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Calculating Infinity

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Reviews

Average Rating
★★★★½
(143 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • Melody is overrated. Unpredictability is underrated. Any questions? If so, a listen or two to “Calculating Infinity” should provide ample proof of my point. The Dillinger Escape Plan is surely one of the heaviest bands I’ve ever heard, but heaviness is only half the story here. Concealed beneath DEP’s monstrous heaviness is a level of creativity and musicianship that few bands in any genre can match. Their compositional style is somewhat similar to that of free jazz, but with the intensity cranked up about 5,000 times. The level of heaviness on “Calculating Infinity” is easily comparable to that of death metal, and while I’m a death metal fan I can’t think of a single DM band that matches DEP’s sheer musical audacity (although Nile comes pretty close). While many extreme bands shift tempos constantly in their songs, what sets DEP apart is that they don’t even seem to bother establishing a tempo in the first place. Riffs, drumbeats, and bass lines shift constantly and seemingly arbitrarily, topped off by the paralyzing screams of manic vocalist Dimitri. While from a lesser band such an ever-shifting musical landscape might sound forced and self-conscious, the songs on “Calculating Infinity” never fail for one second to hold my interest. All throughout its rather brief running length, the album is a clinic on the thrill of not knowing what’s coming next. The mellow tracks “Calculating Infinity” and “Weekend Sex Change” provide short breathers, but the guys mostly play fast and furious, with more than enough sophistication to please even the most discriminating metal fans. Along with Meshuggah, Opeth, Dream Theater, and a few other bands, DEP are right at the top of the heavy-music heap.

    Posted on February 28, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This album always reminds me of lying on a beach listening to the waves roll in and out. I’ll never get sick of Dmitri Minakakis’ smooth, sexy voice and romantic lyrics. A wonderful album to share with your lover or your children.

    Posted on February 28, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Obviously not everyone is going to like this band. When I first heard the songs I had no idea what was going on and it would have been easy for me to throw my headphones to the ground and say “this is crap, i cant understand this!” but after listening to each song 4 or 5 times I was hooked. If you don’t like the band, fine. If you dont think its “metal” or “heavy” or “artistic”, cool, who cares. Those types of arguements will never be sorted out because it is all opinion.
    However saying the musicians are talentless hacks is pure garbage. Its easy to say that something is complex or mathy. I have been playing guitar for 10 years and still have difficulty playing most of their songs. Being able to compose this type of music where you arent just plugging a riff into a 4/4 drum beat is astounding, their music takes tons of practice and collaboration with each band member. As a musician you can tell that these guys take their instruments seriously. My friend hates heavy music, only listens to jazz and classical, but he still made me take him to one of their concerts because he was blown away by thier talent. The fact that they play as tightly live as on the album without dying of exhaustion is also amazing. Most fans of this band aren’t metal fans, they are music fans with radiohead, miles davis, squarepusher, don caballero, the roots, on their shelves. I read an interview where the bassist was saying their drummer goes through one drumming theory book a week. Thats why these guys are what music should be about. They say that not everyone will like them, and they really don’t care. They are just fantastic musicians who are honing their craft and trying to play at 100% of thier ability every song. That is why their cd has been in constant rotation for me and hasn’t lost any of its novelty.

    Posted on February 28, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • From the first 10 seconds of “Sugar Coated Sour”, I knew this was going to be an intense album. It opens up with screaming vocals over an incredibly odd timed riff. This could be described as extreme hardcore metal punk. About 20 seconds later though, a new riff comes in, reminding me of Return to Forever or the Mahavishnu Orchestra, except way faster, and of course, still with the screaming. Then there’s a brief jazzy interlude, which calms things down for about 15 seconds before cranking the intensity back up to 11. This is a typical DEP song, and a relatively short one also (it’s over in about 2 minutes.)The music, while chaotic, is impossibly intricate and would take seriously talented musicians to play. Don’t be fooled; All the songs may sound the same to someone who has never heard anything like this before, but the details of each are so intricate and fascinating if one takes the time to go through and really listen to each song. I suppose the number one complaint seems to be the vocals. I like them a lot, but I can see how they’d be way too annoying or even painful for some people. It’s non-stop screaming. The guitarists are the highlight for me. When power chords are used, a b5 (flatted five) is sometimes inserted, giving DEP a unique sound in metal. There are loads of heavy riffs and quick fusion-infuenced lines, and little lead licks, but no real solos. However, even without traditional solos, DEP are one of the most complex metal bands. The drummer is disgusting. He’s incredibly fast and intricate, keeping up with the songs like I could never imagine.”43% Burnt” is considered by many to be the best song, and it is excellent. The opening is one of the heaviest sections I’ve heard in any music, but the chords used are not like any other metal band. There’s a jazzy interlude in there that’s technical as hell also. Interesting arpeggios. “Jim Fear”, “Sugar Coated Sour”, “Destro’s Secret” and “Clip the Apex…” are all pretty similar sounding, though again, if you pay attention to detail, you’ll realize the complexities. Aside from the normal technical metal stuff, there’s things that make DEP even more unique. “*#..” starts off quiet, and is basically 2 minutes dedicated to an interesting instrumental build up. There’s that jazz influence again. “The Running Board” continually switches between the intense hardcore screaming sections and mellow, jazzy interludes. The title track gives you a break from the intensity, but not the complexity. Arpeggios and odd time signatures are abundant in this instrumental, and heavy odd timed riffs come in later as well. “4th Grade Dropout” brings us back to the heavier side of DEP. “Weekend Sex Change” is another mellow instrumental, with incredible drumming.This album is not for everyone, but it really is an incredible album if you are looking for something complex, insanely heavy, and thoughtful. Repeated listenings reveal more complexities, so keep on listening. Recommended for fans of Meshuggah, Death, and other technical metal stuff.

    Posted on February 28, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Earlier this year, one Lawrence, KS, concertgoer, bewildered by the indescribably brutal sonic attack of The Dillinger Escape Plan, blurted out during a brief break between battering riffs, “Do these songs have names?” The group’s imposing singer Dimitri then smiled and spoke his only words of the night, a simple introduction of the next composition. With that, the band switched back into bludgeoning mode. Calculating Infinity, The Dillinger Escape Plan’s first full-length release, remarkably captures the absolute insanity of its live performances. Some independent guitar-based music has earned the label “math rock” because of the complexity of its song structures, which feature irregular time signatures and jarring changes of pace. This band’s manic tunes are more like high-level trigonometry; mind-blowingly complicated, incomprehensible to most and strangely satisfying to a select studious few. Offering more than just grindcore drums, choppy light-speed riffs and scorched-throat screams arranged with scholarly precision, Calculating Infinity delves into jazz, pretty progressive rock and disarmingly melodic near-pop. However, musically as well as lyrically, there’s always something wicked lurking around the corner. After the false security offered by the intriguing instrumental “Calculating Infinity” comes “4th Grade Dropout,” on which a depraved-sounding Dimitri screams I told you not to fall for it and the ominous lyrics hint at the fate that befell the child who did not heed this warning. “43% Burnt” and “Jim Fear” both pair schizophrenic music with psychotic protagonists. The Dillinger Escape Plan certainly isn’t for everyone. Its songs are dark, challenging, and occasionally almost maddening. Yet for those with the sensory stamina to weather the blistering storm, Calculating Infinity provides a rewarding, if devastating, listen. With the song titles clearly listed, there’s no more room for questions, and listeners are left only to stammer in stunned silence.

    Posted on February 28, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now