Music / The Dillinger Escape Plan
Flying guitarists are a lot more common in this line of work than you might think.

Related Acts:
  • Arcane (former band of Ben Weinman, Chris Pennie and Dmitri Minakakis)
  • The Black Queen (Greg Puciato's synthpop side project)
  • Coheed and Cambria (former drummer Chris Pennie currently plays in them)
  • Jesuit (former guitarist Brian Benoit played in them, alongside future Converge bassist Nate Newton)
  • Killer Be Killed (side project featuring Greg Puciato)
  • Mike Patton (collaborated for one EP)
  • Starkweather (Liam Wilson)

The Dillinger Escape Plan (currently stylized as The Dillinger ESC Plan) is a Metalcore band from New Jersey. They formed in 1997 after the split-up of Arcane, a fairly run-of-the-mill hardcore band that guitarist Ben Weinman, drummer Chris Pennie and singer Dmitri Minakakis played in. Building on the proto-mathcore sound of bands like Converge, Cave In and Botch, they developed an extremely technically demanding mathcore style based on speedy tempos, furious time signature changes, shouted/screamed vocals and purposefully jarring shifts in rhythm and tone. Following the release of their first album, their music started to become even more experimental, incorporating sung vocals, industrial & electronic textures and a greater interest in melody.

Despite what the above description might suggest and their being arguably one of the most extreme bands in the world, they maintain a decidedly lighthearted approach to their music (especially in a genre known for po-faced-ness) and their songs are much more quirky and eccentric than might be expected. The band has had numerous lineup changes, to the point that lead guitarist Ben Weinman is the sole remaining founding member.

In mid-2016, the band announced that it would be going on an extended hiatus after the release of Dissociation; however, Greg has gone on to say that the band is actually breaking up, in part due to he and Ben feeling that they've done all they can do from an artistic standpoint.

The current line-up consists of:

  • Greg Puciato (vocals)
  • Ben Weinman (guitar, backing vocals, piano, electronics, management)
  • Kevin Antreassian (rhythm guitar)
  • Liam Wilson (bass)
  • Billy Rymer (drums)

Studio albums and other releases:

  • The Dillinger Escape Plan (1997) - EP
  • Under the Running Board (1998) - EPnote 
  • Calculating Infinity (1999)
  • Irony Is a Dead Scene (2002) - an EP-length collaboration with Mike Patton
  • Miss Machine (2004)
  • Plagiarism (2006) - EP
  • Ire Works (2007)
  • Option Paralysis (2010)
  • One of Us Is the Killer (2013)
  • Dissociation (2016)

The band provides examples of:

  • Ascended Fanboy: Greg was a fan of the band prior to joining.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In the choruses of "Pig Latin," Mike Patton screams "Chinga" ("Aching" in Pig Latin) in between the verses. Spanish speakers however will hear the Spanish equivalent of "Fuck", turning the sense of frustration and aching to hostile rage.
  • Black Comedy: "Baby's First Coffin".
  • Cover Version: Among others, "Come To Daddy" by Aphex Twin (recorded with Mike Patton on vocals), "Wish" by Nine Inch Nails (Greg and Ben later joined NIN onstage at a gig in Australia to perform the song) and "Fight The Power" by Public Enemy. Let's not forget "Like I Love You" by Justin Timberlake, "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath, or "Angel" by Massive Attack.
  • Dramatic Shattering: On par with X Japan and The Who for playing this trope: from smashing guitars, to setting them on fire, to smashing microphones and other equipment, to smashing drumkits and setting them ablaze, they have done all these and more.
  • Epic Rocking: "Mouth of Ghosts" and "Widower"
  • Gorn: The videos for "When I Lost My Bet" and "One of Us Is the Killer" have very bloody and violent imagery.
  • Harsh Vocals: While Pusicato can sing clean vocals and does so on several songs, he's most known for a mix of harsh screams and shouted vocals.
  • Hidden Track: There's one at the end of Calculating Infinity, which has samples from the film version of Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl.
  • I Am the Band: Ben Weinman is the band's main creative force, manager and only remaining founding member. He's not entirely happy with this arrangement, however; in an interview around the release of Option Paralysis, he said that he hoped the present Dillinger line-up would be the last one.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Surprisingly averted - Greg's vocals are quite harsh but the lyrics remain easy to understand.
  • Instrumentals: They have several. "*%..", "Calculating Infinity", "Weekend Sex Change", "When Acting as a Particle", and "When Acting as a Wave" are some examples. Some of these have spoken-word samples.
  • Loudness War: Much of their music has fallen prey to this problem. Dissociation is DR5 (with several songs at DR4) and most of it is pretty badly clipped. It's not their only example, either. Their '90s material isn't quite as badly affected as their material starting with Irony Is a Dead Scene, but the problem affects all of their recordings to an extent.
  • Metalcore: A sub-genre called mathcore.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Mostly a 10. Their softer passages go down to anywhere from a 3 to a 6, while most of their harder passages and some songs can be considered to go up to 11.
  • Mood Whiplash: Happens pretty often, like on their cover of "Paranoid".
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: A weird mix of avant-garde metal, math rock, hardcore punk, jazz, noise, industrial and what have you.
  • New Sound Album: Arguable, but One of Us is The Killer is considerably heavier than their preceding releases, with a harsh, noisy sound akin to Converge. Dissociation follows suit.
  • Performance Video: "Panasonic Youth" and "Farewell, Mona Lisa".
  • Pun-Based Title: "Panasonic Youth", fnarr fnarr.
  • Rearrange the Song: Some songs get greatly expanded in live performances. The reissue of Under the Running Board contains live performances of "Clip the Apex... Accept Instruction" and "Abe the Cop" that add over a minute to each of them as compared to their studio counterparts. Incidentally, these expanded versions contain material that the band would later reuse in new compositions. It seems they may have used live performances as a way to test-drive new material for audiences before recording it, much like The Mars Volta used to.
  • Refuge in Audacity: During their first performance at Reading Festival in 2002, Greg defecated in full view on stage before putting the feces in a plastic bag and throwing it in the audience and smearing the rest on himself. This nearly resulted in the band being banned in the UK for violation of public decency laws.
  • Revolving Door Band: Two vocalists, five guitarists, three bassists and three drummers over the course of fourteen years.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: Hoo boy, definitely. And not just guitars either, for that matter.
  • Sampling: They sometimes sample John Doe's line from Se7en ("I've gone and done it again.") in live performances of "Sugar Coated Sour". "Weekend Sex Change" also has several samples about their namesake, bank robber John Dillinger.
  • Scary Musician, Harmless Music: An inversion - they look like a harmless indie rock band, but just wait till you hear them play songs like this.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Greg Puciato does this a lot, screaming as his primary vocal style on most songs but using a lot of clean vocal hooks on some of them as well. Mike Patton did this on his EP with the band as well. Interestingly, Puciato's singing has been compared to Patton's, which is high praise indeed.
  • Spiritual Successor: They are this to The Who, for very, very obvious reasons. In sound, however, they are this to Converge.
  • Subdued Section: Some of their songs alternate chaotic mathcore sections with more serene sections. "Baby's First Coffin" contains a great example. "When Good Dogs Do Bad Things" contains another.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: Started to pop up with more frequency from Miss Machine onwards. Examples include "Unretrofied", "Black Bubblegum", "Milk Lizard", "Dead as History", "Mouth of Ghosts", "Widower" (an honest-to-goodness Power Ballad), "One of Us Is the Killer", and "Dissociation". Earlier albums had a few examples as well, though (almost all instrumentals). "Weekend Sex Change" is a good example; it's still unsettling, but it's nothing anyone could describe as "heavy".
  • Uncommon Time: Weird time signatures and stuttering off-beats are what their core sound is based around. In fact, Dillinger songs in Common Time are the exception, rather than the rule. To give you an idea of how prevalent this trope is, there is a rumour (probably apocryphal) that they determine their time signatures by throwing dice.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Ben and Greg. Most of One of Us Is the Killer was written and recorded when their friendship was in dire straits.
    • True Companions: At the the end of the day, Ben, Greg, Liam, and Billy are all this.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Ben and Chris Pennie were good friends, but as time went on their relationship was very strained. According to Greg, they would go from talking to screaming at each other in a matter of minutes. Chris eventually left the band to be in Coheed and Cambria.
  • Word Puree Title: "*#..".
  • Word Salad Lyrics: The lyrics on Calculating Infinity consisted almost exclusively of this. Greg's lyrics are substantially less nonsensical.