The Dillinger Escape Plan On Prog-Rock

New Jersey band spotlights its favourites...
The Dillinger Escape Plan

Since the late-1990s, New Jersey’s The Dillinger Escape Plan has operated at the forefront of inventive, uncompromising metal, their technically precise sounds termed mathcore, art-rock or even jazz-fusion, depending on the ears in question.

The band’s latest, fifth, studio album is ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’ – and if the title’s laced with no little menace, you should really hear the record. It continues its makers’ celebrated tradition of merging a very studied, very accomplished musicianship with brain-battering intensity. It picks up the positives from previous studio set ‘Option Paralysis’, a critical hit of 2010, and furthers the overall TDEP vision in smashing fashion.

But enough about the band’s fiery nature, because beneath the frenetic surface layers there lurks an obvious debt to progressive rock music. No band with this amount of imagination could have gone through life without experiencing an extended organ solo or two – no pun(s) intended. And so it proves with TDEP.

Drummer Billy Rymer here recommends to Clash – and our readers – a few of his favourite prog-rock records. Or, at least records that he sees as representing ‘prog’ in the present day…

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‘When I Lost My Bet’, from ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’
(contains imagery some may find upsetting)

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“Whenever I hear someone throw around the term ‘prog’, I immediately assume they are talking about an era of rock music that was prominent throughout the late-‘60s and ‘70s, consisting of 30-plus-minute-long songs, gigantic 100-piece drum sets, odd time meters, synthesizers, and shredding guitar solos.

“However, to me, prog is not limited to an era in time, nor can I literally consider it a specific genre. Prog is the concept of pushing modern music to the limits, with talent, creativity and proficiency. 

“My father introduced me to prog at an early age, around the time I started to pursue an interest in playing the drums. I would come home from school and play to some of my favourite records: ‘Brain Salad Surgery’ by Emerson Lake & Palmer (1973), and Rush’s ‘Moving Pictures’ (1981). Carl Palmer’s and Neil Peart’s performance on those records inspired me to further explore technical drumming, and technical music. 

“In 2001, Tool’s ‘Lateralus’ filled a void in rock music that desperately needed attention at the time. It was a major leap from their previous album, 1996’s ‘Aenima’. The combination of those riffs, Danny Carey’s drumming, and the intense distinct vocals of Maynard James Keenan created one of the most cathartic, compelling, and cohesive records ever to exist. 

“When The Mars Volta released ‘De-Loused In The Comatorium’ (2003), it was a breath of fresh air. It brought back that vintage analogue sound with a modern attitude, using combo amps, moog effects, Hammond organ and Leslie [pedal], and those warm John Bonham-esque drum tones. Jon Theodore really set the tone for drummers to come on that record. 

“Most recently, there is this band from the UK called Three Trapped Tigers, who I’ve been really getting into. This instrumental trio released a compilation record entitled ‘Numbers 1 – 13’ (2012), which is absolutely mind-blowing. Their drummer Adam Betts is a total monster, mimicking electronic drum samples with all acoustic instruments and controlling snare delays and drum effects on the fly.”

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The Dillinger Escape Plan’s ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’ is out now, and the band can be found online here

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