Since their inception in 1997, The Dillinger Escape Plan have been terrifying audiences and arousing music snobs across the globe with their preposterous time signatures and unmatched stage presence. 16 years down the line, and the band have showed absolutely no signs of slowing. Their last effort , ‘Option Paralysis’ , saw the band completely push their boundaries to the limit; Even hiring the incredibly talented Mike Garson to play a beautiful piano piece that Dillinger managed to turn into their most ambitious song yet. After releasing such a sonically-broad album, the question on everyone’s lips was, “Where will they go next?” The answer, as you might imagine, is not simple.
‘One of us is the killer’ is everything you would expect a Dillinger album to be. The album roars into life with ‘Prancer’. A song that has all things Dillinger rolled into one. Huge hooks , chaotic instrumentation and an overwhelming power that makes you want to destroy everything. Surprisingly, this is a slower album opener than all of the previous 4, but it still packs the visceral punch that you would be forgiven for expecting from this lovingly-violent band.
The controlled-chaos then continues until the title track, ‘One of Us Is The Killer’. This song sees front man Greg Puciato demonstrate exactly why this band do not just fade into the pack of the horrifically-titled mathcore genre bands. It’s the hooks. When music is this heavy, this confrontational and this chaotic, hooks seem a hundred times more melodic and powerful, and Greg Puciato has become an untouchable vocalist when it comes to powerful hooks. But it isn’t just the melodic hooks that will stick in your head. ‘Hero Of The Soviet Union’ is a fine example of a foot-stomping gang-style sing-a-long. As Greg screams “YOU SMEAR YOUR FILTH ACROSS THE WORLD” you can almost imagine him jumping through your speakers grabbing you by the throat, and screaming the words in your face- what a lovely image, I know.
It is the talent of this band that always leaves your jaw on the floor after every album. It is hard to ever imagine how this band write songs that never once seem to be on the beat. It is an admirable quality but one that unfortunately most people can only admire from a distance.
One of the most noticeable things about this album is that there is there isn’t the classic Dillinger-style pop song. No ‘Setting Fire To Sleeping Giants’ or ‘Black Bubblegum’. For that reason, this album can at times become a bit jumbled. The frantic-technical side, followed by the odd hook appears to become a template on the majority of the songs on this album. The diversity of The Dillinger Escape Plan has been a defining quality of the band, and at times it feels like it isn’t present on this album. Especially when compared to the ‘Option Paralysis’ or even ‘Ire Works’, it can often feel like the band has settled. There just isn’t the level of ambition and experimentation that the previous efforts have held.
That being said, there are still moments where the songs reach amazing peaks. Particularly in ’CH 375 268 277 ARS’ ; Whilst this song only clocks in at 2 minutes and 32 seconds, the band manage to display just how dynamic they can be. Starting with a slow-twitchy feel, the band use the same rhythm but completely open up. Guitarist Ben Weinman unleashes a humongous riff that shows just how captivating this band can be.
‘One Of Us Is The Killer’ is by no means a disappointing album, but at times it can feel like the band have taken a step backwards. After the outrageously ambitious ‘Option Paralysis’ you would have thought the band would continue experimenting, but this album can sometimes feel contrived and repetitive. Nevertheless, it is still Quintessentially Dillinger; A band that are, and always having been bat-shit crazy.