Dillinger Escape Plan - Irony is a Dead Scene (Cover Artwork)

Dillinger Escape Plan

Irony is a Dead Scene (2002)


I'm having difficulty figuring out just how to start this review. DEP is one of those bands that can't be explained by words. Their music is chaotic and unpredictable. Heavy as hell. Spastic. You never know what they're going to throw at you. If you haven't heard them, I'm not going to bore you with further details, because I have never read a review that adequately explained what that band sounds like. Mike Patton is a weird fellow. In the various bands he's played with (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, Tomahawk), he's pushed the boundaries of what singers do. He makes weird sounds, uses crazy effects on his voice and basically sings like a deranged lunatic. He likes unpredictable music. Just listen to Mr. Bungle and you'll see what I mean. Heavy music that will spontaneously run off into a different style of music. It makes a lot of sense that he would team up with DEP. I know that DEP opened for Mr. Bungle on tour, so I guess Patton offered to work with them when their original singer quit (they've since got a permanent replacement, Patton is just singing with them for this EP). The combination works almost flawlessly.

Four songs. Eighteen minutes and one second. Not as much material as we would have like to have seen with these guys, but 18:01 of DEP with Patton is about equal to 2 hours of most other bands' music. If you're already a fan of Dillinger, you'll notice a few things when you first put this on. First off, it's not as heavy. It's still heavy, but the production keeps the guitars from absolutely pummeling you. I think this was a conscious choice, it gives the music a bit more subtlety. Another review I read said that the music is more moody because of this, and I think that's a fairly accurate statement. This EP is very moody. Some of it even borders on being "catchy." You read correctly, Dillinger is almost catchy. The second thing that Dillinger fans will notice is that there is singing, not just screaming. Actually, Mike does more than just sing and scream. He utilizes all of his crazy vocal abilities. Weird as fuck sounds come out of that guy's mouth. Plus he uses all sorts of effects and layered vocals that makes him sound, for lack of a better word, evil.

But how are the songs? Great. The music here has more depth than anything Dillinger has done before. If this is the kind of thing they have in store for us on their upcoming album, I'm damn well excited. I liked their previous work, but I like this even better. Hollywood Squares is the most "classic DEP" sounding of all the songs. Crazy tempo changes, intricate guitar lines, very driving. Even some subtle electronic sounds hiding in the background. Pig Latin has a very nice intro, followed by some crazy riffing and yelling, then a nicely haunting middle part before becoming hard again with some really cool Patton vocal sounds. When Good Dogs Do Bad Things is the highlight of the album. Six minutes where DEP and Patton throw everything they have at you. The guitar line in the middle is positively beautiful. The album closes with a cover of Aphex Twin's Come to Daddy which is surprisingly accurate. And the drum work on it is amazing.

I actually feel OK recommending this CD to non-DEP fans. It goes without saying that this is a must buy for any fan of DEP or Patton, you don't need my recommendation to know that you need to buy this. People who don't normally like DEP could possibly like this, as it is a bit more accessible, but without sacrificing the quality of the music. This is still as creative and original as anything either party has ever done. Highly recommended.