Nothing is forever - not even chaos. The musical embodiment of such, The Dillinger Escape Plan, are calling it quits after the tour for their sixth and final record Dissociation runs its course.
There was never really a quantifiable way of describing The Dillinger Escape Plan. Their chaotic music gave them their niche and was always hard to understand. It's a hit or miss scenario for much of their discography - even their softer tracks. Dissociation wasn't much different, for me. As someone who's never actively listened to the band before, I was quite confused by the record for much of its runtime.
Then, everything started making sense when 'Nothing To Forget' played, particularly during the soft part in the bridge. The chaos and doom of the verses painted a tortured picture, but as the soft, symphonic bridge kicked in, it showed that it was all a controlled chaos. In the tortured mind, thoughts are often riddled with hopeless optimism. Amongst the anger and grit of everything else, there's still a sense of hope that is found at the core of it. It's the emotionally connotation of this soft bridge part that really tied the meaning of the record together. The bridge leads to an even heavier, angrier breakdown to end the song, in which Ben Weinman screams "Please let me be by myself / I don't need anyone else" over and over again, as if to try and escape his own mind from its full state.
The album is a representation of internal chaos. It's the interworking systems of a brain, at times schizophrenic and at others on the brink of self-destruction. Upon the second listen of the album, after the revelation of the album's theme, 'Symptom Of Terminal Illness' became more powerful. Originally, the intensity of the track stood out because it was less insane-sounding than 'Limerant Death', but its creepiness build a different complex. That creepiness builds unsettling pictures on top of restraint. It feels as if at any moment this song could abruptly explode into undying rage built up over years.
There's a general unsettling cloud that floats over a lot of the album. 'Fugue' is weird and unsettling, making the unease of the album greater as it gets into its core, with 'Low Feel Blvd' frantically and chaotically searches for a means of escape. It's the musical expression of tipping over the point of sanity and insanity. The song's majority is heavy and unrelenting, but a jazzy, bluesy bridge separates the beginning's anger from the end's. It's the constant change of sound and type of anger that makes the album constantly feel like its going through a mood change between songs.
It can't be forgotten that this is the band's final record, though. It all comes to an almost tragic end with title track 'Dissociation'. Brought up with a beautiful string intro, a droning bass kicks in, in time with a crazy drum beat. The song isn't angry, but it is neither satisfied. It's more like its come to terms with itself. The chaos is a part of it, and this song is about giving up and letting it take over, ironically making the chaos more refined and less apparent. The band's end comes at a tragic note, but a powerful one all the same. The band is concluded with the dying words "Finding a way to die alone" as the song fades out to its last breath.
Much of Dissociation feels like, to me, a mess of hitting drums and downtuned guitar tracks, and the album's meaning can't change that, but justify it. It doesn't make it good, it just makes it understandable. The album is Dillinger's final, and perhaps most powerful. It's internal, personal chaos and degradation rather than aiming to simply sound like it. There's meaning in there somewhere, but it's buried under layers of a dying mind. If Dillinger will be back one day is yet to be seen, but this album feels like the appropriate farewell.
Favorite Tracks: Dissociation, Nothing To Forget, Symptom Of Terminal Illness
Least Favorite Tracks: Limerent Death, Fugue
Rating: 73 / 100