2013 | Mathcore Alternative Metal
When I Lost My Bet
One of Us Is the Killer
Hero of the Soviet Union
CH 375 268 277 ARS
Magic That I Held You Prisoner
The Threat Posed by Nuclear Weapons
One of Us Is the Killer starts and ends with concentrated, calculated, and proficient brutality- the kind that the artist, The Dillinger Escape Plan is more than experienced with. All the way from the unfettered aggression of “Prancer” and its instantaneous transition with “When I Lost My Bet”, to the chaos and panic of “The Threat Posed by Nuclear Weapons”, Killer charges forth at a brutal pace. The album is a measure of the sheer talent and creativity of The Dillinger Escape Plan, and it serves as a benchmark for the entire Mathcore genre. Within the context of TDEP’s discography, One of Us Is the Killer is an important turning point for the band and their music. Not because it shows a marked change in sound or style, in fact, the band had a remarkably consistent sound over their two-decade run, instead, it shows the band merging their variety of influences and identities into one cohesive sound. Previous records like Miss Machine, Ire Works, or Operation Paralysis tended to have a stronger distinction between the melodic Alternative Metal tracks, like Ire Work’s “Milk Lizard”, and their familiar Mathcore songs (Ire Work’s “Lurch”). One of Us Is the Killer differs by blurring that distinction. “One of Us Is the Killer” is the exception here, being all but entirely an Alternative Rock/Metal song, but “Crossburner”, “Nothing’s Funny”, and “Paranoia Shields” are all examples of both the Mathcore-y side of TDEP as well as the more melodic side of the band. And even on the most aggressive tracks One of Us Is the Killer has tremendous dynamism and variety.
The more cohesive sound of One of Us Is the Killer results in an album that is easy to lose track of time listening to. This isn't to say that the album doesn’t have standout tracks, that it all sounds identical, or that it isn’t musically interesting, because all of those statements would be untrue. “One of Us Is the Killer” is one of the most energizing and anthemic metal songs I’m aware of, and the stuttering “The Threat Posed by Nuclear Weapons” never fails to make me feel liquid rage boil through my veins. One of Us Is the Killer (like previous TDEP albums) melds a variety of influences, from electronic music to jazz, into their lightly Alt-Metal flavoured Mathcore sound. The jazz and lounge influence is clear in the many short interludes in songs like “The Threat Posed by Nuclear Weapons”, “Prancer”, or especially "Paranoia Shields". And “CH 375 268 277 ARS” (as the title may suggest) is an experimental electronic instrumental helping to bridge the melodious elements in the title track, “Nothing’s Funny”, and “Paranoia Shields” with the chaos of “Magic That I Held You Prisoner” and “The Threat Posed by Nuclear Weapons”. The varying influences are also evident in Bill Rymer’s drumming, where the savage pounding of “Hero of the Soviet Union” gives way to slower, more syncopated jazz-inflected grooves in “Nothing’s Funny”. One of Us Is the Killer is a tremendous album for the guitar, and features much of Ben Weimann’s best playing on any Dillinger album. Weimann plays in his genre-typical style of unpredictable guitar stabs and chugs along with his more melodic leads like on the choruses of “One of Us Is the Killer” and “Nothing’s Funny”. Of course I could never review this record without mentioning Greg Puciato’s vocals. Puciato is one of the few vocalists who can pull off both shouted/harsh and clean vocals with every fiber of their being. His warbling tenor contrasted with his enormously powerful white-noise screams accentuate both and bring the album to ever higher peaks.
One of Us Is the Killer is an album where every track is equally important to the albums flow and yet where the track listing itself is less important. Something about the way the songs all build off of the same influences and play with The Dillinger Escape Plan’s established sound allows them to feel perfectly ordered however they are heard. I’m almost exclusively an album-listener, 95 times out of 100 I’m listening to songs in the order they were placed in on an album. But with this album I generally get the same level of completion and satisfaction from the songs no matter what order I hear them. In that sense the album is a true anomaly for me, and it’s always impressive, immersive, and entirely consuming. One of Us Is the Killer plays with the best of the extremes of The Dillinger Escape Plans music, and it results in perhaps their most complete and individually satisfying record.
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