Released: 2010, Season of Mist
For reasons enough to compile an entire thesis, The Dillinger Escape Plan was always going to be a magnet for criticism. As far back as their seminal CALCULATING INFINITY debut, their spastic take on hardcore, metal and jazz has come under fire for repetition, wayward experimentation and just about every other gripe in between. But just so we're very clear: they don't give a fuck and their cheeky nod to Justin Timberlake's quiver-inducing pop on 2007's IRE WORKS boldly underlined this.
OPTION PARALYSIS is the fourth in a wildly disparate canon, and for its duration the Morris Plains troupe remain resolute in their hunger to tear the envelope to shreds. Swaying toward neither a heavier nor any more accessible sound, their latest record instead shares a kinship with the Patton-fronted IRONY IS A DEAD SCENE, the goal to craft intricate atmospheres being far more apparent than their now-signature jazz-inspired dissonance or indeed the choruses which anchored the majority of this disc's predecessor. The ethos is clearly embedded in the album's lead cut, "Farewell Mona Lisa", a frantic exercise which shifts gears often and unexpectedly. "Good Neighbor" follows suit, a shout-along chorus demonstrating DEP's confidence in their metal credentials, while the phenomenal "Chinese Whispers" is perhaps one of their most riff-heavy compositions to date. In fact, as a highlight it’s only barely eclipsed by “Widower", a subtly complex masterpiece that uses little more than a lounge piano and Greg Puciato’s vocals to tease us toward a crescendo of epic
Imaginative as it may be, OPTION PARALYSIS won't be to everyone's liking. DEP treat tradition with a staunch belligerence that’s unlikely to sit well with anyone whose idea of musical nirvana is the current slew of thrash albums hitting the shelves. Then again, I loved the last Testament as much as the next guy, so who knows? One thing's for sure, if it's intelligent and challenging you're after, they've have hit the bullseye once again.