The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2010 – 2019, #10: The Dillinger Escape Plan, One of Us Is the Killer

  • Axl Rosenberg

MetalSucks recently polled nearly 180 prominent metal musicians and industry insiders to determine The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2010 – 2019! (You can read all about the voters and the methodology behind the poll here.) Over the next few weeks, we’ll be counting down the entire list, one entry per day.

The countdown continues today with One of Us Is the Killer (Party Smasher/Sumerian), the 2013 release from The Dillinger Escape Plan!

The Dillinger Escape Plan never wanted for material that demonstrated their gasp-inducing technical skills. Still, as their career progressed, there was an undeniable shift in their focus from melting minds to writing great songs. The Dillinger Escape Plan of yesteryear wanted to challenge people’s very notion of what music could be, and wrote material seemingly designed to turn off anyone who wasn’t cool enough to embrace their experimentalism. There was arguably a kind of snotty elitism to it. The band often sounded equally pissed off during the Puciato era, but it was no longer a rage that kept listeners at a distance. Even though in some ways it was more “traditional,” the willingness to acknowledge and openly struggle with a range of human emotions also felt brave and appropriately progressive. DEP were no longer just challenging people’s notion of what music could be; they were challenging people’s notion of what DEP could be.

This creative evolution reached its apex on One of Us Is the Killer, which is arguably DEP’s strongest demonstration of the various styles they gradually came to embrace. It is, to date, the band’s penultimate release, but it would easily work as a primer on/survey of their entire career. It’s got their signature vertiginous, sometimes jazzy punk (“Prancer,” “When I Lost My Bet,” “Understanding Decay,” “Magic That I Held You Prisoner”), a smokey, noirish break-up song (the title track), a pair of infectious, predatory alt-rock number (“Nothing’s Funny,” “Paranoia Shields”), and a mostly-instrumental cut that I’m not even sure how to categorize (“CH 375 268 277 ARS”). My personal favorite song on the album, “Hero of the Soviet Union,” is dizzying, weary-sounding mathcore; the back half is the curb-stomping hardcore anthem of the decade. The song has become one of my go-to’s when in a frothing rage. I have listened it on repeat more times than I care enough to admit, and often daydream about screaming the lyrics in Donald Trump’s face (and not even because of the whole Soviet Union thing, which is never actually mentioned in the song — but just try and tell me the song doesn’t work as perfect description of El Trumpo).

It says something that of all the bands on this list — SPOILER ALERT! — The Dillinger Escape Plan are the only ones who are no longer together. They made a lasting impact on the art of extreme music, demonstrating that integrity, creative exploration, and success are not all mutually exclusive. Pray for the reunion.

The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2010 – 2019:

#25: Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas, Mariner (2016)
#24: Triptykon, Eparistera Daimones (2010)
#23: Pig Destroyer, Book Burner (2012)
#22: Yob, Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014)
#21: The Black Dahlia Murder, Ritual (2011)
#20: Mastodon, Once More ‘Round the Sun (2014)
#19: At the Gates, At War with Reality (2012)
#18: Meshuggah, Koloss (2012)
#17: Gorguts, Colored Sands (2012)
#16: Between the Buried and Me, The Parallax II: Future Sequence (2012)
#15: The Ocean, Pelagial (2013)
#14: Kvelertak, Kvelertak (2010)
#13: Judas Priest, Firepower (2018)
#12: Metallica, Hardwired… to Self-Destruct (2016)
#11: Converge,
All We Love We Leave Behind (2012)

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