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Dillinger Escape Plan 

Miss Machine (Relapse)

This album has taken so long to arrive that expectation has probably curdled into cynicism in some quarters. Rumor had it that Miss Machine was to be an attempt at a glossy sellout. Others predicted a lame rehashing of Calculating Infinity. Either way, suckage was the prognosis.

Well, the only thing that sucks about Miss Machine is its cover art, a goofy collage of female body parts. The music is astonishing. In the past half-decade, the band has grown by leaps and bounds in its playing and, more important, its songwriting. Miss Machine is all about Dillinger experimenting with its sound and expanding its palette. Vocalist Greg Puciato is simply amazing -- he sounds like everyone from Leonard Cohen to Trent Reznor to Mike Patton, depending on which snippet of which song you're hearing. There are electronics here ("We Are the Storm" is the best Nine Inch Nails song ever) -- even melodies. A few tracks find the group competing with itself to wedge in as many riffs and time signatures as possible, but that's hardly the overall feel. Miss Machine is a major metal statement. Bravo.

More by Phil Freeman


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