Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

Album Review: The Dillinger Escape Plan - "One of Us is the Killer"

DEP’s fifth outing incorporates elements of atmospheric prog-rock and ear-relieving jazz fills to buck the musical constraints and genre rigidness rampant in the metal genre.

The Dillinger Escape Plan
One of Us Is the Killer
Party Smasher/Sumerian Records

"Prancer" by The Dillinger Escape Plan

Listening to Dillinger Escape Plan’s brand of dizzying, jazz-hardcore fusion is like riding a rollercoaster. It appears dangerous. It causes anxiety and disorientation. And at the ride’s most intense, death-defying point, it induces nausea. But for natural-born thrill-seekers and progressive music fans, surviving the voyage creates an itch that only speed, fear, and uncertainty can scratch. This is how Dillinger’s latest effort, One of Us Is the Killer leaves its victims.

Signature punishment is dished out on cuts like “Prancer,” “Hero of the Soviet Union,” and “Paranoia Shields,” all of which contain a trilogy of core DEP elements. First, is the calculated anarchy of tight, brawny drumming from Billy Rymer, who builds off his debut, 2010’s Option Paralysis. Secondly, are the mosh pit-titillating, anthemic hooks delivered by faint-to-fierce, Patton-esque vocalist Greg Puciato à la Option Paralysis’ “Farewell, Mona Lisa” and Ire Works’ “Black Bubblegum.” Lastly, the song’s erratic behavior quickly contorts from rhythmic, slam-dance breakdowns to a burst of spiraling notes (think Miss Machine’s “Baby’s First Coffin” or Option Paralysis’ “Room Full of Eyes”), compliments of lead guitarist Ben Weinman.

The New Jersey technical-metal-punk hybrid continues its caution-to-the-wind genre mashing by contrasting aggression with laid-back twists. On “Paranoia Shields” they add laser keyboard noises and horns—a DEP favorite move perfected on Ire Works’ “Milk Lizard”—while “Magic That I Held You Prisoner” mashes a consistent Meshuggah grind with quick, interspersed triangle-and-xylophone poppy bits. Pushing the importance of keyboards in their music, “The Threat of Nuclear Weapons” is executed with John Carpenter flair, creating an even more threatening soundscape when combined with Puciato’s esophagus-clearing roars and Weinman’s combustible pound-and-stall riffs.

Dillinger Escape Plan’s fifth outing, One of Us Is the Killer, advances the band’s ability to buck musical constraints and genre rigidness rampant in the metal genre by incorporating elements of atmospheric prog-rock and ear-relieving jazz fills, creating the band’s most alluring ride yet in its juxtaposed theme park. —Chris Kies

Must-hear tracks: “Hero of the Soviet Union” and “Prancer”