Album Reviews

The Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis (2010)

  • Review by: Ankit Baraskar

The Dillinger Escape Plan(DEP) – Option Paralysis

Released – 23rd March, 2010.

Total Time – 42 minutes

When I first decided to check out DEP, I was told that they were “crazier than Meshuggah”. I was skeptical about this, and thought it to be an exaggeration, and took them for another one of those wannabe Meshuggah rip-offs. Boy, was I wrong…classified as mathcore, these guys have stretched the boundaries of musical composition ever since their first release, and this one is no different. The track by track review follows.

1. Farewell, Mona Lisa – What a way to start off the album…crazy, spastic riffs follow the barely audible chord progression at the start. Then it suddenly breaks down into clean chords, which then further break down into epic insanity. Then it all goes silent, and the guitars wrap the song in a secure structure, while the drums maintain the relentless polyrhythms…after which the vocalist screams his heart out and lets the song fade out.

2. Good Neighbour – The start to this one reminds me of “Terror and Hubris” by Lamb of God(their most insane song ever). This one is again standard DEP fare, a short ‘core’ track.

3. Gold Teeth On A Bum – The groove enters here…this one is slow paced, almost psychedelic, a song you get high on (and not high to). This is DEP’s experiment with melodic stuff…and it has worked surprisingly well, though they do not sacrifice the odd time signatures to acheive the effect, which is why this song can be regarded as one of the high points of this album(esp with the short, bluesy part and the harmonies).

4. Crystal Morning – Nice song, parts towards the end, especially the ethereal vocals suddenly usher in the Cynic-esque atmosphere.

5. Endless Endings – Another mathcore song that defies from any attempt to recognize structure of any kind whatsoever. Brilliantly done.

6. Widower – WTF..a friggin ballad…right in the middle of all this insanity, a piano and a guy nearly crooning…where did this come from? These guys just keep bringing out one surprise after the other. Almost a proggy song structure. But then it slowly picks up and starts getting chaotic, and even the piano gets avante-garde-esque in parts. And near the 4 minute mark, it transforms into almost an epic, and as the clean vocals stop, it fades out with the drums and piano. (Almost)

7. Room Full of Eyes – Nice jazzy parts and the rare comprehensible and catchy riffs make it an interesting song, almost has a blackened death metal feel towards the breakdown.

8. Chinese Whispers – One of the very few times that they actually start in a normal 4 by 4. Nice, catchy riffs, a song well done.

9. I wouldn’t if you didn’t – The insanity returns at full blast, and near the 1:30 mark, the piano decides to join in, and as the guitars fade out and it takes over, it imparts a very latin american feel to the song. Very interesting.

10. Parasitic Twins – A dark ambient start that progresses into something pseudo-bluesy, angsty stuff, with near corny lyrics like “Although I miss you, I will never ever say I do”…and so it ends, with a blues guitar fading out with the drums.

Overall, an extremely well done album with a lot to watch out for. Guitarists Ben Weinman and Jeff Tuttle manage to keep you engaged in the labyrinthine riff structures and Bill Rymer complements them extremely well on the drums. Greg Puciato has probably done some of the most diverse vocals I’ve heard on a mathcore(or for that matter any “core”) album. Almost susceptible to being labelled as avante-garde at times, this album is as aggressive, mathematical and chaotic as music can get. A must buy for anyone interested in technical/mathcore/avante-garde/experimental metal.