The Dillinger Escape Plan - Dissociation (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Dillinger Escape Plan

Dissociation (2016)

Cooking Vinyl / Party Smasher

“Is it better to burn out or fade away?” is one of the most asked questions in music history, one that The Dillinger Escape Plan will not have to answer. Instead, the band, after earlier this year announcing Dissociation and its subsequent tour would be their last, has peacefully resigned.

It’s safe to say everything about The Dillinger Escape Plan is calculated, from the intricacy of their spellbinding technical expertise to their nineteen-year career yielding only six full lengths. Dissociation is the result of careful planning, not just for a new album but as the final piece of the DEP canon. The album collects everything you’ve expected (or pleasantly unexpected) from the band. It contains plenty of early DEP sounding tracks like “Manufacturing Discontent” as well as One of Us Is the Killer-esque “Symptom of Terminal Illness.” But as with all releases, there are a few left turns. The schizophrenic instrumental “Fugue” sounds like a Flying Lotus track for the hardcore fan, which aggressively contrasts the spoken word poetry that precedes it.

Every member is in top form here. Ben Weinman has crafted an eventful aural masterpiece, whether improvising in studio or refurbishing ideas from the DEP vault (apparently parts of “Fugue” have existed for a while). He and Kevin Antreassian are violent with their guitars. For proof look no further than “Honey Suckle,” but really there isn’t a bad example to be heard. And whether he’s channeling Mike Patton or Trent Reznor on “Apologies Not Included,” Greg Puciato has never sounded better. His screams are perfectly guttural but, on the title track, he sings beautifully over shifting electronics and subtle strings. “Couldn’t stay for you, what a strange way to lose,” packs a punch that’s hard not to get emotional over. 

The back half of Dissociation displays a band expertly executing their final moments. They go into full Dillinger for three and a half tracks before slowing things down and riding them out on “Nothing to Forget.” The song finds soft strings, Billy Rymer’s rapid-fire drums, and Puciato begging, “Please let me be by myself!” as it transitions into the closing six-minute title track which can only be defined as stunning.

And with that, The Dillinger Escape Plan is finished. They’ve given the world some of the most brutal, most beautiful, and truly experimental music any fan could ask for.