The Dillinger Escape Plan - One of Us is the Killer (Cover Artwork)

The Dillinger Escape Plan

One of Us is the Killer (2013)

Sumerian Records

If you’re into the more obscure and, quite frankly, uncharted territories of hardcore punk – boy are you in for a treat.

Formed in 1997 by members Adam Doll (bass), Derek Brantley (later to be replaced by John Fulton), Craig McKeown, Chris Pennie (drums), and lead singer Dimitri Minakakis, The Dillinger Escape Plan is known for it’s violent, high-energy performances, harsh vocals, and complex arrangements. Their earlier years were especially more technical musically, though admittedly repetitive at times. Their EP, Calculating Infinity, caused quite a stir in the late 90s punk scene. The music was noisy, but precise. The lyrics simple, but effective. I personally prefer their later work, but will always appreciate how unapologetically metal their eldest album was.

After Minakakis’ abrupt departure, the band welcomed Greg Puciato as their new lead vocalist in 2001 and released their first full-length album entitled Miss Machine in 2004. Miss Machine (Puciato having a particularly softer vocal style) strayed from the original approach of Calculating Infinity, but offered more diversity music wise. Less mechanical and more melodic, I enjoyed almost every second of the album. Ire Works (2007) and Option Paralysis (2010) both carry on the Miss Machine vibe of experimental hardcore while providing a clever mixture of that staple heavy metal pandemonium and many not-so-classic arrangements.

One of Us is the Killer is an album for old fans and new alike. Being a newer fan myself, I love songs like “One of Us is the Killer” and “Nothing’s Funny” – which do stray from their roots quite a bit, but only add to the album’s variety. The album in its entirety sounds more post-hardcore than anything. Call me biased, but it works. It’s no Calculating Infinity and Puciato certainly isn’t Dimitri Minakakis, but they do pay a nice homage to some of their original work with songs like “Understanding Decay” and “When I Lost My Bet”.

This album is intense, diverse, and thoughtful with musical, as well as emotional, complexities beyond anything I've ever heard in punk music. I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.