The Dillinger Escape Plan – One Of Us Is The Killer

Dillinger-Escape-Plan-One-of-Us-Is-the-Killer Shall we start by getting the superlatives out of the way first? One Of Us Is The Killer is the finest record that The Dillinger Escape Plan have released. Period. It is a record so good you keep pinching yourself that this isn’t just some kind of weird extreme music dream where everything you love about this type of music arrives all at once and in beautfully realised fashion. One Of Us Is The Killer is a record of such blistering, visceral power that it will have you screaming your lungs out, dancing like a maniac and generally throwing yourself around your room with carefree abandon at the sheer bloody marvel before you.

Kicking off with the high energy bomb blast of ‘Prancer’, it’s an opening track that doesn’t just whet the appetite, it acts as a veritable statement of intent: DEP are back. And how. ‘Prancer’ is utterly focussed and controlled and yet completely out of control. If you’re looking to check some boxes as to what you might expect elsewhere on this record then this is a fair enough place to start. Mad technicality? Check. Weird time signatures? Check. Howling vocals? Precision musicianship that stays just the right side of veering completely out of control? Check, check and check again.

‘When I Lost My Bet’ takes things even further with its staccato drumming and incendiary vocalizing wrapping themselves around a bruising and utterly compelling call to arms. The sound that they create is simply extraordinary- venomous, energised and controlled chaos. One Of Us Is The Killer conjures the ghost of mid period Faith No More blending a gentle harmony with a fairly straightforward rock track that does that quiet-quiet-loud-loud schtick that FNM did so well. With DEP you also get that additional sense of genuine unease and disquiet, that something is about to go off. And by God does it go off on the next track, the magnificent and magnificently titled ‘Hero Of The Soviet Union with its “You are the Scum of the Earth, You are the Scum of the Ocean” lingering long in the memory.

‘Nothing’s Funny’ and ‘Understanding Decay’ continue this exhibition of sonic inventiveness; there’s so many ideas here you sometimes get the sense that they will collapse in on themselves but herein lies the genius of this record. Its not just that they stop the record sounding like an unholy mess, a record of wilfulness for its own sake. On the contrary, they use the dynamics created by the ideas brilliantly: letting songs take on a life of their own but equally reigning them in where needed. More, they understand how light and shade, order and chaos can co exist to make, in the nicest possible way, a helluva racket.

This is most brilliantly realised on the astonishing ‘Paranoia Shields’. It is probably the most exciting, kinetic, piledriving song I have heard this year. ‘Paranoia Shields’ just builds and builds across its five minutes of aural wonder: once you think they’ve gone and smashed it out of the park, they take us into another league altogether. It is the album’s highlight. And that’s saying something.

‘Crossburner’ is so full of venom, you could open a snake house at the local zoo with it and on the closer ‘The Threat Posed By Nuclear War’, there is a dark malevolence lurking in the verses that explode out in the bridge and chorus; as an example of how to manage dynamics within the confines of a rock song, its a brilliant, albeit diquieting example.

One Of Us Is The Killer is one of those records that you cannot ignore. It screams for your attention and then proceeds to hold it in a vice, twisting it slowly and gloriously. From explosive opening to bruising end, it is a phenomenal album. If you have any interest in the more extreme end of the metal scene then I suspect you are already more than familiar with DEP. I’m telling you this though friends, you aren’t prepared for this. One of Us Is The Killer is just stunning. It is the aural equivalent of several body blows and a rabbit punch to the back of your head that you’ll actually be thankful for. It’s an assault on your senses and a thrilling and exhausting one at that. Album of the Month without any shadow of a doubt. Chaos never sounded so utterly compelling.


Mat Davies

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