The Dillinger Escape Plan - One of Us Is the Killer
Sumerian Records
Experimental Post-Hardcore/Metal
11 songs (40:01)
Release year: 2013
Sumerian Records
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

Being on their fifth full-length means it’s hard to view The Dillinger Escape Plan as chaotic upstarts any more, bursting into the metallic mainstream out of nowhere with Panasonic Youth’s calling card and a solid background. If mathcore even exists as a genre, a music ‘scene’, then TDEP are elder statesmen of it, formed in 1997 and with members playing together before that – they’re just four years away from their twentieth anniversary! Despite that, a new album from the band feels like the sort of capital-n-e New Event that the musical underground has been missing of late (is it just me, or has 2013 been pretty boring so far?) and I’ve been looking forward to One of Us Is the Killer as the next step from them since the excellent Option Paralysis, with dread as much as hope. After all, this is a band that takes musical chaos and experimentation as its very raison d’etre and seems to exist on a knife’s edge, always perfectly balancing melody and heaviness, catchiness and the deranged hardcore schizophrenia from which they were birthed – surely they’re going to produce a stinker eventually? Surely they’re going to take their pop influences too far, tone down the heaviness?

Well, not at all. Now dealing with Sumerian Records rather than Season of Mist, TDEP have stepped forwards and sideways at once, as ever. One of Us Is the Killer is still dementedly heavy, full of powerful slabs of noise connected together by some of the finest songwriters in music – seriously, it takes talent to produce a racket that flows so well and is so listenable. The opening surge of Prancer, where the band’s usual ricocheting riffage careens wildly between manic tempo shifts and almost catchy vocal extortions from Greg Puciato, is a perfect calling card to introduce you to the album, violent and energetic as the best hardcore can be. The metallic edge of Option Paralysis is still notable, the heavy moments being truly heavy throughout the album and more than enough to place this alongside the most deranged underground acts in sheer sonic torrent.

Of course, Dillinger wouldn’t be Dillinger without a lighter side, and the title track especially works as the kind of ballad with a dark tone that the band excel at – although it’s still a heavy track from the instrumental input. More Patton-y than ever in his falsetto yet more his own man than ever in his clean vocals, Greg Puciato seems to get better on every new album from the band, and his contribution here is excellent. His harsh vocals are still a world away from that of black or death metal realms, but fit the chaos of the music – a truly deranged yelp on Hero of the Soviet Union and Magic That I Held You Prisoner, for example. And the music is truly chaotic, from the cut-and-paste groove of Nothing’s Funny (something like a modern Faith No More let loose in the studio after a lot of drugs) to the proggy Paranoia Shields, complete with horn interlude. The electronic influence from Ire Works pops up again here and there, notable on the drum n’bass intro to Understanding Decay and more generally on When I Lost My Bet, for example, which also features some lovely jazzy drumming at the start.

It’s hard to pick out anything altogether new, although the tetchy, electronica-imbued tech-metal of interlude CH 375 268 277 ARS will surprise, as will the slow and heavy Crossburner, which makes full usage of the electronic effects. What holds One of Us Is the Killer back from truly threatening its predecessor’s place as my favourite TDEP album is ultimately that as good as the songs all are, it doesn’t have the same sense of uniform brilliance and innovation. Each track has something to offer, is so complex in structure that I could delay this review for months and still not understand fully. As caustic revolutionaries of aural extremity, The Dillinger Escape Plan can’t be beaten, and this album is another excellent outing that’ll hold you rapture for each of the many, many plays you’ll give it.

Killing Songs :
Prancer, When I Lost My Bet, Hero of the Soviet Union, Nothing’s Funny, Paranoia Shields
Goat quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by The Dillinger Escape Plan that we have reviewed:
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Option Paralysis reviewed by Goat and quoted 91 / 100
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Calculating Infinity reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Ire Works reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Miss Machine reviewed by Nathanael and quoted 92 / 100
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