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One Of Us Is The Killer

(Party Smasher/Sumerian)

Reviewed by : David Perri
Rating : 9.0

In the long line of litany that has been directed against New Jersey’s THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN since the release of its genre-defining ’99 debut Calculating Infinity, the word ‘predictable’ has never been the most prominent utterance. Until now it seems, as the pre-release underground chatter surrounding One Of Us Is The Killer’s first single, ‘Prancer’, had those covered in the anonymity of their keyboards wondering why Dillinger was still anchored in the caustic and flailing mathcore it helped to invent. But to ask the question is to answer it: if you invented your own sound, why wouldn’t you still be creating battle scars with it?

And in the dead end of dead ends that is hearing only one advance track, the truth remained that people hadn’t even experienced the whole record, a record that is Dillinger’s most expansive, unreserved and unrestrained effort of its career. Which doesn’t mean that it’s the band’s best album (that’s Miss Machine) or its most consistent (that would be Ire Works). Instead, One Of Us Is The Killer takes the do-you-what-you-want-because-your-fanbase-won’t-stray paradigm that success afforded the band before Option Paralysis and escalates its substantially, to the point where The Dillinger Escape Plan has shed so many skins you can sometimes barely tell this is the group that threatened, almost viscerally, with ‘Jim Fear’. But that’s just fine. Because amongst the cataclysmic expansion that has happened during the group’s career trajectory, Dillinger has remained, at its core, the band that created the catharsis-inducing “DESTROYER!” in ‘Sunshine The Werewolf’. That moment is omnipresent in Dillinger’s set of ire, and always will be.

So, yes, ‘Prancer’, ‘Hero Of The Soviet Union’ and ‘Magic That I Held You Prisoner’ are classic Dillinger in every way, these songs the type of reverence to the primal that brought the band so much acclaim to the begin with and has firmly set it as contemporaries to no one except maybe NINE INCH NAILS. And though this nod to its raison d’etre is fundamental and should never exit the Dillinger sound, the absolute fucking menace of ‘Crossburner’ is how Dillinger now truly ignites, the song so many claustrophobic , disorienting moments you’re glad you don’t actually have to live on a daily basis... the auditory exploration of them might just be enough, thank you very much. ‘When I Lost My Bet’ is equally as interesting, the inventive intro a new move for Dillinger, one which suits the spirit and form of One Of Us Is The Killer’s head-first exploration of the abyss and all its propriety.

Despite those flashes, One Of Us Is The Killer’s undisputed moment of grandeur and grandiosity is ‘Paranoia Shields’, the track affecting with the same sense of introspective impact as Ire Works’ ‘Dead As History’ but then escalating the element entirely with one of the band’s most effective choruses, ‘Paranoia Shields’ in the process becoming a new, paranoid android benchmark for Ben Weinman, Greg Puciato, Liam Wilson and Billy Rymer.

For a band that was immediately accused of having nowhere else to go, artistically, when Calculating Infinity made its original statement of claim in 1999, the Dillinger Escape Plan has, in the interim, proved the indelible spheres of its song-writing to its critics and to its naysayers. With One Of Us Is The Killer, one senses that the band has finally also proved those spheres to itself.