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Album Review: Dissociation by The Dillinger Escape Plan

American mathcore band The Dillinger Escape Plan will release their sixth album Dissociation on 14th October via Party Smasher Inc/Cooking. In what could potentially be their final full-length album before an ‘extended hiatus’ this sees the band at their most incendiary and complex.

Since their inception in 1997 the band have created an utterly unique and captivating sound. Unlike anything else their sound has continued to develop and grow over 19 years – injecting new life into rock music with each album and inspiring a whole new ream of bands. If you’ve managed to ignore The Dillinger Escape Plan then, naturally, you’re in for a real treat – their blend of metal, math and jazz is something to behold. The New York Times said it best with “If you really want to know these songs — metal through the jazz-rock filter of Allan Holdsworth and Mahavishnu Orchestra — you have to listen repeatedly and concentrate. Increasingly it’s a composer’s music…a haywire, acrobatic combustion that occurs in almost every song.”

Dissociation is similar to previous albums in the fact that it’s quite the challenge. For the unfamiliar listener it’s abrasiveness will confuse and the cacophony of guitars and time signatures will at time blend into a wall of noise. Then like every other Dillinger Escape Plan album if you let it bed in, give it your time and attention, it will become your best friend. You’ll find solace in every sonic boom, find release in each explosion of guitars and fall in love with each swooping vocal part.

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In some ways this might even be considered the band’s most accessible album. (Bear in mind that we’re saying that in relative terms). Opening two tracks ‘Limerent Death’ and ‘Symptom of Terminal Illness’ pack a serious punch but due to their hooks they also come over as the some of the band’s most immediate work. ‘Wanting Not So Much To As To’ combines some of the most experimental and complex guitar work committed to record by the band with some of Greg Puciato’s most accessible vocal parts. It’s a wonderful track. Conversely, ‘Fugue’ will challenge even the most experienced listener.

‘Low Feels Blvd’ is expansive and experimental, weaving between brutally heavy moments and free jazz-esque spots it acts as a timely reminder of why you first feel in love with the band. ‘Surrogate’ stands out for its visceral brutality, tempered by the minimalistic breakdown around the 2 minute before the track explodes again into an evil beast simmering with energy. That ferocity is ramped up a notch in parts of ‘Honey Suckle’ blending it with unbelievably complex layers and brutal force. It’s like a fist pummelling you in face for 4 minutes with the odd cheek stroke thrown in. Utterly glorious.

Latest single ‘Manufacturing Discontent’ reminds you a little of early Dillinger Escape Plan, the odd metal riffs thrown into the mix sound wonderfully malicious and electrifying. It’s another track where Greg Puciato blends pure guttural screams with his proper singing vocal – when it soars it adds a real hypnotic level to the sound. The crunching opening riff of ‘Apologies Not Included’ gives you a brief opportunity to catch your breath before the track bursts into a driving, brutal sound. ‘Nothing to Forget’ is another track out of the top drawer before title track and album closer ‘Dissociation’ manages to blow you away with its ambition and delve into the epic. As the opening strings make way for throbbing bass you’d be hit with a wave of emotion that this might be the last song of the band’s career. Full of sentiment and atmosphere it’s a fitting end.

If this turns out to be The Dillinger Escape Plan’s final chapter, then we’ve just witness one of the most compelling and exciting careers. They’ll be sorely missed.

AD Rating 10/10

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