THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN recently decided that the creative masterpiece and associated touring cycle for "Dissociation", the band's sixth full-length, will be its swan song. The genre-bending geniuses who make up the group are going out on top much like the way the classic, nineties comedy "Seinfeld" wrote its final chapter while it was firing on all cylinders. And as the group hammers the nails into its career's coffin, the band isn't fading peacefully into the night. Instead, it is grabbing listeners' hands and diving into the volcano.
One can't understate the mark the band has made upon extreme music, which began as it burst out of the gate with its eponymous debut EP. Most notably the group shook the foundation of both metal and hardcore with its 1999 debut full-length: "Calculating Infinity". THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN never completely abandoned its characteristic stabbing riff and blast attack that unified prog, math and grind into a distinct sound all its own. The addition of longtime singer Greg Puciato's impressive melodic vocal capabilities, shining bright here on the dreamlike soundscape of "Symptom of Terminal Illness", allowed DILLINGER to defy boundaries and expectations even more than the group initially did.
The band exploited its growth into more melodic and catchy pastures synthesized within its brutish dynamics. This is apparent with the bold transfiguration of "Honeysuckle", where the beautiful musical terrain it has cultivated is ultimately burned with an incendiary metallic storm. And the unit's boundless creativity and penchant for experimentation pays off, as it ventures well off its beaten path with the impressive, dreamy IDM and drill 'n' bass flirtations on "Fugue".
As impressive as a more recent effort like 2009's "Ire Works" is, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN's explosive displays seemed more tempered in recent years. With "Dissociation", when the band flexes its muscles, it's an even more potent style of maniacal belligerence. It is a jagged assault that is so incredibly start 'n' stop that it makes the uninitiated assume the music is skipping. "Low Feels Blvd" and "Apologies Not Included" are incredibly intense, and album opener, "Limerent Death", vocally and musically climaxes like an updated take on the FAITH NO MORE classic "Ugly in the Morning".
"Dissociation" is a rollercoaster unlike any of the entity's previous releases. Whether it's via overt brute force or the way the group conveys strong emotions, even during the slower and calmer parts, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN is more tumultuous than it has been in years. There is a permeating sense of unease, a likely result of original member and band leader Ben Weinman's state of mind. Apparently, the creation of previous albums led him to a place of calm; whereas "Dissociation" was an anxiety-ridden experience for the guitarist. The restless rage is obvious, and fortunately for music fans, the underlying chaos is harnessed masterfully. At the end of the day, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN attempted to calculate and navigate the impossible until the very end. Bravo.