The Dillinger Escape Plan - _Option Paralysis_
(Season of Mist, 2010)
by: Dan Lake (9 out of 10)
For poignant band history, please refer to any _Calculating_-obsessed article still mesmerized by the musical shape-shifting between albums, as if regular and significant line-up changes should have resulted in a stagnant musical vision. If you didn't listen before and know all that shit already, you won't be listening to this, the band's most complete and realized statement in said illustrious history. In _Option Paralysis_, they have balanced traditional beauty with violence and menace. "Farewell, Mona Lisa", indeed.

As strong as much of _Ire "Aphex Is Totally Sweet" Works_ was, most of the superior songcraft skulked in the later moments of the album, surrendering the first half to full-bore ear fucks and "ain't it cool" experimentation. _Option Paralysis_ still offers full-bore ear fucks ("Good Neighbor" and "Endless Endings"), but now the experiments serve the songs by adding color and dimension to the severe emotional battery. The band wraps its ambitions into dense, multifaceted attacks, each screaming through its own complex arc. By all means, take in the album as a whole (it's only about 40 minutes long), but enjoy each song as its own complete beating.

Puciato's lyrics have always been gold. While they've often been roared into obscurity, they can draw blood when sung. Drum sounds shift from micro-tight to empty-warehouse booming (both in "Room Full of Eyes"). Wicked-fast guitar fireworks are still in attendance, but now they incorporate and support more melodic progression. For many, album centerpiece "Widower" will be the deal-maker/breaker, with its core piano and breathy singing. But detractors will fail to notice that no complexity has been sacrificed for the song, as the piano, drum, and eventually guitar parts weave a constricting, airless bag around the listener's head.

Each version of the band has had to fight for its identity. Count DEP 2010 as a win.


(article published 6/2/2011)

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