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Calculating Infinity

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  • 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