The Dillinger Escape Plan - Ire Works
Relapse Records
13 songs (38:32)
Release year: 2007
Relapse Records
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

The Dillinger Escape Plan is one of those bands that Metalheads tend to regard with a wary eye. On the one hand this is Post-Hardcore, the same all-encompassing and overly-applied genre tag that gave the world such populist fops as Alexisonfire and Funeral For A Friend. On the other, Ire Works is clearly drinking from the same Jazzed-up pool as Necrophagist, Atheist, Cynic, and other respected past and present names on the forefront of Metallic experimentation. Say what you like about DEP’s scatological practises, the band certainly can kick up one technical racket.

No doubt the haters are already anally pointing out both meanings of the word ‘racket’, but the fact remains that simply by existing DEP is an important band, Mike Patton collaboration or not. Not only did 2004’s Miss Machine help herald the start of the Metallic Hardcore scene’s exploration of heavy territory (and here, ‘heavy’ means actually being difficult to listen to, as opposed to pop songs with a screaming vocalist) but also it bought mainstream attention to extremity in music. Whether or not this is a good thing depends on you, dear reader, but the cycle keeps turning: Extreme Metal is getting serious recognition and that can never be a bad thing, either for those that reap the rewards or those driven deeper and darker as a result.

So, what makes this particular band’s third album worth listening to? For a start, this is The Dillinger Escape Plan at its most Progressive. Certainly, there’s been some diverse moments before, but Ire Works, from the cover art to the music, feels actually like Art as much as angry men fashioning chaos. There’s a journey being taken through the various textures on the album, and although in the past the band may well have intended for this, it’s on Ire Works that it becomes more apparent.

This isn’t to suggest that the band has toned it down, by any means. Fix Your Face, the album opener, bursts forth with a vengeance, the typically juddering time signatures especially feral with the sense that this is familiar ground. There’s been plenty of time over the band’s career for short, sharp shocks like this to be perfected and this is especially professional, the nearly epic central riff and relatively mellow interlude alone conspiring to make the heavier parts even harsher. Lurch follows, living up to its name with a manic dancefloor energy that’ll make you jump around like an epileptic in a moshpit.

It’s after this that things get really interesting, however. Black Bubblegum positively reeks of Mike Patton’s influence, mixing falsetto vocals, electronic beats and the best songwriting this side of Faith No More to create a catchy anthem that’ll survive in your head for hours if not days after. Sick On Sunday is mostly electronic, adding ambience to the equation, and ends up sounding like the Deftones on speed. Instrumental When Acting As A Particle, meanwhile, wouldn’t sound out of place on a King Crimson album.

In the songs that follow, we are treated to everything from the twisted Noise Rock of Milk Lizard to the Jazz-ridden Post Rock meets mid-period Pearl Jam of Mouth Of Ghosts. There’s even a guest spot from Brett Hinds of Mastodon, lending his vocals to Horse Hunter, that’ll go by in a flash unless you pay attention.

What is most interesting whilst listening to Ire Works is not the deluge of ear candy itself so much as the sense that this is some long-forgotten cult band from the nineties that a weird friend has recommended to you. Perhaps you didn’t check them out before because they were on the wrong side of the Metal/Non-Metal barrier, but now you’re listening and it’s stunning, and that weird friend has turned out to be not so strange after all.

Ultimately, like Refused before them, The Dillinger Escape Plan has taken the boundaries of Hardcore and bent them into an altogether new shape. Whether you dream of licking the sweat from Greg Puciato’s big muscular arms or the band features in your worse nightmares, there’s no denying that this is relevant. Even if the angular riffs and distorted noise put you off before, Ire Works might just catch and hold your attention.

Killing Songs :
Black Bubblegum, Milk Lizard, Mouth Of Ghosts
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by The Dillinger Escape Plan that we have reviewed:
The Dillinger Escape Plan - One of Us Is the Killer reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Option Paralysis reviewed by Goat and quoted 91 / 100
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Calculating Infinity reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Miss Machine reviewed by Nathanael and quoted 92 / 100
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