The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: The Dillinger Escape Plan – Self-Titled
I can vividly recall the day I was introduced to New Jersey hardcore outfit, The Dillinger Escape Plan. I was given a heads up about DEP through a friend of mine. He knew the kind of music I was into and figured I would enjoy them. So I ventured to my local music store, which sadly, no longer exists. Upon entering the store, I began to search through an endless amount of CD’s, one after another, hoping to come across this elusive needle in a haystack. I probably could have asked the owner if he had it in stock, but where’s the fun in that? I enjoy the hunt and it’s more rewarding when you finally find the item in which you seek. After a few minutes of getting no results, I started to suspect that my efforts were wasted, so as a last resort, I decided to hit up the used CDs, and only after a few minutes I was welcomed with a surprise which widen my eyes and put a smirk on my face. There it was, The Dillinger Escape Plan’s self-titled EP, and even despite the creepy doll head on the cover, I was excited to have found it.
Overly joyed with what I had discovered hidden in the vast used bin, I purchased the EP and as quickly as I could, popped it in the CD player. What was unknown to me at that time, this EP was to become an instant favorite of mine for years to come. The EP opens with a brief instrumental, “Proceed With Caution”, nothing to hectic, in fact it’s the calmest part of the whole EP. But just as it ends it leads into “I Love Secret Agents”, and from there on, it’s all complex time signatures and utter chaos, in which the band showcases how they balance between being both precise and brutal with the utmost of ease. This is way before they expanded their sound and presence with the release of their LP Calculating Infinity, but their self-titled is still a worthy addition to their catalogue.
You need to take into consideration, this is their demo. It’s raw, like a demo should sound, but even despite the mid-quality recording, it’s still a force to be reckoned with. Simply put, It’s one of the best hardcore releases to ever come out. Their early sound was more along the lines of what you would hear on a Deadguy album, another New Jersey hardcore band. It had that aggression in both the music and vocals that was common in only a few other bands.
This EP has some classic tunes on it, most notably “Monticello” and “Three For Flinching (Revenge Of The Porno Clowns)”, the latter being the standout track on the EP (in my opinion). And to this day, I still remember seeing them for the first time when they had their original lineup, which included Dimitri Minakakis on vocals. They were on tour with Cave In, and their performance stuck out amongst the other bands and completely blew me away. I was witnessing a live performance of an EP that I’ve come to love, and it was something I will never forget. The sheer amount of chaos they possessed on stage was a sight to see. No one was safe, they made the fans a part of the performance. Even more chilling was the inclusion of some random dudes dressed up as clowns moshing around the rest of the people. It was a first for any show I’ve been too and I’ve seen my fair share of insanity at shows.
I’ve been a fan of these guys pretty much since the beginning. And even amongst the changes in their line-up since they formed, I look forward to watching them evolve with each new release. While they continue to dominate with every new album, going further into musical exploration, I always take the time to look back to where it all began, a 6 track EP that started it all…
The Dillinger Escape Plan – “I Love Secret Agents”