As a live act, the musically volatile Dillinger Escape Plan are one of the last genuinely dangerous experimental metal bands going. Vocalist Greg Puciato’s forehead-slashing barbarism goes beyond shock rock straight into self-loathing and guitarist Ben Weinman’s onstage collisions with amps and gear often result in severe bodily harm.
But while The Dillinger Escape Plan’s live show is a subversive celebration of chaos in motion, their albums — especially from 2007′s Ire Works onward — are meticulous and almost scientific, inventive explorations of the way various musical styles can alternately mesh and practically demolish one another. The Dillinger Escape Plan’s fifth record, One of Us is the Killer, is a frazzling showcase of technical speed-prog, unrelenting post-hardcore barreling, near-industrial electrocution, swinging rock ‘n’ roll excursions and soulful pop forays. The basic techniques should be familiar to the band’s fans, but the group pushes the limits of its expansive sound further than ever.
Indeed, some will find the Dillinger Escape Plan’s sonic schizophrenia too difficult, but for those with patience and open ears, repeat listens yield hidden rewards — like the syncopated beats that weave expertly through the Faith No More-style euphony of the verses of the title track. The rest of the composition is another story, riddled with blasting, dissonant guitars and a labyrinthine midsection. “Understanding Decay,” meanwhile, starts with a drum-and-bass beat and a barbed, sonically reconfigured riff that barely resembles a guitar. Then it’s full-steam ahead into a psycho-prog passage that mingles with catchy melodic vocals. Even when they employ infectious sing-alongs, they do so with a pernicious smirk, secure in the knowledge that whatever wondrous designs they build — like the jazz-pop section to rival Antonio Jobim in “Paranoia Sheets — they’re soon knock down in yet another torrent of inventive chaos.