With 1999's near-perfect "Calculating Infinity," New Jersey's Dillinger Escape Plan became the accidental forefathers of mathcore, a metal subgenre marked by precision and technical musicianship. The quintet has long demonstrated its knack for crafting meticulously arranged, jazz-influenced aural assaults, one breakdown at a time. "Ire Works," its third record, still finds the band as conscientious as ever. The band is clearly comfortable with the medium that it occupies between aggressive and technical post-hardcore yet is beginning to tread new territory. Songs like "Fix Your Face" and "Lurch" are as pummeling as anything from the group's back catalog, complete with pulsing riffage and Greg Puciato's determined snarl. Conversely, songs such as the aptly titled "Black Bubblegum" barely carry traces of Dillinger's trademarked fury. The song is almost pop-like in structure; a chorus is sung, not shouted, and Puciato's vocals reach almost falsetto proportions. Regardless of the band's new trajectory, "Ire Works" retains Dillinger's signature craftsmanship. [Chris Brook]
Dillinger Escape Plan headlines the Middle East Downstairs Dec. 18.
ESSENTIAL "Fix Your Face"