The Dillinger Escape Plan Miss Machine

[Relapse; 2004]

Styles: metalcore, hardcore, -core
Others: Mr. Bungle, Mars Volta, Tomahawk

The Miss Machine cow has been branded as the melding between commercial screamo-metal and spastic jazz tendencies, but it's only been called that because every cow needs to be branded. This album is simply way too dense and ridiculous to be defined by any subgenre, no matter how hyphenated it is.

Only one thing is for certain: the Dillinger Escape Plan would love to stab you in the face while you ride your favorite roller coaster. Then, when the ride ends and you're thrashing around in your new world of wet red hues, they'll ask you to pay $12.99 for the privilege. And you'll buy it not necessarily because you liked it, but because you respect such an unexpectedly intense and jarring experience.

Assault on an amusement park ride comes close to matching the intensity of this album, although the word intensity should not be confused with anger, excess, or even emotion. Miss Machine simply crackles with stress; not stress over homework or girlfriends, but the kind of stress a bunch of semis put on a bridge.

The songs... well... let's think about that word for a second. Each track isn't necessarily a straight path through the woods, or really a path through the woods at all. No, each track is more like a clusterfuck between all the different animals in the woods. It's safe to say this album is as varied as nature.

So, Mr. Bungle has nothing on these guys; although while that band switched structure and genre at the drop of nothing, DEP seems content to see how many different Thursday, Nine Inch Nails, and Poison the Well songs they can fit into four minutes. Heck, the Melvins could slow down "Baby's First Coffin" and call it an entire album. To give you a better example of how this album changes tones, I will write a sentence as if it were a Dillinger Escape Plan song: The tiny fox flew A BLOODLESS PLANE over the sea INTO THE DARK of a FIERY meadow OF GUILT.

Look, I know I've been cryptic in this review, using metaphor to describe the album instead of judgment and opinion, but Miss Machine simply cannot be conveyed through conventional standards. It has conventional aspects -- heck, it's going to be commercially successful -- but it's not about the songs or even the complete product necessarily. It's about creating rapture and terror at the same time, something they're pretty successful at. Or maybe I'm just having a hard time reviewing this album because of all this blood loss from the huge cut on my face.

1. Panasonic Youth
2. Sunshine the Werewolf
3. Highway Robbery
4. Van Damsel
5. Phone Home
6. We Are the Storm
7. Crutch Field Tongs
8. Setting Fire to Sleeping Giants
9. Baby's First Coffin. Dillinger Escape Plan
10. Unretrofied
11. The Perfect Design