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The Dillinger Escape Plan – Miss Machine

The Dillinger Escape Plan
Miss Machine

A lot of River Styx water has gone under extreme metal’sbridge to Hell in the five years since the Dillinger Escape Planreleased its intricately raging classic Calculating Infinity. The bandfloored first-person-shooter types by taking math rock’s jazzyriffology and dime-stopping time changes (somebody owes the DazzlingKillmen a gift basket) and stapling them to the hardcore they grew upon. Outsider metal had a boom just like everything else in the ’90s,but Infinity still felt like a dizzying peak, a safe space to thrashfor kids too smart to feel welcome in mook-world and too young to buybeer.

These days, it seems like metalcore has becomejust another subsidiary of Emo, Inc.-prog hobbits like Coheed andCambria and flailers like the Blood Brothers have opened for DashboardConfessional, for Satan’s sake! But the Plan have always been a fewsteps ahead of their black-T-shirted brethren. Guitarists Ben Weinmanand Brian Benoit are too in love with strange riffs and strangerrhythmic shifts, and the way those bizarro dynamics force you to payattention to the human voice at the center of the chaos.

On Miss Machine, their first full-length recording with newvocalist Greg Puciato (Mike Patton filled in for 2002’s Irony Is a DeadScene EP), the band’s bulldozer actually uncovers a few melodies.Openers “Panasonic Youth” and “Sunshine the Werewolf” are standardDEP-screamy and frantic. But”Phone Home” is new territory, atechno-industrial slow burner that finds Puciato wrapping his nine-inchnails around the mike, mumbling about taking “fire out of heaven’sclenched fist.” The surging “Setting Fire to Sleeping Giants” kicks offwith a riff you actually could hum, then explodes into a chorustailor-made for the “slam section” of a skate video. “Unretrofied” evensmells like MTV2: keyboards, harmonies, and a big catchy chorus aboutrobots faking it so real it’s beyond fake. Gleefully impurist andhighly addictive, it’s the sound of a proudly “out” band finding itsway in.

Grade: B+