taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

reviews of local & state music CDs


For the last few weeks, “Farewell, Mona Lisa” has been a virtual cornucopia of possible directions for the Dillinger Escape Plan to take on their new newest album Option Paralysis. Like the album’s namesake, you could almost blow your own mind ciphering through the song’s neverending cache of nooks and crannies.

The blistering first two minutes harken back to their benchmark EP Under The Running Board, while the subtle artistry of the song’s second movement call to mind their Mike Patton collaboration Irony Is a Dead Scene. The truth is that Option Paralysis is something completely different. It’s an album that has managed to successfully take every praiseworthy aspect of their previous albums and forge it into one magnum opus of mathematical metal. Many fans from the early days might not see it that way, as this very clearly is the work of a forward-moving band. “What did you expect?” vocalist Greg Puciato scornfully growls on the opener, “that we would ever leave? What did you expect from us? You should never put your trust in any of us.” Despite having only one remaining original member in guitarist Ben Weinman, the band has kept its core formula of befuddling time signatures, ear-splitting vocals and jarring guitars, but there’s a element of finesse in songs like “Gold Teeth on a Bum” that almost sound alien to DEP’s mathcore blueprint. Still, the band displays no signs of calming down completely, but the song writing on Option Paralysis is an even mix of spastic riffs and infectious melodies, which are backed by Puciato’s vocals. Despite the band’s brilliant execution, this is still hardly a starter album for DEP neophytes. It’s Byzantine complexity particularly demands knowledge of their previous works to fully appreciate the inroads made in the form of tracks like “Widower.” The deceptively soft piano by longtime David Bowie keyboardist Mike Garson lulls the listener into complacency before slowly ascending into a crush of Pattonesque wails and double kick-bass, lending an unrequited sense of beauty to the loungy interlude. Bookending that track are a pair for the most aggressive of Dillinger fans in “Endless Endings” and “Room Full of Eyes.” That sort of multiplicity exists all throughout Option Paralysis and it’s often sublime to behold, just be prepared for the schizophrenic episodes its likely to induce as this one will surely satisfy both Prog and Metal fans alike.


Dillinger Escape Plan will perform at Greene Street Club on Friday.

For a chance to have your band’s CD reviewed, mail it to: YES! Weekly, 5500 Adams Farm Lane, Suite 204, Greensboro, NC 27407. ATTN: Ryan Snyder.