Released: 2013, Sumerian/Party Smasher Inc.
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
The “metal” to “math” percentage of Dillinger Escape Plan’s math-metal equation has changed rather dramatically over the band’s last couple albums, really since the Mr. Bungle-isms of Miss Machine. With their latest, the variables essentially even themselves out, with “metal” streamlining pushed even more to the fore and the “math” arriving in fits, starts and spasmodic bursts.
One Of Us Is The Killer is the most accessible of the band’s five full-lengths – though accessible is still a somewhat relative term here. But compared to the epileptic antics of Dillinger's earlier work, Killer seems downright catchy. Even when it leaps right into your face at the start with the maniacal “Prancer” and “When I Lost My Bet” there are distinctive and prominent hooky passages in each to tie together Ben Weinman's turbulent guitar runs and Liam Wilson and Billy Rymer's rat on crack rhythms. Ditto “Hero of the Soviet Union,” even though there it's a booming chorus of sorts that ends the song with Greg Puciato shouting “you smear your filth across the world” over and over.
On the flipside, “Nothing’s Funny” and “Paranoia Shields” are, at their heart, fairly conventional rock songs until Dillinger turn them into something more substantial with sly snippets of prog chicanery and hardcore bombast. “Crossburner” is a bit more complex, but still engages instead of confuses. And the instrumental “CH 375 268 277 ARS” seems to be their answer to Rush's “YYZ.”
The title track is the real wild card here. A mashup of smoky, lounge act verses and booming arena-ready choruses where Puciato sings his ass instead instead of yelling his brains out, it's the closest thing to anything radio-friendly the band has done since “Black Bubblegum” from 2007's Ire Works. Yet it in no way sounds like some cheap ploy to gain airplay. Indeed, by stripping things down and keeping it simple, it's probably one of the most honest songs on the album.
One Of Us Is The Killer has all the hallmarks of a band that is maturing nicely. It's a challenging work that delivers plenty of noise and more than a few anxious moments, but is still immensely likeable and worth wrapping your head around.