The Dillinger Escape Plan - _Ire Works_
(Relapse Records, 2007)
by: Jackie Smit (9 out of 10)
There exists an abstraction within certain forms of art that once a particular piece of work has been let loose on the public consciousness, it becomes the proverbial property of its intended audience, and so by extension the artist responsible for creating it. Whether you subscribe to this theory or not, it certainly would explain a lot given the context of extreme music, where the slightest shift in direction or perceived toning down is met with an avalanche of often very personal discontent. Take The Dillinger Escape Plan. Once the toast of a niche audience for whom the band's jazz-infused grinding was a bona fide revelation, their genre-bending _Miss Machine_ effort was greeted with scorn over what was perceived as an attempt to court the emo and mall-core crowds. That so many saw fit to be up in arms over essentially two songs worth of comparatively accessible material across an album that was by no means a cop-out in any way, provides ample fodder for a debate around music fans' reluctance in general to respect an artist's decision to develop and evolve their style. So, it should hardly be surprising when a quick trawl of the Internet offers more than a few choice thoughts and ideas over the direction that Dillinger have taken with _Ire Works_.

But before we start to address the validity of comparisons to Fall Out Boy and the like, you can be rest assured that if indeed DEP's third full-length were to wholly crack the mainstream, you can expect to see one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse skirting the horizon very soon. For whatever experimenting or toning down is present on _Ire Works_, it remains a largely confrontational and acerbic slice of math-core, and the opening salvo of "Fix Your Face" and "Lurch" are drizzled in enough spastic rhythm-changes and fuzzed up, free jazz chops to underline this point quite vividly. "None Eye Gong", and "82588" likewise are brutal, vitriolic rants with Greg Puciato's seething shriek easily rubbishing any rumours of DEP mellowing out.

Nevertheless, there are a few songs that will likely prove to be bones of contention, and "Black Bubblegum" and "Milk Lizard" in particular could very easily become MTV2 favourites, if simply by virtue of the reverent manner in which they recall Faith No More's finest moments. Indeed, with Mike Patton's spectre looming over the band to varying degrees for years now, for DEP to produce a track boiling over with the subtle malevolence of "Dead as History" or "Mouth of Ghosts" shouldn't be nearly as inconceivable as some would make it out to be. And muted though these numbers may be, their quality is undeniable -- masterfully crafted and continually absorbing. If per chance they were to find their way on to mainstream music television, well then I honestly don't really give a fuck. If it means one less conveyer-belt pop song fouling the airwaves, more power to 'em.


(article published 19/11/2007)

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