The Dillinger Escape Plan have always had a penchant for two-worded, oddly-titled albums: Calculating Infinity, Miss Machine, Ire Works, and now, Option Paralysis. Of course, they also have a penchant towards rather odd music. This new offering from them certainly has its fair share of oddness, if a strangely familiar oddness for us long-term fans who would expect nothing less from these angry-frat-boys-gone-terribly-terribly-wrong.
Anyone who has followed the career of Dillinger would surely agree that what they have never been guilty of is repeating themselves too much. The Mike Patton-guesting Irony Is A Dead Scene EP added melodic vocals to their sound after the departure of scream-happy Calculating Infinity vocalist Dimitri Minakakis. Miss Machine introduced us to “official” new vocalist Greg Puciato, and with him came a willingness to step further outside the confines of the “math-metal” subgenre (even sporting – Lord forbid! – a new-breed “ballad” of sorts, in the form of the aptly-titled Unretrofied). Ire Works, once again aided, ironically enough, by the departure of a band member (or TWO, in this case!), produced by far their most “experimental” and “un-metal” album yet, helped in no small part by the temporary drafting of the more jazz-oriented Gil Sharone in the drummer’s seat, and long-surviving guitarist Ben Weinman’s new-found interest in piano and drum programming.
The problem with Option Paralysis – IF indeed one feels petty enough to have to cite one – is that, unlike every other major Dillinger release before it, it seems to take no discernible steps forward…side-ways, at best. Not that this is a bad thing, and basically, well…if you liked the last couple of albums, chances are exceptionally good that you’ll dig this one also. I’m sure that in a few listens’ time I’ll be declaring it my new favourite album or something, but right now I’m a little underwhelmed by the fact that this seems a bit too much like Ire Works, Part Two. Am I being petty? Am I expecting too much, and if so, is it the band’s damn fault for creating an expectation within me to be pleasantly surprised by their constant reinvention? I’m inclined to agree with a review I recall reading of their last album, in which the scribe pointed out that we already know that Dillinger are the world’s best band when it comes to the whole “mathcore” thing, so can’t we just cut straight to the juicy “reinvention” stuff? You know what I’d like to hear from the next Dillinger album? NO METAL. Whatsoever. But hell, even if they don’t listen to lil’ ol’ me – which I strongly suspect may be the case – chances are I’ll still love it anyway. As long as they don’t bring Dimitri back on lead vocals, ’cause I really am getting a bit too old to be screamed at for the ENTIRETY of an album…
© Michael Bowser, Music Vice