The Dillinger Escape Plan Dissociation2016 Party Smasher Inc.
A plan for the end.
Few bands have ever burned as bright as The Dillinger Escape Plan. From their unhinged live performances to their fearless avant-garde musical exploration, the group have indelibly left a crippling injury on the body of heavy music as a whole. As sad as it is to see that this latest affair is their swan song, it’s refreshing that a band so vital want to part ways before passing their prime. No irreconcilable differences, no dragging it out and doing it for safety or a paycheck. They control their own destiny and have chosen to end it.
It’s a respectable position, though god knows if there’s anyone who can fill the void that they will leave. By now there’s a good chance you’ve heard this album’s opening track, “Limerent Death“. The explosive cut features a chaotic sonic derailment that instead of ending in a screeching halt, picks itself back up and charges forth even more ferociously. It’s a stunning bit of songwriting that only a band like this can pull off and a clear indicator of the unsettling insanity that’s to come.
While it may be hard to believe, “Dissociation” is outright the band’s most adventurous album to date. In fact, some will likely argue it to be a bit too reckless. The instrumental segue “Fugue” that arrives near the halfway point is a full-fledged jaunt into late 90’s sounding drum n’ bass. “Honey Suckle” schizophrenically alternates between jazz, searing noise and Faith No More theatrics. Meanwhile, “Low Feels Blvd.” takes a jazzy stroll into prog territory, only to find the serenity they’ve created incinerated in a fiery tailspin.
Then there’s tracks like “Wanting Not So Much As To“—which in addition to having a standout glitchy intro and more—finds frontman Greg Puciato working out an inner monologue of understanding and acceptance like some poetic psych evaluation. It just gets even more manic from there on in with Puciato sounding particularly liberated during the punkish yells that bridge “Manufacturing Discontent“.
In a lot of ways this album gives off an air of renewed youthful anticipation, with the thrill of what comes next unknown, it’s like they are eagerly rushing to meet their end. While Puciato has stated that it wasn’t written about the breakup, there’s pointed lyrical moments that may have you believing otherwise. The sneering “I’m afraid of how this ends” found in “Surrogate” could easily be projected upon the band’s fate, but was apparently written about some upheaval in their personal lives.
Still, with an end in sight, there’s no worrying about blowback or consequence and the band relish in it. That’s not to say it’s smooth sailing as it certainly seems like a difficult effort to have written. But there’s also an uncommon purity where ego clashing seems to have relaxed and a sense of appreciated brotherhood and living in the moment has taken hold. As frenetic and complex as it all is, there’s still just as much thought as there is heart too. You can tell that they still care about their craft, regardless of their plans to walk away from it.
The final two strings-accompanied songs that close out the album are almost bittersweet in their melancholy, with “Nothing To Forget” sounding like the losing end of an internal struggle and the particularly somber title track sending the band off in a timeless freefall through the veil of an acrid digital haze. From start to finish “Dissociation” is uncompromising. A creatively diverse epitaph from a band who gave everything they had to their art and succeeded (and ended) on their own terms.