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.