Option Paralysis Review

artist: The Dillinger Escape Plan date: 03/24/2010 category: compact discs
The Dillinger Escape Plan: Option Paralysis
Released: Mar 23, 2010
Genre: Mathcore, Avant-Garde Metal
Label: Season of Mist
Number Of Tracks: 10
New Jersey's noisiest metallers blast off yet again with "Option Paralysis." They just get better and better with every album and they already were really fucking awesome.
 Sound: 8.5
 Lyrics: 9
 Overall Impression: 8.5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (2) 50 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9
Option Paralysis Featured review by: UG Team, on march 24, 2010
7 of 8 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 9

Lyrics: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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! // 9

- Amy Sciarretto (c) 2010

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 8.3
Option Paralysis Reviewed by: mparnott2000, on february 01, 2016
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: "Option Paralysis" is the fourth album by New Jersey mathcore/post-hardcore/technical metal/what you will'ers The Dillinger Escape Plan. This album sees their signature dynamic, complex, and chaotic style refined to a tightly focused point. Of all their albums this is the most straightforward (as far as DEP albums go). No abstract instrumentals or ambient soundscapes here, just plenty of the fury you know and love.

The album, like most Dillinger albums, has four loose categories of songs, to make a gross generalization. There are the winding, dynamic, enraged-then-contemplative-then-enraged-again epics. The most notable songs of this general breed here are "Farewell Mona Lisa," "Widower," and "Gold Teeth on a Bum." Then there are the "normal" songs, with verse/chorus/verse formats, clean singing, and only slightly demented time signatures. "Chinese Whispers" and "Parasitic Twins" are the two on display here. (There are always two, for one reason or another). Of course, there is the style the band is best known for, their balls out, chaotic, unrelenting fits of insanity. Those comprise most of the rest of the album. The archetype notably absent here, as previously mentioned, is the instrumental. These songs are often abstract, more soundscape than song. While nigh unthinkable for a DEP album, this absence keeps the energy at a high level from beginning to end.

The "best" track: "Good Neighbor," while short, at 2:30 in length, is the most focused and aggressive on the album. Blindingly fast melody passages, Greg Puciato screaming bloody murder, and even a refreshing turn toward good ol' hardcore punk are crammed in here, without ever losing its clarity or focus.

The "worst" track: While a good song in its own right, "Widower" comes at the wrong place at the wrong time. Immediately following the chaotic, violent close of "Endless Endings," it starts off with silence, then pianos and clean quiet singing, progressing into a ballad-ish sort of song. Needless to say, this brings the energy, which had been building up to that point, to a grinding halt. While it continually escalates in energy, it can't undo the somewhat clumsy transition it started off with. I must stress, however, that it is one of the albums better songs when listened to on its own. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics are another aspect in which this band separates itself, although to a lesser degree. The lyrics are often abstract, dealing in emotions and personalities instead of actions and relationships. Some recurring themes are detachment and rebellion, a lack of control, and the other Dillinger signature, psychotic deconstructions of some unknown characters personality flaws.

In terms of vocals and delivery, Greg Puciato, lead vocalist and lyricist, brings his best, as always. His sometimes nasal clean singing is often compared to Mike Patton, and the comparison is apt. Another comparison that one could potentially make is to Trent Reznor, this time in the slightly deranged ramblings area of performance. The area where he is truly something else entirely though, is in his screams. Whereas most metal vocalists employ guttural growls and high pitched shrieks when screaming, Greg Puciato's style is one closer to that of a punk singer, if that punk singer were a demon from the eleventh circle of Hell. This mid-range screaming style nicely complements the bands sound, which is all in Standard E tuning. This also gives him much a much wider and more expressive range of emotions in his scream, which lends the lyrics more depth and meaning than some of them could have on their own. His versatile cleans and falsettos are also fantastic, and with the rapid changes in dynamics and mood so common here, he is able to keep up in a way most vocalists would not. His raw ability allows him to occupy the slowly disappearing space in metal where the vocalist is just as important as the rest of the band. // 9

Overall Impression: To sum everything up, "Option Paralysis" is a relatively short album that packs a hefty punch in its 10 tracks. All the things you love and/or hate about the band are here in spades, with the notable exception being the absence of any instrumentals or ambient songs. This allows the band to focus on making the insane more insane, and the epic more epic. The main weakness of this album is the fact that many of the more aggressive songs sometimes blur together and lack identity, and that the lack of experimental ambient tracks only make the slower songs seem all the more out of place.

Songs that stood out: "Good Neighbor," "Farewell Mona Lisa," "Chinese Whispers."

// 8

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
Only "https" links are allowed for pictures,
otherwise they won't appear