CD Review: The Dillinger Escape Plan – ‘Option Paralysis’

Review: Ben Hosking
The last few years have been pretty turbulent for The Dillinger Escape Plan. While their records and their live performances have always been violent musical explosions of fury, the latter usually quite unpredictable in nature, it did seem at one point that the band ran the risk of becoming victims of their own chaos. As front man Greg Puciato recently put it, the band was engulfed in “a vicious tornado of animosity” that led to the departure of drummer and co-founder Chris Pennie.

As history sits, their last album Ire Works was completed and toured with the help of Gil Sharone of avant garde group Stolen Babies. However, this proved only a temporary solution, with Sharone leaving the group at the end of 2008.

Certainly, Dillinger is not a band known for their stable line-up, with guitarist Ben Weinman the lone original member. Regardless, the group searched for permanent replacement through 2009 – no easy task considering the relentlessly brutal barrage of erratic blast beats that permeate most of their music. What they found was 25-year-old Billy Rymer.

Apparently, Billy fit right in, with the band writing and recording their latest album, Option Paralysis faster than anything that’s come before it. According to a recent interview with the band, Puciato says the project was, “…one of those rare combinations of speed and quality”.

Quality is certainly the right word for describing Option Paralysis, the band’s fourth album. Option… is bursting with the same spitting vitriol of their previous works, complete with plenty of their spasmodic rhythmic accents, blast beats and schizophrenic guitar play. You’d have to be well fit to get through performing a single song on this record, let alone play a whole live set.

From the opening barrage of ‘Farewell, Mona Lisa’, Dillinger is a band boasting a renewed vigour. Puciato’s steely intent delivers a message with all the urgency of a speeding ambulance, warning us against the exponential rise of technology and man’s inability to cope. And oh, how his vocal range and confidence has improved.

It’s an album from a band that is pushing their musical abilities further with each release. Whilst still as uniquely unpredictable as usual, Option… does contain more hooks and more dynamic range than before; offering the listener a layered, rewarding musical journey full of musical peaks and troughs.

While Ire Works did contain hooks and dare we say it, pop sensibilities; Option… picks up where Ire Works left off. The sheer fact that the group can create and perform such auditory madness with such precision is truly remarkable.

This will surely be one of the top records of 2010 and one that fans, or those curious to see what Dillinger are all about should not miss.