They’re one of those bands that you either love or hate. There is no middle ground when it comes to THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, and that extreme juxtaposition has kept the group on a steady run as the masters of the underground for nearly 20 years. For those who enjoy the erratic aggression of this iconic group, we wear it as a badge on our sleeve. You get it. You understand what so many others never will. It’s like being in an exclusive club, much akin to the unspoken brotherhood among Jeep Wrangler owners.
Unfortunately, our sovereign leaders have decided it’s time to put the beast to bed. After six albums, countless tours, even countless-er line-up changes, DEP will hang it up after their current tour cycle. But, alas, they have left us with a final morsel of sweetness. Released October 14 through their own Party Smasher Inc label, Dissociation stands as the perfect end to a storm that’s thrashed the coastline of our aural perception since the late 90’s.
Lead single, “Limerent Death”, opens the disc like a call to arms. The drums roll into a grating head-bouncer that quickly erupts into the off-kilter blast-fest that we’ve come to expect from the group. The song redefines aggression in music, like a temper tantrum that has been carefully constructed to bring you to the brink of your nerves. To follow this, the group attempts nuclear fusion, melding bitter ire with a harmonic delivery in “Symptom of Terminal Illness”. “Wanting Not So Much As To” reflects the peculiar nature of its title, moving through blasting trounces to subdued minor key melodics. As with any DILLINGER record, there’s always a track with prominent electro-noise; you’ll find that on “Fugue”.
“Low Feels Blvd” returns to the volatile clobbering, but adds in some jazzy leads through the bridge, while “Surrogate” shows the band’s punk roots. The capricious nature of “Honeysuckle” offers a full definition of all that DEP is about. The track moves throughout multiple speeds, varying levels of aggression, from unsettling thrashes to melodic passages. This is continued through “Manufacturing Discontent”, kicking the listener in the teeth repeatedly like a drunken stepfather. “Apologies Not Included” is effervescent in its movement from devastation to buoyant light and back again. “Nothing to Forget” is likely one of the more polished offerings from the guys, combing pounding guitars, electronic atmospherics and a heroic dose of angst.
As almost a farewell, Dissociation closes with the title track, the most vulnerable output in their history. The song is led by an amalgamation of noises, setting a subtle foundation to show off the R&B soulfulness that Greg Puciato can so amazingly accomplish. It’s a sign of movement away from the norm, which was a lot of what became the norm for THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN. They have remained unstable, unpredictable, embracing eclecticism and change. This is their legacy. And this is something that you need in your collection. Don’t thank me, thank these guys for being legends.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM