A farewell to my favourite band - The Dillinger Escape Plan
Posted: Posted October 24th
Edited October 24th by Orion Nebula
Back in 2009 I was at Perth's Soundwave Festival, waiting with mates for Alice in Chains to take the stage. We got there pretty early to get good spots in the mosh, so we managed to catch the full set for this hardcore band I only knew by name, and maybe 1 or 2 of their singles. But man, they fucking blew me away. To the point where only NIN beat them out as my highlight of the entire day. And the cherry on top was Trent inviting them back out later to help them perform "Wish", which remains to be one of the greatest live performances I've ever seen, and thank god they preserved its beauty:
I picked up their Ire Works and Miss Machine albums on CD not long after, with Option Paralysis following about a year later, cementing my love for this band. I saw them live again at one of their own shows around 2012, where the intimacy of smaller venue coupled with the band's complete unhinged ferocity turned it into the craziest fucking show I've ever been to. Now being familiar with their work, being able to scream and mosh along to bangers like "Farewell, Mona Lisa" and "Panasonic Youth" made the experience all the greater. With that, Dillinger quickly skyrocketed to the forefront of my favourite bands.
The news late last year that they'd be disbanding was heartbreaking, but I respect DEP's willingness and honesty to go out on top of their game. I missed out on their tour for One Of Us Is The Killer back in 2014, which I was super bummed about as that was a monster of a record. But thankfully I got to see them one last time – 3 nights ago, actually - on their farewell tour, which also celebrated the release of their final album Dissociation.
It was one hell of a show; watching them play tracks off their last 2 records that I've been dying to hear live for ages was so gratifying. They also played "Happiness Is A Smile" (never released outside of a YouTube music video and 500 limited edition vinyls), and a song they hadn't performed in 12 years, "Sandbox Magician". They were as insane and utterly unrelenting as usual: Greg jumping off a balcony, he and Ben crowd-surfing, climbing up monitors and scaffolding, Billy destroying his drum set. The level of energy and enthusiasm each member of DEP still manages to put out for these shows never ceases to amaze me. Greg's animalistic vocals were captivating, Billy's drums drilled into my chest, and Ben's guitar work was punishing. Kicking off the gig with "Limerent Death" was the perfect opener as its ending sounds like a descent into madness, setting the tone for the rest of the show. "Farewell, Mona Lisa" is without a doubt still my favourite live song of theirs, though. Other standouts were "Crossburner" (which I was fucking over the moon about them actually playing!), "Symptom of Terminal Illness", "When I Lost My Best", "Prancer", and closing their encore on "43% Burnt".
I'm resigned to the fact I'll likely never see a band like them live again, and it saddens me to no end that I won't have any new music of theirs to look forward to. While I'm keen on Greg's side project The Black Queen, ("heavy metal supergroup" Killer Be Killed not so much), I'm going to miss that pure aggression and wild experimentation that made each album a wonder to listen to.
Dillinger Escape Plan made their mark on the metal and hardcore scenes with 6 spectacular records, and they have the fortune of leaving behind a legacy that never took a backwards step. A band with such immense creativity and complexity wrapped in uncompromising chaos. In all the 200+ bands I've seen live, not a single one was ever more memorable or exciting than DEP. Gonna fucking miss 'em.
For those curious, a (very small) handful of their best:
Happiness Is A Smile:
Farewell, Mona Lisa:
When I Lost My Bet:
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