Dillinger Escape Plan, The - Option Paralysis Record Label: Party Smasher Inc./Season of Mist
Release Date: March 23, 2010
It takes some bands many years to grab a hold of a strong fan base. Progressive writing behavior doesn't help either. Sometimes moving forward means picking up and dropping off fans along the way. Bands with a solid fan base will continue to test their listeners by riding a thin line of progression, while maintaining some sort of identity that those listeners have come to love them for. Few succeed at this. Many fail or ride the line so long, that when something drastic happens within their creative intellect, every listener vanishes at once.
Enter the Dillinger Escape Plan's new album, Option Paralysis. For some, it's a return to form coming off of 2007's big step forward (and most critically acclaimed work to date), Ire Works. For some of the super fans, it's a culmination of everything the band has set out to do so far. I like to think that the album is much of the latter. The band displays no signs of calming down completely, but the song writing on Option Paralysis is an even mix of spastic riffs and infectious melodies which are backed by frontman Greg Puciato's slick vocals.
The single, and first track, is a picture perfect representation of what to expect (and not expect) on the band's new endeavor. Somewhere between Patton freak-outs and Reznor choral lines, "Farewell, Mona Lisa" is a portrait of a band that has leveled out compositional intentions that were set out since Miss Machine. Instead of an uneven playlist of up's and down's, the band has blended both sides of their musical spectrum across the album, as opposed to separating them song by song. (See also: "Gold Teeth on a Bum" and "Chinese Whispers")
For the most aggressive of Dillinger fans, "Endless Endings" and "Room Full of Eyes" will suit thee nicely. Ironically, both songs are placed around "Widower," a six and a half minute structural build that will test even the most die hard of fans. Then there's the acid trip of "Parasitic Twins," it's chiming and crawling, sounding like a Nails' b-side. It's a strange bookend to a reckoning album. It fades out the intensity set by the rest of the record, instead of leaving the listener with one last blow to the gut.
Right before the album's head slipping ender though, we're left with "I Wouldn't If You Didn't," the grand marque of where the band has been and where they are stacked now. Their idols shine through, but the grit and dirt that the band has always been known for kicks the listener around before calmly sitting at a piano - then, one last swift kick to the head.
The Dillinger Escape Plan look less like the psychotic freak show they once started out to be. They are now bipolar in their writing, but are taking the right steps to channel all their sporadic creativity into well crafted architecture. Maybe I'm the wrong person to say this, but Option Paralysis has shaped itself up to be the best album by the band to date. It's sad to think that our idols die off eventually, or even worse, fade because of scrutiny. The Dillinger Escape Plan has certainly reached a peak for many, but with this album, they may have just solidified their seat amongst prog and metal kids alike.