If anything, The Dillinger Escape Plan’s latest LP, Dissociation (Party Smasher Inc), serves as a comprehensive anthology of the various dynamics and styles that this New Jersey act has explored in just about 20 years of existence. This is further compounded by the recent announcement that Dissociation will be the last release before the band collectively buys the farm, so to speak.
To prove my theory, let’s examine the tracks that bookend Dissociation, ‘Limerent Death’ and its title track. ‘Limerent Death’ comes crashing down with a dragging sludge riff then rapidly snaps into a hailstorm of riffs and concussive rhythms. After two minutes the band then downshifts into more composed, spiraling guitar lines before Billy Rymer resumes to pummeling the listener to death with his snare. ‘Dissociation’ acts as our grand cinematic closer to both the album and its artists. Shooting for epic, frontman (and live wild man) Greg Puciato cleanly sings that he’s “finding a way to die alone,” all while surrounded by Massive Attack inspired electronics and being propelled by a strictly shoegaze tempo.
Everything else sandwiched between these pillars of song is right among some of the best noise Dillinger has whipped up in previous albums like Miss Machine and Ire Works. Another Rymer percussion fever dream ‘Wanting Not So Much As To,’ makes way to some soothing Jazz snippets and fluid string work from guitarists Ben Weinman and Kevin Antreassian. ‘Symptom of Terminal Illness’ travels down a Mike Patton path as it’s a more slithering number that at times resembles Faith No More’s ‘Zombie Eaters.’ ‘Nothing to Forget’ is rooted in traditional songwriting and is not as fleet of foot, but still delivers knee-buckling heaviness.
The Dillinger Escape Plan legacy is one of leading a career on their own terms. They’d still be underground royalty if they chose just to stick to the off the wall sonic madness of albums like Calculating Infinity (could’ve retired after that one if they wanted to). Or they could’ve eschewed that approach entirely and searched for a more mainstream following with streamlined, yet highly effective catalog numbers like ‘Unretrofied’ or ‘Black Bubblegum.’ But what’d be the fun in doing that?
Certainly one of the most polarizing bands of our time, but armchair and online critics be damned, Dillinger Escape Plan was also one of the most important.