Release date: 22/03/10 Website: Myspace New Jersey mathcore merchants The Dillinger Escape Plan release only their fourth album in over a decade. After Ire Works disappointing performance, the band have jumped ship onto their own record label Party Smasher Inc. For anyone tired of the cliché used when describing female vocalists that they could “read out a telephone directory and make it sound sexy”, Greg Puciato could read out a birthday card and make it sound threatening. On an album of outstanding performances, he really is one of metal’s premier vocalists; his form throughout Option Paralysis is world-beating. Opener 'Farewell, Mona Lisa' is pretty standard for the Dillinger Escape Plan, pretty mental by anyone else’s standards, possibly addressing their former label Relapse in its parting shots of “What did you expect? That we would never leave home?”. The lead guitar sounds like Ben Weinman searching up and down the fretboard through every scale conceivable, so in this respect is vaguely reminiscent of Greg Ginn’s work with Black Flag. If there’s one thing that DEP don’t want for, it’s ideas; there’s barely thirty seconds in any track that sound like the previous or succeeding thirty. Although they’re relatively close in terms of overall style, Option Paralysis never quite reaches Miss Machine’s levels of accessibility, and isn’t quite as strong overall. Nevertheless, this is much more multi-faceted in its approach than Miss Machine; Gold Teeth on a Bum is even getting on towards listener friendly. It clocks in at an adventurous 5:23 and is played at somewhere below maximum warp, although the turbine bass drum rolls towards its conclusion are eyeball-spinning. Whilst the compositions are often as intricate, Option Paralysis is not as uncompromising as anything from 'Calculating Infinity', though 'Crystal Morning' and 'Endless Endings' are sub-three-minute pummellers. 'Widower' is probably the most out-there thing that DEP have yet tried, or furthest from their comfort zone at any rate, bold in its refusal to conform to any notion of a template. 'Widower' is mature, unfolding stuff, with its line of “We can never get back what we choose to throw away” the album’s lyrical highlight. It’s mostly piano-based with almost entirely sung vocals, only happening upon a restrained, almost arbitrary breakdown that fits like a glove. 'I Wouldn’t if You Didn't' is as frenzied and howling as old school Dillinger, frequently pitching into stabbed high notes and with a rhythm section like a rugby scrum, but breaks down into an avant-jazz piano section. And yet Dillinger aren’t conventionally heavy per se, indeed all of their material is written in standard tuning. Their brutal sound is more reliant on the intensity with which they perform, the density of their compositions, the keys, scales and synoptications used. 'Parasitic Twins' is played remarkably straight, which in itself is a leftfield move for the band, boasting xylophones, violins, looped keyboards, multi-tracked vocals and even a Slash-esque guitar solo. It’s these sorts of tracks that keep Option Paralysis fresh, and continue DEP’s trend of never retracing their steps. Photobucket