Review: The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation (USA, 2016)

First things first. While announcing this same release, the band also stated this would have been the last album by Dillinger before an indefinite hiatus. Let’s contain the tears and talk about Dissociation first, I’ll get back on topic later. Well, that was a huge pun. In fact, the album’s title is totally appropriate to the event. Seriously now, here we go.

The opener “Limerent Death” comes off honestly as a bit underwhelming for Dillinger and, in my very personal opinion, has been a bad choice for the first single. Greg’s screams sounds lazy, he isn’t performing as viscerally as he can be (especially comparing the track to the past vocal intensity of “Fix Your Face”, which the rhythm patterns remind me of quite a lot).

“When movement ceases / and everything is still
I thought that time was frozen / Instead we’re resting; scathed
I thought we’d be forever / What was I to say?
You were never alone, you just didn’t know where to fucking go
(Pining to escape, you’re fucked)
There’s no escape!”

Puciato seems like “not feeling it” and I think he wasn’t delivering to his fullest, still I appreciate the alternating falsetto ideas. The tune reminds a bit of the rock-‘n-roll-ish grooves of “Milk Lizard” in places. The second half of the track feels a little naïve, maybe it’s just me though. But let’s put down the negativity, it all gets better from there.

The somewhat intriguing intro in “Symptom Of Terminal Illness”  takes us to a pensive, mysterious low-tempo track with a catchy chorus.
“I’m frightened in sleep. thinking my world will be gone /  Promise me I won’t die”
Well that’s more or less how I’m feeling knowing this is probably Dillinger’s last effort! Sob, don’t make me cry.
Sorry, let’s move on. “Wanting Not So Much To As To” is both an intense and varied track with wacky  guitar harmonies and a brief central drum solo by Mr. Rymer. Some plain spoken word and chanting are provided as an interlude, something quite new to my ears from our very Greg, which then puts out the usual unmistakably ear-worm-like refrains.

As from DEP tradition we get to the electronic track of the bunch, “Fugue”, balancing midway between break-core and cinematic dark ambient. Yet again, Mr. Weinman provides some Aphex Twin worship.
“Low Feels Blvd” puts us at the stake with another intense kickoff, reminding me of the Miss Machine era. Some tasty choices in the drum lines there! The initial energy resolves in a clean jazzy break, topped by Ben’s shredding. Greg’s falsetto choirs and chanting give depth to this same section, then the engine is set back to full throttle before closing.

“Surrogate” is intense but still groovy, specifically the second half builds up a discomforting and somehow disturbing atmosphere with Greg’s spoken and Ben’s dissonant double bendings layered one on top of the other.
 “Honey Suckle” is a close contender to standout track for me, but comes second. What, sorry? Want to know #1, eh? Wait for later, you impatient child! Maybe the most unpredictable tune, alternating jazzy swing and brutal aural assaults. Yet again, Puciato proves he just can’t write unmemorable vocal lines. Those refrains are so catchy. Maybe under torture, he’ll be able to write a bad melody.

The following two tracks didn’t do much for me, but wait guys, the best is yet to come.
“Manufacturing Discontent”…er, nothing notable here, a pretty straightforward heavy one with a more linear beat than usual. Honestly comes off as a filler, the guys have surely spoilt us with better material. The ending jungle beat plus falsetto section is nice, though. “Apologies Not Included” counts as above. Didn’t really click, sorry.

Here we start getting into foreign territory. “Nothing To Forget” presents as a very straightforward chugger with an unfamilliary steady rock beat. Poppy, hey! Greg shows his vocal versatility in this tune built for simplicity, even showcasing a “woah-oh” section, however perfectly fitting underneath a subtle increase in energy. Dillinger, is that you? Well, as always, when it works… it just works!

Please let me be by myself / I don’t need anything”…
Gentle, soothing ending supported by an unfamiliar element, strings! But wait for the closing track, there’s the big deal. Meanwhile, a crazy Rimer solo comes over, re-establishing the closing hammering.

Last track. “Dissociation”. Absolute standout.
Here is the swan song. Ironically, the last song of what’s supposed to be the last album ever is something completely new for DEP.
You’re hearing it correctly, it’s synth strings! No heaviness here, no frontal assaults, no brutal rage.

Everything led here, to yet another experimentation. It can’t be the end then, but apparently it is.
This pensive, obscure and stripped off track, with electro-industrial sensibilities and soothing clean vocals border-lining Puciato’s latest side project The Black Queen, seems to give a last emotional buildup of melancholy, quite a last salute to the project itself.
“Couldn’t stay for you / What a strange way to lose”…
Goosebumps are allowed, we got quite the closer here.

“Don’t confuse being so free with being discarded and lonely”
“Finding a way to die alone…”

A hymn to all the outsiders like the band itself, and a memento: carve out your own path, may it be in music or in life.
The recurrent motif comes and goes again and again before slowly fading out.
Silence. This is the end.
Dillinger has escaped.
The lizard has been milked.
Folks, this has been The Dillinger Escape Plan.
Thank you.

Let’s wrap this up. Overall, it’s been great. Probably their most experimental effort to date, while still being solid. I’d make a direct comparison with Ire Works, which I think Dissociation shares the most qualities with, such as the “melting pot” approach on tracks, the presence of an electronic one and of a distinctly melodic closer. Compared with the predecessor, this effort seems more cohesive, consistent and mature, while Ire Works might have seemed more like an unplanned, sometimes aimless collection of various ideas.

Want my opinion? Pre-order this. It’s worth it. But for the most patient, you can wait another bunch of days, it comes out October the 14th.
I really hope Dillinger are just going to take a bit of a rest and then come back because if we got there, things would be going to move on golden. This has probably been their creative peak, really an exit in style.
However, if this is actually the end, may I say it’s been the most honest retirement ever in the music industry to date, in my humble opinion.
In any case, I’ll be still waiting. Goodbye DEP, for now at least. So long and thanks for all the riffs.

Label: Cooking Vinyl
Links: Website | Facebook | YouTube
Release Date: October 14, 2016
Reviewed by Rizzo

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About Andrea "Rizzo" Rizzieri 39 Articles
TSL co-founder, co-owner, editor, and in charge of everything-that-comes-with-that. Born 1992, I always had the vocation to learn everything I could later never accomplish to save my own life. I am indeed a failed guitarist, drummer and so much more! Er, I’d better write about music I like for the time being. Although my musical past has been firmly rooted in rock, punk and metal, I appreciate any kind of music as long as I find it artistically interesting. I have a split personality by which part of me likes anything musically forward-thinking, inventive or just of general “good taste”, and part of me likes being blasted by all-out intensity and dissonance.

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