Though only an EP, this had to be one of the most anticipated albums of the year, as the Dillinger Escape Plan parlayed the success of their full length Calculating Infinity into landing the great Mike Patton on vocals for this recording effort. Few bands have managed to turn the departure of their singer into a major hype machine the way the Dillinger Escape Plan did. Everyone and their brother was awaiting this thing, probably regardless of their feelings on the earlier Dillinger works. With Epitaph as the label, this thing was pretty much a surefire hit, and, oh man, did they ever deliver.
Right away you hear a mind blowing fusion of Dillinger's reality-defying drum fills and guitar solos with Patton's ghoulish vocal offerings - something that really spiced the music up after the last singer resorted mostly to screaming his lungs out. From the very beginning, the music has some very Patton-esque patterns - his huge outbursts become percussive, while he makes use of unorthodox vocal harmonies and extremely strong dynamic contrast. Honestly, Dillinger with me has always been one of those bands that, listen to their record once and say, "that was amazing," then put it back on your shelf and tell your friends about how good the band is and not touch the record again; but with stronger vocals, and a wider range of musical tricks up their sleeve, Dillinger have put together a record that almost demands infinite relistens. There are so many turns and so many surprises that it is literally impossible to hear everything there is to hear on the first, second, third..... times. The imagery that comes from listening to this record is both bizarre and gripping - you could go from feeling like you'd just been punched in the face, to feeling like you'd won the lottery, to really having a craving for peking duck in a span of 12-17 seconds.
Everything about this record is essential. There should almost be a college course on trying to extract all the rhythmic patterns this group can perform - it's like musical information overload. It is truly remarkable how a band can stay so under control while the music possesses none at all. And, well, not enough can possibly be said for what Mike Patton can do for a band - he really needs to get more involved with producing more bands, because he'll never get all his ideas onto wax just through his various musical projects. It's truly a shame that Patton couldn't stick around to make this a full length - that thing would sell 100,000 copies without a single tour date. Four songs is not nearly enough.
- Kevin Wade
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