Dillinger Escape Plan may only appeal to a small portion of the population. But across the musical spectrum, it boasts some of most highly regarded and talented musicians in modern music. Each of its albums pushes the boundaries of sanity and musical form. Its ravenous fans have only become more entranced with the band’s lucid, dream-like manic expression. Yet despite its increasingly reputation as one of the most intense, focused and goddamn brutal bands ever, the group is calling it quits after this one. Dissociation may very well be its final last release, and the decision means the band is going out on top. This isn’t just an ending, though. It’s the apocalypse.
While labeling this band as any one thing may be shortsighted, mathcore is as good a place as any to start, as it mixes bizarre combinations of time signatures with the nastiness and aggression of heavy music.

Dissociation opens with fairly standard fare, at least by group standards. “Limerent Death” is complete manic insanity filled with yelling, screaming and clipped squealing noise–and that’s just from the guitars. This track is replete with blastbeats, violence and all the time signature complexities your brain can handle before it eats itself.

It’s a perfect opening track, but never one to rest on its laurels, the band shifts gears from violence to beauty with “Symptom of Terminal Illness,” impressively gives off the feeling of total, beautiful dread. It’s mind-bending, grim and completely engrossing, and leaves you with the feeling that nothing can ever be good again.

“Wanting not So Much as To” is nothing less than a mathcore masterpiece, with its irrational but controlled approach to songwriting, structure and tradition. Dillinger may acknowledge traditional structure only to subvert it by tearing it apart at its atoms. The electronic hallucination of “Fugue” swims in grim nastiness, but revels in the buzz between the base of your skull and the top of your spine when it’s tickled by some truly new sounds. “Low Feels Blvd” returns to Dillinger’s signature mathcore-Jackson Pollock music only to melt into experimental.

With music like this it can be hard to get past your initial gut reactions, and if the album’s remaining tracks are comparatively less essential, conveying a brutal, insane genius through ever-shifting time signatures, bizarre noises and mind-melting drum beats. Dissociation was made with a sense of an ending, walking away from the spotlight at its peak, but not before leaving behind a thank you.

The title track leaves behind the album’s dread, shame, anxiety and paranoia for a thick, electronic goodbye. With what seems like a full orchestra, the track begins by breaking your heart before it seamlessly enters into a fuzzy electronic looped movement. Front man Greg Puciato shows true tenderness with his vocal, yet this is not a soft song, and remains as thematically heavy as anything the band has ever done. Closing out what may be the final Dillinger Escape Plan record, this is a goodbye of the tallest order. No comfort, no calm; a deep-down soul-searcher that plumbs the depths of your essence. What a way to go out.

Dissociation may be a masterpiece, but Dillinger has never been accessible, and this is not an accessible album. Yet for those who have followed the group and watched them progress over the years, this musical apocalypse is a formidable end to an era. This is not an album for the causal listener; it’s for Dillinger fans, mathcore fans and fans of challenging music. For us, it’s perfect. For everyone else, well, we’d love for you to try this out, but won’t be upset if you just move on along.

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