Coining a genre and consequently a 20 year career consisting of many stage dives, raucous live performances and faeces thrown at a live audience is no mean feat, but the Mathcore pioneers have done it and are now calling it a day with final album “Dissociation”, leaving behind a legacy of twisted time signatures and riffs as angular as Ikea furniture assembled by a blind meth head. The experimentation throughout 8 albums has been unmatched by any other band, with Gregs vocals ranging from a shrill and frantic scream, to a disenfranchised yell that sits jaggedly among scattered and unpredictable instrumentals.
Although ‘technicality’ in metal has been thrown about since Dillinger came on the scene, opening track ‘Limerant Death’ shows they are still at the forefront of this when it kicks in with sludgy, heavy riff, then quickly descends into trademark dissonant screeches and anxiety-producing lead lines which is this quintets trademark.
Listeners are often left completely in the dust as the music makes frequently unexpected turns. Pushing the upper echelons of what you’d expect even from this genre, guitarists Ben Wienman and Kevin Antreassian switch effortlessly from frantic discordant guitar to jazz solos back to thrashing guitar parts like it is drinking water, whilst Greg Pucatios vocals throughout are downright ferocious. Visceral and ear shredding, no other song on this LP is this more evident than in “Honeysuckle”. Within the first minute the sound flips between dissonant and jittering hardcore chords to a jazz fusion solo back into a straight thrashing hardcore beat overlaid by an austere vocal melody. Bill Rymer is still one of the most skilled drummers in the genre, able to be the backbone as well as keep up with ridiculously complex off-the-wall syncopated beats and time signatures.
As abrasive as Dillinger there are loads of moments wherein Greg delivers soaring and catchy stadium rock hooks, especially towards the end of the album. “Nothing to Forget” features a refrain sung with a falsetto reminiscent of Coldplay. Along with this the final track ‘Dissociation’ takes a step back and gazes back at their careers with a beautiful and dark swan song. Channeling Chino Moreno of Deftones, Greg’s powerfully sung lyrics of ‘Couldn’t stay for you, what a strange way to lose’ are hair-raising and spine chilling, and with it meandering off into other hooks along the way, is the perfect way to end their legacy.
This album is the final word in the career of one of the most turbulent and frenzied bands ever, and it definitely lives up to it. Some aspects can appear slightly out of left field, such as the drum and bass stylings of “Fugue” and the spoken word segment of “Wanting not so much As to.” It can seem like now that they are bowing out, they’ve decided to try their hand at everything and anything they can. These experiments however, still sound quintessentially Dillinger and do not detract from a hallmark and definitive piece of work.