Attention, everyone. Dillinger are back, and they’re not so much here for your children as they are to comprehensively fuck you all up with extreme prejudice. When one talks of vulgar displays of power there’s nothing so crass as a band this talented, a band this bloody good, putting out a record of such might and power that it obliterates all comers in a Dresden of flame. Really, they’re just showing off now; TDEP have been untouchable since 99’s ‘Calculating Infinity’ set a ferocious benchmark in extremity and, while 04’s ‘Miss Machine’ added shards of melody to their ungodly hell-howl before 07’s ‘Ire Works’ fused it all to a bed of broken electronica, ‘Option Paralysis’ takes everything further. Everything that makes Dillinger such a force to be treasured and revered is here but with the volume turned up, the insanity writ large and the noise, that inescapable tinnitus-in-waiting, as malevolent and potent as ever.
On paper, it’s arguable that TDEP’s fourth full-length is simply more of the same; it’s got the same body-blow percussion, slamming and punching with alarming violence, Ben Weinman’s guitar lines again spiral and dip chaotically and Greg Puciato, as is to be expected, uses his voice alternately like a pillar of fire and a gentle, evil croon. How cocking surprising. However, when the band are in full flight, as on the glorious ‘Gold Teeth On A Bum’, which takes their Faith No More influences to hitherto untapped levels with Puciato singing – yes, singing – his heart out over ringing chords and a squealing guitar solo, or ‘Crystal Morning’, a heads-down symphony of brutality, they’re staggering. Yes, we’ve heard them do weird or heavy or melodic before, but never quite like this.
Opener ‘Farewell, Mona Lisa’ contains more head-spinning pace changes than most bands manage in an entire career but never once does it feel forced; instead, thanks to Puciato stringing everything together and matching guitarists Weinman and Jeff Tuttle, bassist Liam Wilson and new drummer Billy Rymer for speed and sheer schizoid balls, it’s further confirmation of how special they can be. They can even pull off something as audacious as ‘Widower’, which opens with a velveteen piano tinkling away before dissolving into a hail of metal and then returning full circle, thanks to Puciato’s ludicrous vocal range. It becomes swiftly obvious that ‘Option Paralysis’ is the first album he’s matched the instrumentalists on for sheer technical ability, as ‘Endless Endings’ and ‘Room Full Of Eyes’ let him unleash his terrifying growl while ‘Gold Teeth On A Bum’ and ‘Parasitic Twins’ showcase his quite stunning (and scary) singing voice. And yes, as anyone who heard ‘Setting Fire To Sleeping Giants’ from ‘Miss Machine’ can attest, this is nothing new – but his level of proficiency and confidence are. And that’s what makes the difference.
The worst thing anyone could do is write off ‘Option Paralysis’ as mindless technicality wreathed in noise. It’s a war of emotion rendered in the most extreme tones and is more and more rewarding on every listen. One day, all bands will be like Dillinger.