it a day for good, then fans’ dismay should be soothed by Greg and the gang’s 7th consistently astounding and unique studio output.

It’s no secret TDEP are, undoubtedly, the most technically brilliant musicians in metal (nay, all genres). Their ability to concoct and execute the epitome of labyrinthine time signatures and song structures so deftly for two all-too-short decades is astounding. These guys write and play music it would take a lifetime for so many other dedicated and gifted artists out there to almost learn. They are a band that has maintained an utterly engaging sound with every single release, all while dishing strong elements of varied originality on each release. Listeners will find Dissociation is imbued beautifully with a heavier dose of Ben Weinman’s Aphex Twin-esque sporadic beat programming than previous LP’s, but not to the point of distraction. It’s obvious Dissociation has been carefully and meticulously cultivated by a band who remain unsurpassed in genre-bending and sonic boundary-smashing.

the-dillinger-escape-plan-dissociationOpener ‘Limerent Death’ is text book Dillinger; a burly, trudging intro bottoms out in to punctilious cacophonies of tightly ravelled time signature obliterations. It’s a throat grab from the get go, and pitch-black, cathartic soundtrack to heartbreak in equal measure. An album highlight straight out of the blocks, indeed.

‘Symptom Of Terminal Illness’ is a more evenly-paced sprawl. It’s anthemic grunge aesthetic dredges memories of 2013’s eerie single ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’, in all the right ways. From there, ‘Wanting Not So Much’ is a conversely unbridled, thrash-jazz assault that eases to spoken word minimalism, before rising once more to a burbling plateau of ambulant aural abjection.

‘Fugue’ is a completely programmed track that is almost indiscernible from the crescendo of Richard James’ deeply disturbing 2005 masterpiece Rubber Johnny. Much like the song to which it is seemingly paying homage, ‘Fugue’ is a very cool and listenable foray in to less chartered territory for the group.

From there, the album remains consistent in its measured inconsistency. The heaving riffs, mind-collapsing time signature eviscerations, roaring break downs, and jazzy forays in to relative quietude remain, but all are presented spasmodically and excitedly; constantly keeping the listener glued to every new welcomed swerve. There’s further experimentation with the electronic, and even lilts of 60’s-tinged stadium guitar, because why the fuck not? Highlights include the blistering ‘Honey Suckle’, sublimely sad title track/ outro ‘Disconnect’, and punchy hook-behemoth ‘Nothing To Forget’.

There’s no doubt that TDEP can be a very uninviting and challenging listen to the casual music fan. There’s little else to expect from a pack of heavy-music-loving and uncompromising musical geniuses, but it’s safe to say the band certainly isn’t to everyone’s taste. More fool anyone who has disregarded them as merely coarse noise over the last twenty years, for under a deceptively unapproachable surface lies some of the most jaw-dropping, emotionally charged, and beguilingly energetic music ever made. It’s a shame not just for fans, but the music world in general that Greg, Ben, Liam, Billy, and Kevin are calling it day (just for now, hopefully).

Dissociation might be TDEP’s last effort before they themselves dissociate from the music world, but this album only further solidifies a legacy that evokes amazement at a glance, and something so much more after a good hard look. Here’s hoping these stalwarts’ hiatus is both prosperous and brief; it’s evident they have much, much more to offer.

Review by Todd Gingell (@ToddGingell)

Check out some of the tracks from Dissociation below….

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