Analog Adventures: Irony is a Dead Scene

The Dillinger Escape Plan

Irony is a Dead Scene

(2002)

About the Artists

The Dillinger Escape Plan formed in 1997. They quickly became famous for their hardcore and violent live shows, often times audience members requiring hospitalization. Their musical chops supersede their live antics. Their musical pedigree boasts Berklee College of Music graduate Chris Pennie on drums, and hardcore legend Ben Weinstein. After the success of their debut album Calculating Infinity the band fell into disarray. Turmoil began to brew when vocalist Dimitri Minakakis left due to creative differences. During the search for a new vocalist tragedy struck bassist Adam Doll. While picking up a CD off the car floor at a stop light, a car lightly hit Doll’s vehicle. Doll’s chin was resting on the steering wheel, and the force of the collision left him immediately paralyzed.

Among this chaos, Mike Patton approached the band for a collaboration. Patton is prolific and eccentric, never short of ability or talent. He became famous with Mr. Bungle and subsequently Faith No More. Patton’s vocal range extends from the deepest bass up to the whistle register. He is equally gifted and creative, implementing various techniques such as death growls, Gregorian chant, scat singing, and classical opera styles. Hist stage presence is second to none, and every project he involves himself with becomes decisively Mike Patton’s.

The Record Itself

In 2002 these two titans finally joined for a collaboration.  The result is Irony is a Dead Scene. The EP clocks in at about 18 minutes, but each minute is denser than lead. Much like lead, this heavy metal parlay takes several forms and functions. Hollywood Squares is frantic, chaotic, yet never loses its core focus. The hardcore roots are deeply intertwined with math rock sensibilities. Every note is intentional and foundational upon the next. Each song is comprised of movements, much like a symphony. Pig Latin has a pseudo-Cuban feel, complete with syncopated claves. This is where Patton shows off; he squeals like a pig during the climax of the song, immediately followed by barks. The final track of the EP is a cover of Aphex Twins’ Come to Daddy. Drummer Chris Pennie simulates the random sequencing of the drum machine is impossible to recreate. Former bassist Adam Doll contributes to the track by performing the chromatic note sequence on a synthesizer using a single finger. Diversity proves to be this lineups strength.

The back cover of the record

Is it Worth It?

Irony is a Dead Scene originally saw a release in 2002 through the Buddyhead label. This reissue is a single disc affair, weighing in at 180 grams, and spinning at 45 RPMs. The cover is a strong contrast between the orange and black, much like their debut album. The presence of the child on the on the cover alludes to the child-like innocence and experimentation present on the album. Much like Captain Beefheart, this album can be difficult to get into but is well worth giving a try. Widely available through online retailers and in record stores, this album is well worth adding to any diverse collections.

Outstanding Tracks

  • Hollywood Squares
  • Pig Latin
  • When Good Dogs Do Bad Things
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Jose Diaz

Collector of analog media.

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