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CD review: THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, Option Paralysis

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By Ben ApatoffCD review: THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, Option Paralysis

According to founding guitarist BEN WEINMAN, the title of THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN's new album means "being in a situation where you have so many choices you can’t decide, and end up being frozen." It sounds like the kind of curse that plenty of headbangers wish on DEP every time they make a record that isn't Calculating Infinity.

For a band that people supposedly appreciate for pushing boundaries, every hint of tunefulness (or really anything that doesn't sound like a drill going through your eardrums) that the band explores gets hit with gripes about going soft. This phenomena won't stop with Option Paralysis–the short noisecore blasts of Ire Works have been traded for more structured songs, and all ten tracks are balanced by melodic exchanges and clean singing. Your loss, kvltists, because Option Paralysis is an awesomely dark, weird and aggressive record that every metalhead should be listening to this month.

More than ever before, the Dillinger Escape Plan are standing on the shoulders of their influences. The tempo-defying "Gold Teeth on a Bum" echoes the melodic shifts of Angel Dust-era FAITH NO MORE, and closer "Parasitic Twins" plays out like something TRENT REZNOR would write for the Apocalypse. Still, this is entirely DEP's record. The chaotic first single "Farewell Mona Lisa" melds Dillinger's mathcore abrasiveness with one of their best melodic segments yet, and the gentle-to-mental shocks of "Roomful of Eyes" and "Endless Endings" take the song-driven direction of Ire Works further than that album dared to go. Still, don't expect to hear any of it on terrestrial radio. There's nothing as Warped Tour-friendly as "Unretrofied" or "Black Bubblegum," with even the catchy, momentous "Widower" being probably too erratic for kids who go no further than SLIPKNOT.

For the first time in a years, Weinman is not the record's indisputable MVP. Singer GREG PUCIATO leaps between a terrifying scream, a haunting falsetto and flawless tune-carrying abilities that reflect a control of his instrument that can be as astonishing as any of his bandmates. Rookie BILLY RYMER, in the hot seat as Dillinger's new drummer, has an answer for everything that his band throws at him–listen to "Good Neighbor" and get over your CHRIS PENNIE fix. With Option Paralysis, the Dillinger Escape Plan have shown a knack for risk-taking that few bands attempt and ever fewer pull off successfully. Thank Odin that these guys are making music.

Rating: 4.3% Burnts out of 5

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