Whether or not it was intentional, The Dillinger Escape Plan picked a wholly appropriate name for its fourth full-length, Option Paralysis. The album does feel a bit paralyzed compared to 2007’s Ire Works, a record that stretched the already-adventurous outfit to the end of its tether and a bit beyond. The band, though, is still stuck there. Luckily, it isn’t a bad place to be. Employing a familiar ratio between guttural post-hardcore and progressive restlessness, Option goes where few besides Dillinger have gone before. The disc’s opener, “Farewell, Mona Lisa,” is a blitzkrieg of beehive guitars and focused vocal chaos that resolves into an eerie, nerve-jangling melodic interlude. When it comes to crooning, singer Greg Puciato sounds more like Mike Patton every day, but on tracks like the paranoid “Room Full Of Eyes” and the proggy “Gold Teeth On A Bum,” he unlooses the full range of his bleats, taunts, come-ons, and screeches.
The standout moment, though, is “Widower.” Featuring avant-garde pianist and David Bowie sideman Mike Garson, the song gradually unfolds from a haunting étude into a blistering, bloodcurdling anthem, then back again. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been heard from Dillinger before, but there’s a subtle, even moody undertone to the band’s jazz-like virtuosity and neck-snapping dynamics. With Option Paralysis, Dillinger stops to catch its breath—if you can really call it that—but the result is no less stunning.