All you need to know about math-metal masters, The Dillinger Escape Plan’s latest, One of Us is the Killer, can be told by Microsoft’s Windows Media Player. The psychedelic designs that aver to represent your music visually is at a loss when it comes to these songs. Sharp straight lines? Rotating stars shooting jagged Fallopian tubes? Spinning flattening spirals? Each of these and all of these images describe the experience of listening to this album: violent, confusing, schizophrenic, but also compelling.
While most of what’s found on Killer is as expected from The Dillinger Escape Plan, there are some departures that make you realize you shouldn’t skip any second. The beginning of opening number, “Prancer,” is full of dissonant chords, incoherent screaming, and frenetic drum beats, but the chorus is somewhat catchy, and there’s a brief quiet moment before vocalist Greg Puciato begins yelling narratively a la Black Flag. It’s a perfect introduction– every song contains complex drum structures (such as the light/hard dynamics on “When I Lost My Bet”) and/or a melodic soft part, like the title track. “Paranoia Shields” has a nifty guitar trill motif, and when it breaks down to its “soft” bit, it introduces instruments and sounds not found elsewhere.
Listen to closer “The Threat Posed by Nuclear Weapons” to illustrate just how The Dillinger Escape Plan uses all its powers to shock and dazzle. For a few seconds, it sounds like a doom-rock ballad, but the drums and loud axes interrupt the calm and eventually win out as the song becomes the fastest (BPM-wise) on Killer. If you like your metal predictable and straight-forward, stay away from this band. If your ears appreciate a noisy challenge, as does Windows Media Player, look no further than The Dillinger Escape Plan and One of Us is the Killer.