Dillinger Escape Plan | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Dillinger Escape Plan

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Miss Machine (Relapse), the first full-length in five years from New Jersey's Dillinger Escape Plan, opens with the sort of stuff that's led both fans and detractors to label the band "math metal"--brutally fast, meticulously executed amelodic cacophony that skips between time signatures the way a Formula One driver shifts gears. New vocalist Greg Puciato even matches the wild throat-shredding screams, low-end growls, and staccato barks of original singer Dimitri Minakakis, who left amicably in 2001. But from the second track on it's clear the band has a new MO: the tempo sometimes slows to something approximating a normal heartbeat, here and there the itchy, busy guitars of Ben Weinman and Brian Benoit retreat into gentle atmospheric plinking, and at one point synthetic strings waft across the burned-out landscape. There are even moody melodies, vocal harmonies, and (gasp) a touch of piano. Working on the 2002 EP Irony Is a Dead Scene (Epitaph), a one-off collaboration with Mr. Bungle's Mike Patton, seems to have liberated the band to explore its avowed love of Nine Inch Nails. I know, I winced when I heard that too, but no one's going to confuse the two groups. DEP may have added new elements to its labyrinthine matrix of sound, but it hasn't subtracted anything--and the quiet, spacious bits actually give the sledgehammer riffs, tricky meters, and breakneck guitar interplay added power. The Bronx and Planes Mistaken for Stars open both nights; on Saturday the first band is Decahedron, and on Sunday it's Read Yellow. $12, all ages. Saturday and Sunday, July 31 and August 1, 5 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700 or 800-594-8499.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/J. Hubbard.

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