Like many followers of The Dillinger Escape Plan, I was upset to read that they would be calling it quits after the release of their final album, Dissociation. I had been hooked on the band since I first heard the panic chord dominant ending breakdown to “43% Burnt” being cranked in the back of a school bus in the 7th grade. I’d had multiple opportunities to witness the band live, and no other band has matched their intensity to this day. Obviously my feelings came from a selfish place, I wanted to see them keep going and release albums regardless of whether they maintained their balanced sound or went off in a more progressive, weird direction.

Upon spending multiple listens with Dissociation (which was released on my 28th birthday), I agree with founding member and guitarist Ben Weinman’s sentiment that there is no better way to go out than on top. The opening track and leading single “Limerent Death” is everything listeners have come to know and love from Dillinger, dissonant chords scattered amongst frenetic drums and driving bass that changes in tempo multiple times throughout the song. Frontman Greg Puciato alternating between his typical screams and a wilder delivery that perfectly encapsulates the chaos of the band’s live show. The ending refrain “I gave you everything you wanted, you were everything to me” builds in intensity as the tempo climbs before everything seemingly falls apart and ends in an instant.

Every progression in the band’s sound has been perfectly refined and displayed on the album, especially the experimental electronic vibe that became prevalent on the 2008 album Ire Works. “Fugue” is an almost 4 minute electronic track that is a glitchy beat assault on the front half that breaks down into an ambient drone before exploding into “Low Feels Blvd”. The aforementioned experimental element is on full display in the back half of this track, with clean jazz guitars and a subdued break beat providing the backdrop for Puciato’s falsetto.

The drumming throughout Dissociation is yet another impressive display that is on par with the rest of the band’s discography. Billy Rhymer easily alternates between blast beats and off time fills that have equally impressed and confused me since joining the band before the recording of 2010’s Option Paralysis. My favorite track is without a doubt “Honeysuckle”, and I have reason to believe that’s due in part to my affinity for the Calculating Infinity era. A relentless assault from beginning to end that revolves a dissonant riff, Liam Wilson’s bass playing really shines here. Wilson’s distorted tone peaks it’s head out during the mathy interludes and especially during the ending breakdown that’s eerily reminiscent of “43% Burnt”.

It’s fitting for Steve Evetts to have produced the final Dillinger Escape Plan album, as he’s hand a hand with much the band’s discography, including their self titled EP released in 1997. But unlike Evetts’ typical role of engineering and mixing, Dissociation’s punishing assault on your ear drums is courtesy of Kurt Ballou. No stranger to many of my reviews, Ballou continues to have a hand in much of the acclaimed heavy music releases of the past 15 years. I believe Ballou’s mix is responsible for bassist Liam Wilson’s best tone put to tape. The aforementioned “Honeysuckle” has many moment’s spotlighting Wilson’s grinding tone that accentuates the jagged panic chords that dominate much of the song.

Overall, Dissociation is an binaural representation of going down swinging that is sure to make many top 10 lists. Dissociation is available now from the band’s Party Smasher label. Come find me losing my mind at the band’s sold out show at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on November 15th.