By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Dillinger Escape Plan has been thrashing, raging and jerking back and forth for more than a decade. And now the band is finally about to break its chain. The New Jersey post-hardcore act has gone full-on indie, following a long and successful partnership with Relapse Records (the onetime label home to hard-rock heroes such as Mastodon and High on Fire). DEP will release its new album, Option Paralysis, in March. The disc will be a venture between France-based extreme-metal label Season of Mist and the group's new umbrella for all things Dillinger, Party Smasher Inc.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the group's full-length debut, Calculating Infinity. The disc moved 100,000 copies and was a seminal development in both modern hardcore and the progressive, metallic genres that would soon be referred to as "math rock." In two albums and several EPs since, the Dillinger sound has become louder and tighter. The group has gained respect not only for its recorded music, but also for its ability to re-create it live, shredding its way through full-contact concerts.
Guitarist Ben Weinman, Dillinger's only original member, talked to B-Sides about the band's new company, its upcoming LP and Billy Rymer, the group's phenomenal, 24-year-old drummer.
B-Sides: Mike Patton sang on 2002's Irony is a Dead Scene EP. What did you learn working with him?
Ben Weinman: The work we did with him opened some doors as far as what we could do creatively. Like, now that we've raised the bar by having such a diverse singer and adding melody to the chaos we're doing, now we have to continue to take that torch and move with it.
Did Chris [Pennie, original drummer] leave you for Coheed & Cambria, or was there turmoil before?
He pretty simply left us for them. But we certainly don't put any blame on Coheed & Cambria for that. At the end of the day, it was one of the best things that could have happened for the band.
How did you find Billy?
When Gil [Sharone, drummer for 2007's Ire Works] expressed he could only put in a certain amount of time and wasn't really committed to being in a band full-time, we started looking for people. For about six months, we tried people out. Some drummers were pretty notable and experienced. Some were unknown talents like Billy. He ended up just blowing us away. We just saw a fire we knew we couldn't ignore.
How does the new record sound?
We were very prepared for this record, so it was much more focused. It's definitely the fastest music we've ever written. And it's really aggressive. It's probably the most metal record we've ever done. But there's still a lot of elements going on. It's faster, it's thrashier, it's darker.
What does the title Option Paralysis mean to you?
"Option paralysis" is an actual term that means being paralyzed by options. Essentially, you have so many options, you end up picking nothing. That's just something we've all been thinking about lately. The record's the closest thing to a concept record we've ever done. A lot of the inspiration for the lyrics has to do with the fact that we feel like a lot of the art that's being produced today is coming from the wrong place. The artistic economy is oversaturated, from bands to photographers. There's such a flood of information out there, nobody knows what's important anymore. That's the basis for the whole record.