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Dillinger Escape Plan (With Mike Patton) Irony Is A Dead Scene

By Chris Hawkins, Contributor
Tuesday, December 17, 2002 @ 11:40 AM


(Epitaph)

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The Dillinger Escape Plan is a band synonymous with pushing boundaries, and taking their music to extremes that were as yet unheard of when they arrived on the underground scene in the late ‘90s. They debuted with a sound comprised of intricate changes, math-like riffs, and the brutal, sheer pissed-off rage of Punk Rock. Being more of a live band than studio recluses, they have toured virtually non-stop since their inception, building the reputation of a band of musician’s musicians who throw down in front of thirty people or three thousand.

Enter Mike Patton. In 1999, The Dillinger Escape Plan opened up for Patton’s Mr. Bungle on tour, building a mutual respect between the established legend and the new buzz in the underground. For some time now, there has been talk of collaboration between the singer and Dillinger which has finally seen the light of day via the EP, Irony is a Dead Scene. Contained within, are parts Dillinger, parts Patton, but the whole remains unclassifiable and definitely unrivaled.

Upon inserting the disc in one’s player, the senses are blasted with the opening track, “Hollywood Squares,” a frantic tune that conjures images of being trapped in the doomed squares of the TV game show. The music is 100% Dillinger, close to chaos yet amazingly focused. Perhaps that is truly the brilliance of this band, having the ability to allow the music to run away from the confines of predictability yet all the while maintaining control of the process. It is Mike Patton, though, that is ringmaster, or rather, game show host of the proceedings. His wide spectrum of vocal acrobatics (screams, yelps, growls, and even crooning) carries the music through the insane carnival that is this EP.

“Pig Latin” features Patton initially singing in a style reminiscent of late Faith No More, but then brought back to the land of weird by Dillinger’s crazy grooves and rhythms. This track could actually be considered the most accessible for though it does not leave the disc’s experimental nature, it is definitely catchy. It is on track three, “When Good Dogs Do Bad Things,” that Patton and Dillinger truly shine together. With Fantomas being used as a point of reference, Mike Patton allows his voice to become an instrument all its own blending with the instrumentalists’ industrial/jazz/metal feel. The EP is rounded out by a cover of Aphex Twin’s “Come to Daddy,” the most straight-forward “rocker,” if it can be called that. It is truly an all too short ride.

Overall, Irony is a Dead Scene mixes humor, aggression, and the avant-garde, which can be expected from both parties concerned. It can be likened to jazz, in that there is no clear plot, just strange sub-plots weaving in and out leaving the whole up for interpretation. Such is the mark of great art; however, to take it too seriously would be to miss the point completely.

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