It’s probably fair to say that many of us don’t fully want to admit to ourselves that there probably won’t be another Dillinger Escape Plan album. But, as time stretches away from those final shows at the end of 2017, various members of the band are wheeling out their post-Dillinger projects as a reminder that the band is no more. With Greg touring heavily with The Black Queen, Liam with John Frum and Ben taking a surprising left turn into Suicidal Tendencies, we can now add drummer Billy Ryman’s new project, Thoughtcrimes, to the mix. Tap Night spits out four tracks in under fifteen minutes and, like any good debut EP, leaves the listener ravenously hungry for more.
Previously, Billy had been part of the excellent, and tragically short-lived North Korea (which was styled as NK for their only full-length album, 2013’s Nothing To Be Gained Here) alongside members of Envy On The Coast. NK was a considerably more laid back and funky affair, with a neat line in tonal experimentation. It’s in these experiments that the comparisons really end, as Tap Night is a considerably more ferocious affair.
Tap Night, although brief, is actually a little bit fractal. The EPs opening track, “Artificer”, moves through three distinct dynamic sections. Thoughtcrimes burst out of the gate at break-neck speed, with the full force of chaotic hardcore reminiscent of the likes of Retox and Old Gods, before slamming on the brakes and heading into the groovy, riffy territory of Employed To Serve and finally opening out into an expansive and melodic coda that is sure to bring back memories of the more delicate moments on Dillinger and Nine Inch Nails albums.
The three tracks which follow then seem to explore and expand each of the general feel of these sections in more detail. So, if you are too busy to even spare a quarter of an hour to listen to Tap Night in full, “Artificer” will give you a good taste of what Thoughtcrimes have to offer in four minutes dead. However, by covering so much ground in their opening salvo, they are clearly setting the scope of where the band’s sound can range as broadly as possible. This can only be a good thing.
At this early stage, there are precious few details about the band available – and what appears to be their first show is a month away as I type these words. This means it’s difficult to know if the wide variety of vocal styles evident in the songs are the product of multiple throats, one very versatile throat or, in some cases, some form of effects-box manipulation. It wouldn’t be that surprising if it turned out to be a combination of all of the above.
In less time than it takes to watch an episode of The Simpsons, Tap Night sets up Thoughtcrimes as a seriously arresting proposition. It is not hard to imagine that the live shows, when they come, will be absolutely incendiary. It is fair to say that the influence of Dillinger is evident in the bands sound, and particularly in their song structures – but, let’s be clear, Thoughtcrimes are far from a pale imitation and very much their own beast. Tap Night feels like an explosion fuelled by a virtually kinetic outpouring of passion and creativity. And for a band to display this much maturity and ambition in their first for songs is tremendously exciting. Pay attention.