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The Dillinger Escape Plan – Miss Machine
The Hobo Review

Five Star: A look at albums that are so good that they impress even the most cynical of critics. Very few albums are superior enough to obtain a five star rating but occasionally a band slips through the river of mediocrity that is the modern music industry and they produce an album that restores our faith in the future of rock! This series is a look at such albums. 

The Dillinger Escape Plan got their big break when a video from their 1999 debut full-length Calculating Infinity caught the attention of none other than Mike Patton (of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle & Fantamos). Patton met with the band, expressed his appreciation of their music and invited them to come along on a Mr. Bungle tour, which gave the album coverage previously undreamed of. 

Their debut was aptly described by one critic as a “jaw-droppingly intense, mathematical, and inspired opus of immense technical proportion.” As the album became increasingly popular, the band decided to re-release the album with a few bonus tracks under the title Now Or Never. Soon after their now highly regarded vocalist Minakakis departed from the band to pursue his own musical interests.

The band embarked on a nation-wide search. They posted an instrumental version of their song 43% Burnt on their website and hopeful candidates to download and send in the track with their own vocals recorded. While the recordings flowed in the boys kept busy by recording a few EPs with Mike Patton on vocals – including the recording Irony Is A Dead Scene

The band finally found a replacement in the form of one Greg Puciato – a physically daunting man with an unbelievable vocal range. The new group bonded instantly. Their collective creativity led to the production of their first full-length in five years, entitled Miss Machine.

It appears the five-year hiatus has done the band nothing but good. Dillinger are now so technically proficient that time-signatures are nothing but playthings - generic constraints are laughable. (No disrespect intended, but) Puciato’s voice wipes Minakakis’ off the face of the earth – crooning one minute, manically shrieking the next, then roaring his lungs out mere seconds later in grindcore-esque brutality. What separates Puciato from the majority of hardcore/emo (for lack of a better word) vocalists is the perceived honesty in his voice – totally lacking in melodrama, instead thick and rich with emotional aggression. 

Musically Dillinger hold a certain technical flair that is generally unrivalled in its creativity, spontaneity and originality – fusing genius patches of chaotic jazz patterns with break-takingly powerful hardcore breakdowns. Take "Phone Home", a track that starts with an eery jazz beat as Puciato whispers: 'Take fire out of heaven's clenched fist / cracks slip between my desire to keep your broken heart bleeding'. Soon enough Greg works himself into a violent rage which slowly builds in momentum until it reaches the jaw-shattering crescendo: I made you, now you are property I can't discard.

The brilliant "Sunshine The Werewolf" tears through double-time apocalyptic madness only to break down into a clean, melodic passage of guitars mid-song. In possible the most blunt, violent outburst the vocalist roars: Without my existence you are nothing / without my affection you wilt / we f***ed like a nuclear war release ...f*** off / see how I let you down watching fallout fly back up.

The tracks "Setting Fire To Sleeping Giants" and "Unretrofied" would not have found a place on the previous album, but evidently the new openness of the band has allowed for an incorporation of a greater number of musical elements from across a large range of genres. "Unretrofied" voices the haunting cry of a man ‘half machine or (a) machine half man’ with a decidedly more clean, melodic chorus. "Setting Fire To Sleeping Giants" has an almost poppy alt-rock feel which sticks until the final thirty seconds tears your unsuspecting face off: they think this body's a dead note / dancing to the beat / but they'll never see this corpse coming 'till it kills them. 
 
I think it was J. Loftus who coined the term ‘artful rage’ in his recent review – and no term better describes The Dillinger Escape Plan. The band have shattered so many boundaries simultaneously by combining melody and aggression with an unparalleled lust for the creative and adventurous practice of fusing punk, metal and jazz.

Easily the most brilliant, powerful and important release of the year so far. Go buy it.
 



More Info 

The Dillinger Escape Plan – Miss Machine
Rating
Genre: Hardcore-infused Neo-jazz
For Fans Of: Meshuggah, A Life Once Lost
Best Track(s): Highway Robbery & Panasonic Youth

Track Listing:
Panasonic Youth
Sunshine The Werewolf
Highway Robbery
Van Damsel
Phone Home
We Are The Storm
Crutch Field Tongs
Setting Fire To Sleeping Giants
Baby's First Coffin
Unretrofied
The Perfect Design
 

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