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Dillinger Escape Plan ‘Option Paralysis’: First Review

Ben Patashnik
Ben Patashnik 22 January 2010 at 17.46

The mighty Dillinger Escape Plan are about to unleash ‘Option Paralysis’ - and this is what it sounds like

Even though Dillinger Escape Plan’s fourth studio album ’Option Paralysis’ is still a couple of months away, Rock Sound has been excited to hear it ever since the last lacerated notes of 07’s ‘Ire Works’ faded away. So here’s the first listen to one of the year’s most anticipated records – but was it worth the wait?

Note: this isn’t our considered review. That’s coming later…

'Farewell, Mona Lisa'
The album slides into view quietly, with some inelegant, sleazy chords before… vocal monster Greg Puciato takes a breath and screams so hard he must have burst his heart. From here on in it’s the familiar jagged brutality that Dillinger made their name with before a calmer section redolent of Faith No More looms over the horizon. It sounds huge, and is about as welcome a return as anyone could have hoped.

'Good Neighbor'
High-tension riffery, very much like ‘We Are The Storm’ from ‘Miss Machine’. Headspinning speed, as you’d imagine, but then a few seconds of simple punk rock, almost Ramones-esque (seriously!) chords before slamming straight back into insanity. Backing vocals like a rumbling storm howl “suiciiiiiiiiide!”, and it’s slowly becoming clear quite how terrifying DEP can be.

'Gold Teeth On A Bum'
A glorious curveball: gracefully plucked strings over stop-start drums, and compared to the harshness of the record thus far it feels like a real departure from the norm. Then some sludgey guitars hit like an oncoming truck and lead into… a chorus, a vast melodic beast! “It’s just an ordinary day/I know how to fix you/Should you come my way” croons Puciato, and it’s the first time he really shows off his ludicrous vocal range. Like ‘Setting Fire To Sleeping Giant’ felt like DEP had bolted pop to metal, this sits firmly within the Faith No More (again!) tradition of playful misdirection, complete with squealing classic rawk guitars.

'Crystal Morning'
And now for something entirely brutal. Billy Rymer’s punishing drumming pushes this two-minute epic into overdrive and makes something relatively ( relatively) simple feel a whole lot more menacing. There’s a spooky mid-section that suddenly dissolves into more ten-fingered fretboard madness before it’s really got comfy too, as if we haven’t been battered around enough.

'Endless Endlings'
Again, another toothgrindingly fast one. Behind the jackhammer percussion is some frenetic, gloriously atonal shreddage that kicks in and out of gear seemingly at will before Puciato gets his croon out again and everything unravels in a baffling mix of time signatures and razorblade guitars.

Welcome to the Dillinger Escape Plan Hotel Lobby, would you like some tinkled piano and breathy vocals sir/madam? Of course you would. Essentially showing off – again – how competent Puciato is, this languid jazzy number comes as yet another massive surprise. It might be calm and humming with gentle melody but when it crunches into heaviness ‘Widower’ becomes pretty scary. When they bring this out live it’s going to be a trip; it’s got more ideas within its six-and-a-half minutes than most bands can muster throughout an entire career. Loungecore, or something.

'Room Full Of Eyes'
Shrill and deeply violent at the same time, there’s a Botch-like section of this pearler that’s as heavy as anything DEP have ever done. With a smattering of electronic glitches – as on ‘Ire Works’ - this feels like it could’ve sat snug on the last album.

'Chinese Whispers'
The most apparently ‘standard’ tune on the entire album, it doesn’t feel all that complicated but still has enough recognisable DEP hallmarks to keep your finger from the skip button. Puciato howls about making chemical weapons “from all your broken dreams”, which basically sums it up.

'I Wouldn’t If You Didn’t'
All systems: GO. Blastbeats, a billion notes a second and the feeling that if anyone stops shredding the world will end. The sound of viciousness distilled into musical form that somehow dissolves and reconstitutes itself as a broken rock song. The piano playing on this has an almost Latin feel, like some demonic Dance Of Death.

'Parasitic Twins'
Strings, a glockenspiel and a tangible sense of dread. Like the closing tune from a Dillinger Broadway Music (imagine the skewed world we’d be living in if that was possible), this takes a simple chorus melody and stretches it over some scorched bones. We’ve heard DEP hold back from violence before, but never quite like this. A stunning way to close the record.

One-word summary: crikey.

Are you excited? Reckon it’s going to be a peach or do you think Dillinger have already peaked? Let us know below. In the meantime keep it locked to Rock Sound for our official verdict on ‘Option Paralysis’ as well as a whole bunch of other awesome DEP stuff.

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