It is five days after the release of Dillinger Escape Plan’s new album Option Paralysis, and the groundswell of accolades has only just begun. These chameleons from New Jersey often get labeled as “math rock” or “post metal,” which is a lazy journalistic excuse for anyone writing about the band without listening to them. This band not only defies convention, but chews it up, spits it out, and sends it back to the endless landfill of false labels deemed appropriate to their sound. It is the element of surprise in their epic sets that bends and bleeds the ear of the common concert goer that makes memories rote and relentless.
The stage could barely contain the instantaneous caustic spiraling energy of DEP as they punched through the stratosphere with opener “Panasonic Youth” from 2004’s Miss Machine LP. Lead singer Greg Puciato is the prototypical war machine of vocalists. His pipes are weapons of mass destruction prepared for any mood break, node shred, or battle plan as complex or melodic as the track may call for. This was amazing and evident in the bravado blasts of “Milk Lizard” and the new track “Good Neighbor,” which exhausted itself in intensity and sucked every last congratulatory scream from the lungs of the faithful.
The range of the set list ran the gun metal gamut of their career. The quintet blasted through the epic, math-tastic “When Good Dogs Do Bad Things” from 2002 EP Irony is a Dead Scene and the jugular thump of “Black Bubblegum” from 2007’s Ire Works. In the midst of the so-called “math,” the only real ‘rithmetic the crowd got to witness was as they tallied the extremities of DEP drummer Billy Rhymer, and were repeatedly amazed when the counting stopped at two.
Watching Dillinger Ecape Plan live is like witnessing the fantaticism of a Pentecostal tongue-speak sermon set to a carousel of bliss and blitzkrieg, melody and mayhem. The crowd never knows what to focus on but gets saved anyway. On this evening, the band’s focused fury was purely savior material.