Holy shit! I’ve just pressed play for the first time after anticipating the new Dillinger Escape Plan release for months and months now. I’ve been a big fan of these guys, who I believe to be the most extreme band to have ever existed, since their early days and have always had a strong opinion when it comes to debating this with others, justifying why nobody can fucking touch this band. Not now. Not ever. But I’m almost entirely lost for words. How the fuck am I supposed to review a Dillinger album and write anything that means a single thing to anybody that is a fan or simply knows about them and what they do already? How the fuck do I analyse these eleven tracks and outline this record and band for people that know nothing about them? I feel like I am completely unqualified to be in a position where somebody might read this review, take into account my opinion, and make a decision as to whether they want to check “One Of Us Is The Killer” out or not. One thing is for sure, “One Of Us Is The Killer” is as good a record as any other if you’re looking for an introduction to the New Jersey party smashers because they never hold back. Not now. Not ever.
Before this record was available to myself and my fellow Britons, I read a few of the early reviews it had received in the States. I did this with the hope of quenching my thirst for this new material by trying to imagine what it was that others were describing. For the most part, this was successful. However, I noticed what seemed to be a rather large amount of people writing essentially the same thing. A lot of reviewers seemed to be mentioning the fact that “One Of Us Is The Killer” is their most accessible album. Now, this is The Dillinger Escape Plan we are talking about, I wouldn’t really describe any of their material as “accessible”, unless you’re already big on extreme metal genres. I can’t imagine many non-Dillinger fans saying “I really couldn’t understand ‘Miss Machine’, but this is a lot easier to get into” or “’Option Paralysis’ was a but too heavy for my liking, so I’m glad they’ve put a few more calmed down bits on this record”. As far as I see it, you’re either a Dillinger fan or you’re not. Simple as that. They aren’t going to be picking up any more fans with this release, save for people that had never heard them before and are only just realising they exist and are incredible (my message for those people is you’re in for a real fucking treat once you’ve explored their entire discography).
Another common theme was “’X’ song would fit really neatly on ‘X’ album” and “’X’ reminds me a lot of ‘X’ from ‘X’”. No way! You’re telling me that one of their songs sounds a bit like a song they might have put on another record? Maybe it’s because they were written by the same band. Maybe it’s because that band aren’t the type to jump on any bandwagon and adapt their style according to the requests and needs of others. Maybe it’s because The Dillinger Escape Plan, despite plenty of lineup changes, stick to making an experimental sound that emulates nobody and has literally no competition. That’s why some of these tracks sound interchangeable with ones from previous releases!
Then we have the early-Dillinger purists, the social network army of ‘mathcore’ snobs that constantly refer to “Calculating Infinity” and how they haven’t liked anything the band did since then. Congratulations guys, you’ve left a YouTube comment to show everybody that you used to listen to them before there was any singing in their music, and now you don’t like them because it isn’t what it used to be. Let me just clear something up for you – that album came out in 1999 and about ten different people have played in this band since then. Their main annoyance seems to be with Greg Puciato (vocalist since 2001) and his use of sung, rather than shouted, vocals. Personally, I believe that this has done nothing but improve their music. The contrast between the two vocal styles Greg exhibits is what makes The Dillinger Escape Plan’s music so much more chaotic. It’s never long before the storm arrives and it gives these parts a much stronger impact than “Calculating Infinity”‘s constant madness. This contrast is very prominent on the new album. Tracks like “Nothing’s Funny”, “One Of Us Is The Killer” and “Magic That I Held You Prisoner” are all testament to the fact that Greg has an amazing singing voice and he’s obviously happy to demonstrate it, regardless of what the YouTube critics have to say.
This album is another masterpiece in terms of structure, it flows perfectly from start to finish and every song is a fantastic amalgamation of crazy time signatures, some of the best drumming you can expect to ever hear, jazz tendencies and brute force. Of course, “One Of Us Is The Killer” is packed with Ben Weinman’s famous biddly-biddly-biddly guitar work and broken riffs that put most metal acts to shame, proving that the only original member of this group is still completely capable of writing insane experimental music without it becoming stale and unoriginal.
My personal favourites are “When I Lost My Bet” for the amount of times it switches up and how crazy powerful each transformation is, and “Crossburner” for it’s stoner bassline and downright heaviness.
This release shows that The Dillinger Escape Plan are still at the top of their game, and that nobody is even getting close to matching them at what they do. Not now. Not ever.