Heavy metal isn’t just rock music’s dirty cousin anymore. It’s a movement of its own. Metal is a prime example of a sub-genre spinning off from the larger stylistic umbrella of “rock,” only to grow monumentally in its years of exiled obscurity. At present there are likely more heads banged per capita than in any other time in our nation’s history.
Eat your soul with heavy metal
Heavy metal isn’t just rock music’s dirty cousin anymore. It’s a movement of its own.
Metal is a prime example of a sub-genre spinning off from the larger stylistic umbrella of “rock,” only to grow monumentally in its years of exiled obscurity.
At present there are likely more heads banged per capita than in any other time in our nation’s history. And as full-sleeve tattoos and black T-shirts populate our streets in ever-increasing numbers, it’s clear that it’s time to get in on the action. Fortunately for you, this week Portland is hosting two of America’s finest metal acts–both promising enough violence to keep you comfortably sweaty and bruised, at least for the time being.
Dillinger Escape Plan
It appears that the members of the Dillinger Escape Plan signed a pact somewhere around the turn of the millenium in which they swore to live their day-to-day existence with the same balls-out intensity that they bring to the stage.
Proof of this is readily apparent in even a cursory investigation of the group’s rise to prominence since their humble 1996 inception in suburban New Jersey. The Dillinger Escape Plan has (in some cases literally) attacked every aspect of their career with an unrelenting ferocity that has carried them through marathon stretches of touring, numerous mind-boggling shifts in sub-genre, and enough personal disasters to cause even your most ardent metal-head to pack up the black eyeliner and just find a goddamned day job.
However, 11 years into the game, the band is still pushing the envelope with every successive release, consistently waiting for the rest of the metal community to play catch-up.
While volumes could be devoted to the subject of Dillinger’s amorphous membership, the band’s lineup–for the moment at least-consists of Greg Puciato, Ben Weiman, Jeff Tuttle, Liam Wilson and Gil Sharone.
Given that lead guitarist Weiman is the group’s only original member, it should come as no surprise that the band has undergone some significant changes in style over the years. In looking over the press that’s been generated about the band, it’s easy to find references to “mathcore,” “hardcore,” “grindcore,” “post-hardcore” and “metalcore,” often within the same paragraph. Though DEP has proved notoriously difficult to pigeonhole, every recording they’ve produced, from 1998’s Under the Running Board to last January’s Ire Works, has borne the same breakneck intensity. It’s the element that has always fueled their critical and popular success.
The Dillinger Escape Plan is without a doubt one of the best metal bands of our time, and possibly, one of the most jaw-dropping live acts ever to assault a stage. Catch them before their inevitable creative implosion–it might not be too far off.
Calculating Infinity – 1999, Relapse RecordsIre Works – 2007, Relapse Records
An amended list of the Dillinger Escape Plan’s mishaps
1997 – Guitarist Derek Brantley disappears after abruptly quitting the band. Whereabouts still unknown.1998 – Bassist Adam Doll is paralyzed from the chest down as the result of a minor car accident.2005 – Guitarist Ben Weiman is told by his doctor to take it easy in the interest of his personal safety. Weiman drives directly from the appointment to board a plane for the band’s European tour.2006 – Guitarist Brian Benoit goes on hiatus from the band after nerve damage in his left arm and hand render him unable to perform.2007 – Longtime drummer Chris Pennie leaves the band to play for Coheed and Cambria.
Though their skewed guitar work is something to be commended, the truly distinctive feature of The Bled’s songs is something that is usually regarded as outside the realm of metal’s conventional wisdom–the boys know how to write a solid hook.
From their humble beginnings in Arizona, to their current position atop Vagrant Records’ impressive roster, these five bleeding dudes have proved to be an interesting and unconventional voice in metal with their ability to combine smart, aggressive and unexpectedly approachable elements.
The Bled’s notoriety began with their 2003 release Pass the Flask, which debuted on Fiddler Records to an excited reception from both the Warped Tour crowd and metal’s encyclopedic fanatics. Rather than continue along the lines of the precedent set by their successful debut, The Bled decided to instead push beyond their pogo-inducing thrashers on their second full-length, Found in the Flood, exploring a far greater breadth of melodic and structural possibilities. Flood also marked the group’s first release with Vagrant, who has recently overseen the production and release of the band’s latest LP, Silent Treatment.
Working with renowned producer Brian McTernan (Thrice, Converge), the group has crafted another strange masterpiece that builds stylistically upon their melodic leanings. With lyricist James Munoz alternately growling and humming over the band’s head-scratching rhythmic permutations, The Bled has created a sound that is equally at home when bookended by the likes of My Chemical Romance or metal’s most unconventional players.
Pass the Flask – 2003, Fiddler Records
Live performances may include:
Impressive amounts of inebriation, possibly leading to ill-advised attempts at stage diving.
Inappropriately short cut-offs (assuming it isn’t raining).
The Dillinger Escape Plan and The BledAt the Hawthorne Theater on Wednesday, April 9. Cost: $157:30 p.m. All-ages.