Dillinger Escape Plan | Ire Works
I don’t usually review records until they’ve been in my paws for about a month. I used to review records for a weekly paper when I was in college in Bloomington and I always regretted everything I wrote within a few weeks of its being printed and I hated having my name attached to a review of an album that ended up becoming trite and cliché sounding after having it in my rotation after a few more listens.
A perfect example of a record I wanted to hold off reviewing was Ire Works by the Dillinger Escape Plan. Their debut LP, Calculating Infinity, blew my mind when it came out and topped my albums of the year when I was still wet behind the ears in my education of [modern] extreme rock. Subsequent releases by them were hit and miss. After they dropped their original lead singer and recruited Mike Patton (of Faith No More / Tomahawk / Ipecac Records) to guest for an EP’s worth of material on Irony is a Dead Scene I was impressed, if only with the song “When Good Dogs Do Bad Things” which, to this day, is one of the strongest DEP tracks released. After they found a new, permanent singer they released Plagiarism, which was probably good in baptizing their new singer, but wasn’t good for much else as it was just an EP of covers that sounded too much like the original versions of the songs. Miss Machine was their first LP with the new lineup and while it had its moments, it never really reached the technicality and overdriven bliss of Calculating Infinity. Also, it smelled like a NIN record in places, which made me a little sad.
So my apprehension with committing to an opinion on Ire Works? First, they got a new drummer which worried me because their former drummer was a practically a robot built around the heart of a jazz musician on meth. He had a very refined taste for rhythm and speed that would make a hummingbird blush. It wasn’t until a few listens over that I was willing to admit their new drummer was really good too [read: as good]. While his style was a little straightforward and didn’t force my brain to chase 32nd notes all over the place, he’s brutal, fast, and keeps in the pocket.
The songs themselves are pretty similar to Calculating Infinity. They’re fierce in the way that ten thousand mosquitoes becomes frightening. There are even some smacks of the avante-metal that made Calculating such an intimidating album. However, there are a few songs that stick out like a fist full of hammered thumbs. “Black Bubblegum”, “Milk Lizard”, “Dead as History”, and “Mouth of Ghosts” all have one thing in common: A concrete and melodic chorus. I didn’t know how to take this at first. For example, the rolling snare and laid-back verse guitars on “Milk Lizard” threw me for a loop and would have never been heard on a previous album of theirs. UPDATE: Setting Fire to Sleeping Giants on Miss Machine kind of had this going on.
Once I sat back and let Ire Works take advantage of me, however, it sank in good and deep. I really liked it. Especially the song Milk Lizard. It’s catchy, it will make your head shake, and they even manage to surreptitiously slide in some horns and a double-bass section. If a song will sell you on the album and, moreover, their slightly altered new sound, it’s this song. Please download it illegally here and then go purchase the new album. I got the enhanced bit-rate version from iTunes for the regular $0.99/song price – and there are so many tiny details on this album that I suggest you get all 128kb of sound if you don’t go get the physical album.
I’m giving it a 9/10. Nice job, guys.
DOWNLOAD: Milk Lizard