The Dillinger Escape Plan - Dissociation CoverThere will be no encore. The hour is nigh when some lucky few will experience the last gig, the last song, the last moment of the world’s most violent performative force. And the rest will be silence – because after The Dillinger Escape Plan leave the stage, the vacuum left behind won’t fill. Few artists have ever accomplished such a monumentally intense yet far-reaching career. How many can claim to have collaborated with both Mike Patton and Jarren Benton? To have covered Justin Timberlake and be covered by string quartet Seven)Suns? After years of dizzying performances and stratospheric success, The Dillinger Escape Plan find themselves with no barrier left to break.

But the object of breaking never seems to matter much. Never known for subtle entrances, Dillinger pitch the bar off into the sun immediately with “Limerent Death,” a song that presses and beats against the walls of any room unfortunate enough to host it. “Limerent Death” makes “Prancer” look like elevator music, and puts the band’s previous spazz-outs to shame; it should end at about the 2:40 mark, but it’s such a powerful song that it bounces back from the grave, slinging its weight forward into a collapse that’s disturbing in scope. Puciato’s mangled vocal delivery warps the kitschy accelerando into a spectacle of insanity, and Weinman’s absolute trust in his talent is obvious across the album.

thedillingerescapeplanbloody2013’s One of Us is the Killer was many things, but I liked to sum it up in a single name: Billy Rymer. Mind-blowing performances on tracks like “When I Lost My Bet” established his absolute dominance in technical drumming, and the detail and energy of his playing made great songs into incredible songs. Yet on Dissociation Greg Puciato gets the last chance to contribute and uses it to break new ground and top even Rymer’s performance. Puciato writes and records his vocals only after the rest of the album is essentially finished, meaning that he has a unique freedom to shape songs in ways the rest of the band can’t; yet the music is tailor made for him in the first place. When the band give him addled interludes, he responds with spoken-word ennui in “Wanting Not So Much to as To.” When given space between attacks in “Manufacturing Discontent,” he fills with a yowl that’s half blues, half hardcore. His double-tracked pop-crooning is breathtaking next to  Seven)Suns quartet’s strings and layered industrial polyrhythm on The Dillinger Escape Plan‘s final song, imploring; “Find me a way to die alone.”

Yet for all of Puciato’s considerable charisma, he’d be lost without Weinman & Co. writing the most grating and unpredictable music on the planet for him to pour over. If for some reason you were afraid that Dillinger would back off the pedal, you have nothing to fear. The guitar work in this album is some of Weinman’s best ever, whether he’s executing excruciatingly percussive speed riffing or adding subtle harmonic flourishes to more melodic riffs. Even the ballad-like “Symptom of Terminal Illness” rides a shifty odd-time line that flows between aggression and agility with impossible lightness.

With all of this experimentation on full display Dissociation proves to be The Dillinger Escape Plan‘s weirdest album by a mile. “Low Feels Blvd” transitions from “Sugar Coated Sour” to a fuzzy samba solo in the span of 100 seconds and when Puciato finally rips through the soaring, ultra-prog guitar work, it’s like he’s actually splitting Mahavishnu Orchestra in half. “Fugue” takes Ire Works-style interludes to their logical extreme, and it’s actually surprising not to hear Greg Puciato trying to scream or even rap his way through it. Dillinger are painting in colors I’ve never heard.

The Dillinger Escape Plan Band 2016

And isn’t that the point? Though not as uniformly aggressive and dark as One of Us Is the KillerDissociation is by any measure more bizarre, unprecedented, and uncomfortable than any other recording from the band. Every album from The Dillinger Escape Plan is a grower because fans are never really prepared for its novelty; but looking back, this is even more unconventional than Ire Works. “Limerent Death,” “Low Feels Blvd,” and “Dissociation” are some of the best songs not just of this year but of The Dillinger Escape Plan‘s entire oeuvre; as challenging as “43% Burnt” and “When I lost my Bet” but powerful as “Sunshine the Werewolf.”

Rather than become stagnant, stable, and predictable, The Dillinger Escape Plan chose to push boundaries in every way even after widespread popularity. Dissociation carries the trend to the very end. It’s a mighty accomplishment even among one of the most forward-thinking, intense, and excellent discographies ever. When Billy Rymer’s drumkit is dashed to the floor for the last time, soaked in sweat and I dearly hope blood, it will have not been for naught. They gave us everything we wanted – and more.


Rating: 4.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320kbps mp3
Label: Party Smasher, Inc.
Websites: thedillingerescapeplan.org | facebook.com/thedillingerescapeplan
Releases Worldwide: October 14th, 2016

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  • Satthia

    Great review, and agree, this was Puciato’s best performance. Always bittersweet when a band decides to end on a high note.

  • sweetooth0

    cool, Dillinger rules! So glad I got to see them (with Shining[NOR] opening up no less) before they decided to call er quits!

    • Kronos

      I saw that tour when they were in Chicago. Greg jumped off of a 20 foot stack of amps and landed on my face.

      • Diego Molero

        How rude of him, awesome.

      • sweetooth0

        Killer!. Yeah both bands were very active with jumping into the audience! Almost every time Jørgen Munkeby starting going off on the sax, he’d do it right in the middle of the crowd!

        • DrChocolate

          I’m may be just a little (i.e. nauseatingly) jealous. I’ve never gotten the chance to see DEP live, which will now be like chasing a unicorn. Secondly, I would love to see Shining. They’re one of those bands that, on record, sound like a total studio creation. Yet every live video I’ve ever seen from them is just jaw dropping. A truly awesome set of musicians. Like I said, disgustingly jealous.

          • Kronos

            Shining have, until this last record, always produced great performance videos.

  • I agree a 100% to this review and I am also saddened they call it an end but also glad they went while they are still at there best before becoming a joke or a copy-paste of themself.

  • Diego Molero

    Ah man, I almost cry with this review.

    • Jm from nj

      Agreed. I’m teary. Seeing them in NYC last weekend was pure sonic bliss…a tremendous way to go out.

      • brklyner

        Great show in NY, couldn’t agree more. Very few bands manage to straddle such a career arc and translate their vision across at least two generations of their audience. There were as many young kids as heads in their 30s and older at the show, I think that’s a mark of success in and of itself.

  • Alan Smithee

    Excellent review. And man oh man, that Mahavishnu-esque soloing in Low Feels Blvd is sooo tasty; some of the band’s best work. Glad I got to see them before they packed it in. http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ec4a8169f90130df8e71e83de5d56eda3483c6747589292af527a92862b5d644.jpg

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Definitely gonna be getting this one (and the new Khemmis) come Nov. 1st. Good time of the year. Lots of awesome bands releasing new stuff.

  • Randie Johnson Jr

    Great review. The album is amazing. Never seen them live, but that’s changing in November. Hope they deliver like everyone says.

    • Anarchist

      they’re not coming north…

      • Randie Johnson Jr

        I don’t follow…

        • Kronos

          I think he’s Canadian.

          • Randie Johnson Jr

            Oh, I see. That makes sense.

    • Kronos

      You’re really in for a treat.

    • brklyner

      They always do, and always have, even in the earliest days. Weinman especially was always unstoppable on stage. Living in NY I was fortunate to catch them live almost 20 times over the years, and it was always worth it.

      • Randie Johnson Jr

        I am looking forward to it. I watched some of the footage from the last NYC show. Absolutely insane.

  • Midlife Chris

    This is one of those bands that I always hear such high praise regarding (especially their live shows), but whenever I hear a song by them, I always wonder how people can listen to and enjoy it. I dont know if it breaks along age lines or what (im 41), but im gonna give this a good listen to see if maybe I can finally “get it”.

    • Thatguy

      I’m older than 41 and I love ’em, so keep trying. Such a shame there will be no more, but such is life.

    • I’m with you. I’ve never much cared for [fillintheblank]-core, especially mathcore. It’s always seemed to me that it’s complexity for complexity’s sake.
      To each their own and such.

    • Edgar Allan Bro

      Give a couple of their more ‘accessible’ tracks a go before diving into the ridiculously complex stuff.
      – Sunshine the Werewolf for a longer groovier track and a fan favourite
      – Panasonic Youth is classic short/fast/loud DEP
      – Setting Fire To Sleeping Giants for FNM cross Converge
      – Mouth of Ghosts starts out almost post rocky, then gets jazzy, then just hammrs down.
      – 43% Burnt is kind of the blueprint for everything that came later

    • Monsterth Goatom

      I’m older, but I’m finding this intriguing. I can see how some can be put off by the first track, which makes Anaal Nathrakh seem like Simon and Garfunkel, but it’s not indicative of everything that follows. The music jets off in all kinds of fascinating directions, with echoes of everything from Avatar, Igorrr and Ruby My Dear, and classic hardcore to free jazz.

      • Kryopsis

        With all due respect, nothing makes Anaal Nathrakh sound like anything other than Anaal Nathrakh. I do agree with everything else you said, however. Although Avatar does not deserve a mention in that sentence (or any sentence, for that matter).

    • Dillinger is a unique band for me in that I never could get into their recorded music at all but in the flesh they were amaze-balls. I went to see them live on the strength of a recommendation (more than ten years ago now, at a small venue). It was a magical blend of unbridled chaos and technical skill. But when I got home and tried to listen to it I couldn’t make head nor nail of it. You had to be there.

  • Gage

    I don’t get the hype for this band at all. Just sounds like mathcore garbage. But this was a good review.

    • Nag Dammit

      Probably because they ‘pioneered’ matchcore. I put that in quote marks cos I don’t actually think they give a shit about what label they are stuck with, they just play extreme music and they do it extremely well. I’m currently listening to this at work and it is keeping me from nodding off at my desk. Thanks Dillinger!!!

    • AddicoInABox

      I completely agree, heard them described once as sounding like someone pushed a hardcore band down the stairs.

  • Reese Burns

    This year’s October has completely smashed last year’s. And my wallet softly weeps.

  • manimal

    Rest assured! A band is only really done once they’ve recorded their version of Illud Divinum Insanus.

  • Luke_22

    Great review Kronos. I’ve had a long time history with the band but feel I haven’t paid them enough attention over past couple of albums, but this sounds like a cracking album and fitting swansong from what I’ve heard so far. Still the most intense and insane band I’ve seen live.

  • Meriyas

    I’ve never been huge on TDEP or math metal in general, but I’ve been playing this album more or less non stop for a few days now and I absolutely love it. Great review Kronos, TDEP really did end on a true high.

  • Jack Rabbit

    “Disassociation” was the perfect track to end the album. Hopefully they got another US run in them before they end it, I don’t think I’ll be able to make this one.

  • Noobhammer

    I will miss this band. I love records that challenge, and they have always done so since the beginning. I love the fact they never compromised who they were, and made the music they wanted to make regardless of who was there for the journey.

    I feel lucky to have been able to see them at least once, granted it was at a Warped Tour, but they were the sole reason I went, if only to see the chaotic nature that made their shows memorable, and good Jørn was it. Seeing Greg jump from the top of a stage support and Ben whack himself in the nuts with his guitar by accident while spinning it around and STILL continue to play. Truly a band that will be talked about for years.

  • Norfair Legend

    Dang, they are playing tomorrow in Illinois, wish i would have checked sooner but i have been so busy.

  • Jeff Kent

    I’m 45 and I love a band who combines aggressive music with Jazz, my other love. I also have tremendous respect for band that beats their own path without compromise and continues to progress without losing integrity.

  • Óðinn

    Great review. Thanks Kronos.

  • Shane R

    I never got into these guys, but I like this album. In my opinion, it puts a little more variety on display than their previous work.

  • I always had a soft spot for their Faith-no-More-esque and experimental songs, but over the years I’ve grown to like the louder material too. Sad to see them go, but in the case of this band it really is better to burn out than fade away. So good for them. Hopefully their next adventures will be as significant as DEP.