Sound — 9
I have said this before. I have a friend who once likened the music of Dillinger Escape Plan to the result of sitting on the Garden State Parkway on a Friday night, during the summer months. It's one of the most trafficked roads in the state, at the busiest time of year. Sitting in that traffic is enough to make you morph into Michael Douglas' mentally crumbling character into the excellent, early-'90s film, Falling Down. Or it leads you to create some (perhaps unintentionally) cathartic music. With Option Paralysis, Dillinger Escape Plan move away from being saddled with those annoying "whacky time signature" and "math metal" tags that have been lain at their doorstep since their inception. Hell, even I called them that, and I've been writing about them their whole career. I don't give any albums a "10" score, because, well, I don't, but this one comes as close to near-perfect as I can score it. And that's not just because they are my fellow New Jersey brethren, either! Their shit is just awesome: noisy, loud, complicated, astounding, intense and helps me to get the red out. It's because of a band like Dillinger Escape Plan that I don't strangle water buffalo with my bare hands. Option Paralysis finds the band as chaotic as ever, with choppy, distorted, equilibrium-fucking moments that make you scratch your head and wonder "How the FUCK do they come up with this stuff?" Guitarist Ben Weinman is so spastic it makes me wonder if his arms will fall off from the fury with which he abuses them. "Farewell Mona Lisa" and "Good Neighbor" will leave you with a bloody nose and punch drunk. Both songs are out there, but they never drift into "too weird for their own good" territory. "Gold Teeth on a Bum" great title, guys - is a the most mellow song on the album, as Dillinger explores the more melodic side of their musical personality without ever wimping out. And just when you think, wow, Dillinger are really trying something unexpected, they come back with another boot to the groin. It's that type of volatility that hooks me and never lets me go, even if they pull back the bait.
Lyrics — 9
Ah, Greg Puciato. He's got so much dimension and so many different patterns that he's effectively another well-oiled instrument in the Dillinger arsenal. Sure, he'll garner some comparisons to fellow-forward-thinker (and Dillinger fan, as he handled vocals on an EP for the band a decade ago) Mike Patton. Puciato's mouth is like a computer, as he twists and contorts it to make so many different noises and sounds that don't even present themselves as human. His scream is just as potent as his cleaner singing and there's an adenoidal quality to his voice on "Gold Teeth" and "Crystal Morning." I swear there are voices on this album I've never heard him do before, and I'm a Dillinger fan and follower. It's as though "always keep 'em guessing" was the band's motto and mantra when they commenced the processes for Option Paralysis.
Overall Impression — 9
This is one of those albums that leaves me snakebitten. No matter how tired I am, I can't escape the gravitational pull of the music, which sucks me in like an industrial-sized Hoover vacuum cleaner. Option Paralysis' deft use of precision, speed and mindfuckery is just what the doctor ordered after a bad day or a particularly nasty encounter with a rude stranger on the streets of New York City. Instead of snapping necks, I turn this up louder on my iPod. Who'd have thunk it? Dillinger Escape Plan as a public safety measure. I'm in. You should be too!