Words By: Gerrod Harris
Release Date: October 14th, 2016, via Party Smasher Inc.
Earlier this year, The Dillinger Escape Plan announced that they would be breaking up following their upcoming tour cycle. Lead vocalists, Greg Puciato has stated in a recent interview that “’Extended hiatus’ would lead people to believe that we think we’re gonna come back. We’re breaking up. We’re not going on an extended hiatus”. He further cited the reason behind this being that “in the last few years, we’ve started to reach what felt like a thematic conclusion to our band… And we started to reach this resolve, a thematic resolve, and it started to show itself in our music and in our lyrics, and I think we both just started to realize, like, ‘Hey, if we’re ever gonna draw a line and say that this is over, this seems like a good time”. To mark the occasion, The Dillinger Escape Plan will be hitting the road- with a stop at Toronto’s Opera House on December 16th– to promote the release of Dissociation, the band’s swansong.
“Limerent Death” launches the album off the rails in what feels like a headfirst plunge into uncharted territory. The song feels like at any point it will fall apart, but rather stays collected in a fury of polymetric figures, blistering dissonance, and the vocal cord ripping sound of Puciato. On the other hand, the second track, “Symptoms Of My Terminal Illness”, takes a far slower pace and immediately stands out as one of the few songs in which Puciato makes use of his melodic and clean vocals for nearly the entire piece. Both of these tracks were used as the album’s lead singles, released ahead of time to promote the album, displaying two very different, equally creative and effective sides of Dissociation.
The album continues on with the unmatched and unique brand of progressive metal that The Dillinger Escape Plan are known for but at a level of pure insanity. “Fugue”, the instrumental and electronic track leans towards the style of drum ‘n’ bass, providing a purely rhythmic adventure drum kits play off each other, bouncing sound back and forth in a manner which captures the same intensity of songs in which the entire band is present. “Low Feelings Blvd” hides the band’s jazz fusion influence in plain sight as the band shifts the songs mood from thrashing and pulsating metal, to highly syncopated, lighter, and clean solo section which bends the lines between rock, jazz, and Latin music, and goes on to vamp on a short progression for guitarist Benjamin Wienman to let loose on a very articulate and highly melodic solo. The following track, “Surrogate”, similarly blends progressive metal with a slightly more straight forward punk approach and a descending power chord motif in the chorus before launching into a brutally heavy breakdown section, and then heading into yet another fusion fueled section in which Billy Rymer’s drums lead the shifting meters of the piece. The Dillinger Escape Plan’s ability to go from such extremes under the conditions of such musical complexity is nothing short of creative and technical genius. “Honeysuckle” may be one of the best examples of this as the song thrashes back and forth from one of Dissociation’s heaviest sections to interludes of jazz fusion modes and Latin drum breaks, while still incorporating an array of shifting time signatures, grooves, and pulses.
Dissociation is in many ways a perfect embodiment of the chaos and control that The Dillinger Escape Plan are known to demonstrate in their acclaimed live performances. The technical musical ability of each member is nothing short of astounding; to deny this would be wrong. Their collective ability is impressive and damn right inspiring. Without any sense of filler- in that each song is bound to drop jaws- Dissociation marks yet another creative peak for the band. In the same interview quoted above, Puciato stated “now you can look at THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN as an artistic body, not just on an album-to-album basis’ You can look at the whole band artistically and say, ‘This is what this was, and it had a beginning, and it had an end, and they did close the circle’”. While it is clear that the band could continue to deliver killer records as they are known to, Dissociation is The Dillinger Escape Plan going out at a respectable peak; an era where they are still at the top of their game as titans and innovators- both then and now- of the modern progressive metal genre. In many ways, their first record, Calculating Infinity, launched the genre towards where it is today. Their innovation, however, was not exclusive to their 1999 debut, as with every album since has pushed the perceptions of what is even possible. Dissociation is no different. Listening to it, life time fans will feel excitement, happiness, and sadness, but no matter what is being felt, their mind will surely be blown.
1: Limerent Death
2: Symptoms Of My Terminal Illness
3: Wanting Not So Much To As To
5: Low Feel Blvd
8: Manufacturing Discontent
9: Apologies Not Included
10: Nothing To Forget