The Dillinger Escape Plan

Option Paralysis

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The Dillinger Escape Plan don't make any major stylistic leaps on this, their fourth album. In some ways, it's a return to the shouty, spastic post-hardcore of their full-length debut, Calculating Infinity, abandoning the electronic freakouts of 2007's Ire Works while retaining some of the melodic elements, even if there's nothing here as almost radio-friendly as "Milk Lizard." Vocalist Greg Puciato has developed into quite the crooner, and even his shouting recalls Guy Picciotto more than Cookie Monster, when he's not borrowing Mike Patton's sneer. The band can still turn on a dime, musically speaking; its ultra-intricate jazz-metal breaks and solos that don't feel like solos are still very present. So is the element of surprise; "Widower" is a piano-driven ballad that's downright beautiful, even (or especially) when the drummer's going berserk behind his bandmates, slowly building to an inevitable hardcore outburst at the four-minute mark. If there's one thing to complain about on Option Paralysis, it's that the album has pieces made up of cool parts, instead of songs made up of hooks. But for Dillinger fans, that alienating complexity is a bug, not a feature, and the fact that it's impossible to remember how a given song goes when it's over is taken as a testament to the bandmembers' ability to perform these stunts. So once again, they're preaching -- at top volume -- to the converted. Which is fine, because they remain very, very good at what they do.

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