i've never reviewed a DEP album before, yet i now own all of them. i'm in the boat of people that checked these guys out b/c of the EP with Mike Patton (lucky enough to have caught them open for Mr. Bungle in 1999). if you want a CHALLENGING artist, this is where you go. i like that it took me awhile to "get it". much like the MELVINS, it didn't click with me right away. it's not as if it's an acquired taste, because it is definitely not forced. it's like enrolling in a math class. at first, it's foreign. as you either pass or fail, you choose the path. is this something worth trying to understand? with this band - yes. ok, i'm rambling, here's the review:
are you already a fan? did you like 'IRE WORKS'? then you'll enjoy this album. you accepted change. is it the next logical step for the band. no. if you're looking for 'IRE WORKS' 2, this ain't it. at first, i guess i wanted a sequel to one of my favorite albums of all time, but with each listen, i'm glad it isn't. all of their previous albums live and breathe on their own. you fundamentally enjoy it or you don't.
#1) the mix and mastering are definitely top notch. previous albums, i kinda wanted a little more of this or that, but this one delivers. previous efforts did not lack, but, this is the kind of band that only live can you experience the aural onslaught properly. this release comes REALLY close to the live setting. it hits. hard.
#2) the rhythm section is tighter than ever and in your face more than previous albums (this goes along with #1). so good to hear Liam Wilson's talent as a bass player break through the skin. it's easy to be a fan of this band's previous drummers, but to be able to play all of that AND be able to write up to snuff with the current vibe deserves much respect. Billy Rymer? he owns.
#3) whereas 'IRE WORKS' was more song by song with experimental interludes - this one just chugs song right after song, some let you take a breath, others don't. hard to explain, but being a huge fan of their previous album, i found it hard to let go of the previous concepts. in short, i listen to this album as it's own entity and enjoy what i hear. fearing 'IRE WORKS' was untoppable, it was at first difficult to "feel" it. of course, before the first listen was over, it clicked. i grew with the artist. it's like a familiarity with something and bonding with it's roots. welcoming changes, because they are still an interesting listen. there are bands that i'll buy no matter what they release, HELMET, for instance. i may prefer this or that, but i still pull from it what i want from it. the evolution is a thrill in itself. the versatility and the added piano pieces are what i feel to be the band becoming a bigger island. stretching their boundaries and touching more of the unknown. on this disc, when you think it's gonna hit, it may not, and that's what makes it more interesting. as a previous reviewer stated, if you didn't enjoy 'mouth of ghosts' that may summarize your mixed feelings on this release. 'mouth of ghosts' live changed me and my life for the better. amazing.
#4) Greg Puciato - this vocalist continually surprises me. he could tackle any genre. it's like watching someone come into their own, literally watching someone join and then become. 'MISS MACHINE' is really, really good. but i wanted a litle more versatility because i knew he had the chops. you can almost hear him as a hire on, but barely. you only notice at all because each album he's closer to the music. the albums he has been on, he continually puts his own stamp on their sound and has become more than just the "singer". his voice lends another inspired instrument to this group, a puzzle piece that he cut himself. not forced in, but rather, firmly placed.
#5) Weinman!!! to be in this guy's musical head! not sure he gets the credit he should. he writes some serious thinking man's metal. songs that by the time you're gettin' it, it's off to the next turn. un-ignorable. so important. unpredictable. genius. so glad he keeps this all going. can't imagine the challenges of line-up changes. this kind of band, i'd love to hear track by track, the songwriting process, out-takes, etc. this is real life music. constructed out of flesh, the brain, the hands to sound like a machine that gets broken by the same hands. it's up to the listener if it ever sounds fixed.
#6) Tuttle is doin' it! adding some killer back-up vox on this disc, he holds it down with the rhythm section. he adds the growl to the pound. live, an integral part of this band's performance. sheer power!
if you're a fan, you'll love this album. if you have a favorite album from them and you're awaiting the sequel, open your mind. or just hold on tight to that fave album. this new disc has a warmth and a soul that the others didn't strive for. if it had been their intention, the past albums would've been released as such. this is where they are now, current line-up. all giving 200% for the sake of each song. delivering their part as much or as little in content but contextually thru the roof. this band acknowledges its fan-base and appreciates us. that alone would make me a fan, but damn! their music...! energy! passion! that's just a portion of my devotion to this fine band.
is this a review? is it a song by song opinionated run-down? no. this is an easy choice. you either like them or you don't. new listeners, prepare to throw out your ideals and conceptions of what music could be. a review is pointless to most because fans already have this album! are you new to this band? hear 'farewell mona lisa'? if you dug it, you just scratched the surface of the universe that the DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN built, destroyed, and built up again. i'll continue to live there, happily. any and all of the albums have a common thread: unescapable sound. this album is essential.