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The Dillinger Escape Plan - Miss Machine CD (album) cover


The Dillinger Escape Plan


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.03 | 83 ratings

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2 stars "Miss Machine," The Dillinger Escape Plan's pseudo-concept album about stalking, kidnapping, torture, rape and murder occupies an uncomfortable space in the band's discography, and with good reason. Having not yet abandoned the vicious havoc of "Calculating Infinity" but not quite moved into the full experimentation of "Ire Works," "Miss Machine" is an album that tries to have its cake and eat it too, and it is rarely, if ever, successful at doing so.

Atmosphere is the key thing that this album lacks: It's typically slamming away with all guns blazing, with little regard for delivery. As technically proficient as these musicians are, they have a habit of tripping each other up, one guitarist trying for clean melody while the other attempts a staccato mathcore assault,and they rarely gel together well. Greg Puciato is another big problem, since his vocals are rarely driving or brutal enough to really carry across the vile subject matter of the lyrics. Seriously, a lot of this wouldn't be out of place on a Tyler, The Creator album but he barks through it like it was just another typical hardcore album, when he's not doing painful Mike Patton impressions. It's for these reasons that "Sunshine the Werewolf," "Phone Home," "The Perfect Design" and "We Are the Storm" are by far the best songs on the album: They have the most extreme subject matter on the album, but they're also the songs where the band starts treating that fact like an asset rather than shoving it into the background, using sudden time signature changes and bleak atmospherics to bring across the vicious horror contained within the songs. These are the songs where The Dillinger Escape Plan is heavy enough and mean enough to bring their gruesome vision to life, and it's a shame that they couldn't maintain that level of conviction throughout the album's (rather sparse, it should be noted) 40 minute run time.

Ultimately, what brings down "Miss Machine" is its total lack of focus. Is it a horrifying spiral into the mind of a sexually depraved madman? The lyrics say so, but the actual music tries to convince the listener that the musicianship itself is first and foremost. That said, once you're aware of the album's concept, it becomes impossible to look at the album as just another mathcore record and you start to wonder why the themes weren't either more thoroughly integrated into the tone of the music or dropped altogether. It's certainly an uncomfortable album, but not in the way the band members wanted it to be. "Miss Machine" ends up drawing your attention in so many different directions that it starts to seem like the band itself didn't end up making the most of any of the things it wanted you to pay attention to.

40footwolf | 2/5 |


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