The Dillinger Escape Plan

One Of Us Is The Killer

Written by: AP on 12/12/2013 19:57:14

Whatever the future may bode for them, the Dillinger Escape Plan have achieved immortality. They have, over the course of 16 years, five studio albums and four EPs, established themselves as the sort of untouchable band whose creative impulses and innovative spirit are rivalled by none; a band whose legend (and in the live setting: infamy) will long outlive them. This is a band who make full use of their artistic license to do exactly as they please, and as such, a marathon through their discography will not yield many a dull moment; the five albums, including this latest outing "One of Us is the Killer", witness music in persistent metamorphosis, with the group's flair for the extraordinary producing ever more intriguing sonic experiments that continue to surprise, challenge and ultimately enamour their fans.

On the two most releases especially, the Dillinger Escape Plan's oddball Mike Patton-esque sonic experiments have found a heavier presence, with songs like "Black Bubblegum" and "Milk Lizard", both off 2007's "Ire Works", as well as "Gold Teeth on a Bum", "Widower" and "Parasitic Twins" featured on 2010's "Option Paralysis" exacting clear statements of the band's growing ambition, and desire to be one of the few truly unique and unclassifiable bands in existence. That desire bleeds through "One of Us is the Killer", too, courtesy of some of the most uncharacteristic songs this group have composed to date. Here I speak of the title track, with its eerie jazz instrumentation and vocalist Greg Puciato's off-kelter falsetto in the verse; and "Nothing's Funny" of course, on which Puciato plays the devious murderer voice first heard on the iconic "Setting Fire to Sleeping Giants" against the poppy and absolutely unforgettable chorus of "eventually the jokes aren't free and nothing's ever fun, and nothing's funny / But now I see that the joke's on me, and nothing's ever fun, and nothing's funny". Though in stark contrast with the psychotic fare we're used to hearing from these boys, they both emerge as clear highlights by the simple virtue of their oddity and, paradoxically, memorability.

Worry not, however, dear reader: there's plenty of mechanical, math-bending grind to be relished as well, with the cacophonous opening duo "Prancer" and "When I Lost My Bet", as well as the absolutely devastating "Hero of the Soviet Union" and "Magic That I Held You Prisoner", in particular unleashing the insanity in familiar manner. In songs like this it is especially drummer Billy Rymer's perplexing capabilities which strike awe, and though the remaining musicians, guitarists Ben Weinmann and James Love, and bassist Liam Wilson flash their tradecraft in equally inspired manner, there isn't much wow factor not already heard on previous Dillinger efforts in it. Somewhat predictably then, the best songs on "One of Us is the Killer" are the two already mentioned takes, as well as "Paranoia Shields" and "Understanding Decay", which combine the best of both worlds: the exasperating technicality, noise and lunacy; and the bizarre memorabilia. Puciato's powerful roaring of "I will never give anything / break a sweat just to have some relief / I will always be everything / Like a shadow inside of a cave" in the pre-chorus, and his smooth singing of "I feel you close, heating up my coals / but there isn't a hell that I would burn on with you / Death brings us close, isn't that morose? / But there isn't a fire that I would waste to burn you." in the succeeding chorus in the latter, in particular, impresses through both the disturbing, yet curiously poetic lyricism, and his enormous abilities as a singer.

Towards the closing gasps of the record, "Crossburner" makes a last ditch effort at inclusion among the recommended tracks, and succeeds, by virtue of its trudging noise inferno that here and there sends my thoughts toward The Chariot's deconstructions of music. As is customary by now when this band is involved, there isn't much weakness to be discovered on "One of Us is the Killer", with the only real criticism manifesting through a number of tracks that sound a little too similar to what has already been spewed out by the Dillinger machine on previous records. As such, it isn't quite as striking as its predecessor, the magnificent "Option Paralysis" - yet even so there are very few bands who can hold a candle to the extremity, complexity and prodigal skill that it boasts.

Download: When I Lost My Bet, One of Us is the Killer, Nothing's Funny, Understanding Decay, Paranoia Shields, Crossburner
For the fans of: Beecher, Ephel Duath, Mike Patton,
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Release date 20.05.2013
Sumerian Records / Party Smasher Inc.

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