Dillinger Escape Plan - Ire Works (Cover Artwork)

Dillinger Escape Plan

Ire Works (2007)


The Dillinger Escape Plan still have something to prove. Despite establishing themselves as one of the reigning kings of technical metal with their 1999 debut album Calculating Infinity, the band have had little opportunity to rest on their laurels and churn out album after album of complex guitar riffs and off-time drumming. Ire Works took less time to release than its predecessor, 2004's phenomenal Miss Machine, but it was no less tumultuous; both founding member Chris Pennie and longtime guitarist Brian Benoit have left the band, leaving Ben Weinman as the only original member. Despite these difficulties, Ire Works manages to up the intensity of previous albums while continuing to branch out from the now heavily populated "mathcore" scene.

The album starts off with a 1-2 punch of "Fix Your Face" and "Lurch," classic Dillinger tracks that prove the retooled lineup is just as capable of shredding as ever. Things quickly change up with "Black Bubblegum," an industrial-sounding track where vocalist Greg Puciato demonstrates his range with a snarl reminiscent of Mike Patton and even clean singing and vocal harmonies. From there, the band continue to press in different directions. "Sick on Sunday" has a distinct Genghis Tron quality, rapidly transitioning from electronic ambiance to blast-beats, while the instrumental "When Acting as a Particle" employs a wide variety of percussion that could easily back a Tom Waits song. The band avoids an over-reliance on breakdowns, but when they do use them it is absolutely crushing, as heard in "82588." "Milk Lizard" is another standout, using occasional brass instrumentation to complement the Bronx-styled riffs to outstanding effect.

The album stumbles a bit towards the end, with both "Dead as History" and "Mouth of Ghosts" opening with overly-long ambient intros that most people will find themselves skipping over. The latter track is of particular curiosity. At nearly seven minutes long, the album closer spends the entire time working up a crescendo that leads nowhere, as by the time the momentum reaches typical Dillinger intensity, the track and the album are over.

The Dillinger Escape Plan have once again put out an album that pushes boundaries and expands into new genres, while maintaining the ferocity that they are known for. Simply put, this album is fucking angry. A few missteps, including the aforementioned too-long intros and questionable track sequencing, are far overshadowed by the heights these songs reach. The band continues to take risks and these gambles largely pay off.