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4.1 out of 5 stars
Miss Machine
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Another Dillinger Escape Plan album, another blitz of crunchy staccato rhythms, insane vocals, and frenetic rhythmic virtuosity.

But what's different?

DEP has added a bit more variety to their sound since their last full-length, _Calculating Infinity_. So apparently the crafty diversity of the _Irony Is A Dead Scene_ EP was not attributable solely to Mike Patton's involvement. There was some early buzz about this album being toned relative to previous DEP releases, with people saying it was "more melodic" and "less crazy" and what not. This is misleading, in my opinion. The opener, "Panasonic Youth", in 2 1/2 minutes lays down concrete-heavy slabs of metallic vitriol, delivering a polymetrical bludgeoning with enough time changes to knock any prog fan back on his azz. It is an opener that stands strong beside anything in DEP's catalogue. Then comes "Sunshine the Werewolf", with roaring speed, kinked rhythms, huge clomping riffs and...a catchy chorus?! Sounds hazardous, but DEP's craftsmanship cannot be faulted and nowhere do their 'catchier' ambitions lapse into cheesiness or shallowness. They use their hooks to grab you and their complexity to keep you coming back.

So, best to think of it not as anything "toned down", but rather a full album of material in the vein of the _Irony Is..._ EP. Stylistically, the vocals are more along the lines of the EP. There is actually quite a bit of singing on this album (compared to _Calculating Infinity_, which was basically all screaming), and a good variety of bloodcurdling screams. Is the new vocalist, Gred Paciuto, trying to sound like Patton? It's an impossible feat, so most vocalists should not be encouraged to try it. But Paciuto, while obviously trying to emulate Patton to some extent, deserves tremendous credit for serving the music incredibly well. He does have a good supply of Pattonisms -- "Unretrofied" even sounds like an outtake from _Album of the Year_, due in no small part to the singing. And his screaming is awesome. With the last EP, DEP kind of revised the role of the vocalist in the band. The new vocalist tackles that role adroitly.

All of the songs are outstanding, even tracks where DEP's usual insanity is considerably tempered, like "Highway Robbery" -- which might have been a some kind of punk song were it not for the major chops and syncopation -- and the polyrhythmic, industrially-inflected "Phone Home". Still, the best songs those that embrace the band's lust for speed, assaulting rhythmic power, fragmented melodies, and complex tempo changes: songs like "We Are the Storm", "The Perfect Design", "Van Damsel", and
"Panasonic Youth" are some of the most delicious in their catalogue.

Probably their best album so far.

(Btw, the deluxe edition of this album comes with a DVD footage from various DEP live shows. Personally, I think it's pretty much worthless, since the footage is horrible and the sound quality sucks azz. But who cares, the cd is awesome.)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I must be hearing a totally different album than a lot of the one and two star reviewers. Yes, there are melodic hooks on "Highway Robbery" and "Setting Fire To Sleeping Giants," and yes, "Phone Home" and "Unretrofied" sound like slowed down industrial rock, but the rest of the album is classic Dillinger Escape Plan. In fact, the remaining songs are more complex and chaotic than anything on Calculating Infinity. The guitarists do fewer scales and more subtle, complicated techniques this time around,and the drumming is as good as ever. And the so called "sell-out" songs add variety and make the album feel more like an album as opposed to a collection of random spaz outs. Just because there's (gasp!) singing, doesn't make an album worthless. I seriously doubt that anybody listens to JUST hardcore metal, and that the same people who pan Dillinger Escape Plan as weak enjoy melodic singing in other contexts. In some cases, I'll agree that singing doesn't fit in metalcore, but here, it's done perfectly and works to make the whole record more dynamic. In short, this is one of the most complete, enjoyable metalcore albums ever by a band that is endlessly inventive and even better live.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Here it is, finally: after four years, a couple of lineup changes, and a one-off project with the legendary Mike Patton, the almighty Dillinger Escape Plan have released a proper second album of demented genius. It's been kind of a weird month, with DEP following Candiria and Neurosis in releasing albums that contain some marked departures from their signature styles. While part of me wishes my favorite bands would stick to what made me like them so much in the first place (you know, if it ain't broke...), I suppose they have to mix things up at least a little bit. Besides, having already released one of the craziest albums of all time in the form of "Calculating Infinity," these guys weren't going to take anyone by surprise this time out. At any rate, "Miss Machine" is still a spectacular release that manages to move forward without abandoning the creativity and technical brilliance that made "Calculating Infinity" such a blockbuster of an album. DEP are basically a genre unto themselves, and "Miss Machine" only cements their status as one of the world's most intelligent heavy bands.

While the high-speed, uber-complex mathcore of "Calculating Infinity" is still very much in evidence here, it seems to have mutated into a slightly different form. Songs like "Panasonic Youth," "Sunshine the Werewolf" and "The Perfect Design" do contain their fare share of jarring, angular stuctures that will have you banging your head until your neck hurts, but they're also notable for bringing in a more groove-oriented approach led by some guitar riffs that actually resemble something from a thrash metal album. And while his predecessor Dmitri was largely content to scar his larynx with petrifying screams, new vocalist Greg Pucito betrays DEP's newfound Mr. Bungle influence with some sneering, snarling and even singing that should prove to be a pleasant surprise for the band's more adventurous listeners. And of course, these guys are all still among the best musicians on earth, capable of pulling off just about anything in any style they feel like. Just listen to that pounding riff that opens up "Sunshine the Werewolf" on your car stereo without starting up a one-man mosh pit. I dare you.

However, it's elsewhere that DEP really stretches out to show us some new tricks that they've picked up since their debut. "Highway Robbery" is almost punkish, but not at all in a bad way; its combination of in-your face aggression and technical perfection actually brings to mind the Refused classic "The Shape of Punk to Come." The bitter kiss-off "Phone Home" is delightfully malevolent, replacing the band's typical polyrhythmic fury with the harsh atmospheres and scathing anger of industrial metal. With its wacky genre mixing and schizophrenic vocals, "Setting Fire to Sleeping Giants" could easily be mistaken for a Mr. Bungle song if not for the occasional flurries of devastating riffage and thunderous drum pounding. However, the real curveball comes with "Unretrofied," a slow, methodical, ambient piece with a melodic chorus (!) sung by Pucito in an almost sweet voice. If you can handle a song like this on a Dillinger album, you can handle just about anything.

On a related note, if you're lucky enough to find the special edition with the bonus DVD, snatch it up immediately. As one might expect, the live performances on here, featuring such classics as "Sugar Coated Sour" and "43% Burnt" along with some new songs, are positively SICK. Anyone who listens to this band knows how crazy their sound is, but seeing the energy of one of their live performances (even if only on DVD) adds a whole new dimension. Hell, it's worth getting the DVD just for the performance in Japan where Greg jumps into the crowd and surfs on a bunch of skinny Japanese kids. Classic stuff I say, just like this album. I'm already salivating over the thought of the next one.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Since the Dillinger Escape Plan inhabit a genre all to themselves, it's hardly surprising that Miss Machine isn't a huge leap forward from their last album, Calculating Infinity, despite the five-year gap. So any criticism that the band is merely producing 'more of the same' is pretty redundant.

In fact, Miss Machine does differ from its predecessor in many subtle ways: 'new' singer Greg Puciato has more of an accent to his screams than those of Dimitri Minakakis; the sound is no longer as harsh and relentless as it was on slices of mayhem like The Mullet Burden (from the Under the Running Board EP); and the influence of Mike Patton, as evident on their collaboratory EP Irony is a Dead Scene from a couple of years ago, has been to their creative advantage.

But differences aside, the DEP retain their title as the tightest metal band playing today, their trademark hairpin time changes as surprising and dizzying as ever. (Of course the best way to experience this is live - they have to be seen to be believed.) With Miss Machine, the Dillinger Escape Plan have confounded the sceptics and raised the bar just that little bit higher; just enough to prove they're still the leaders, not followers.

(On a side note, fellow reviewer 'iobrien' misses the point when he/she dismisses the record. Screaming is integral to this genre of music; to write off the DEP for that is kind of like saying Beethoven's music is rubbish because there are too many violins.)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2005
Format: Audio CD
i rarely feel the need to comment about stuff online, but this album was so utterly incredible that i want to balance out against the 1 and 2 star voters. This album is a fantastic fusion of influences and originality. It is a very well conceived piece of work , balancing intense heaviness, technicality, songwriting and really interesting sound design.

buy it now if you like your music heavy and strange.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Will The Dillinger Escape Plan ever cease to amaze? I believe the answer is obvious. Clearly, Miss Machine is unlike their previous releases. I find that to be extremely attractive. Would you rather listen to some sh*t band like Slipknot, and have everyone of their albums sounding the same? and their songs.... pshhhhhhhhhhh. dont get me started. It is extremely heathly for a band to experiment. True, Calculating Infinity was a landmark. When that album hit the shelves, I had never heard anything like that album. Nothing has changed since then.

I like Greg more than Dimitri, and not because the man has arms the size of my f***ing legs. He adds melody, and I think the bands feeds very well off of it. On this album they do crazier stuff than material off of Calculating Infinity, track one, "panasonic youth" case in point. Proving they still are the most talented group of musicians I've ever heard. What's great about this album is when they break into jazzy breaks, they dont have barking, they actually have singing! Case in point, listen to track nine, "babies first coffin".

This album surprised me in a way i can't put into words. i saw these guys live (back in august at the Fireside Bowl in Chicago) right after they put out "Miss Machine", and I'm seeing them again in October in MN. i can't wait. the only way to experience this band fully, is to see them live. a force that you can't put into words. the first words i uttered after the preformance when my shirt was drenched in sweat was, "That was better than Sex".

Dr. :]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I had never heard of The Dillinger Escape Plan before I got this album but I had read some very good reviews about them and I also learned they had collaborated on their previous EP with Mike Patton. So I picked this album not knowing what to expect. My first impression : this album is amazing! This is one of the most complex albums I have ever heard and gives a new meaning to the term Mathcore. While not necessarily hardcore music, The Dillinger have it all in their music. The Faith No More influences are there, especially in the vocals section but worry not, The Dillinger Escape Plan are very original to go off ripping other bands. The album is pretty short in length but each of the songs is so full of ideas that every one of them seems so complete. Give this album a try, since words cannot describe the perfection that lies in it. The Dillinger Escape Plan are leading music to the future!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Mainstream!?!?

Radio Friendly!?!?

Where the F|_|c|< do you live?

This record is full of crazy $hi+ that normal people will NEVER understand or appreciate. Sure there's more singing ["OMG singing, they've sold out!" give me a break!] on this record than their others. Sure there's more mid-tempo stuff on this record than their others. Sure there's quieter parts on this record than their others. And thank God! They're finally showing some range, rather than beating you over the head with a dirty-protractor-with-nails-sticking-out-of-it for 45 minutes. Rest assured there's plenty of math on MM, and plenty of hardcore here too... enough to guarantee this record will never be played on mainstream radio ever. Unless, that is, you live on some F'dup planet where insane-math-core is top 40. If that's the case, tell me where you are, cuz I wanna move there.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Hardcore and metal fans don't always see eye-to-eye, but Dillinger is one of those exceptional bands that people make exceptions for. These metalcore veterans have turned out another masterpiece (with one of the songs therein being featured on a major motion picture soundtrack noless) that is sure to make mincemeat of whatever brain you have left after their last album. New vocalist Greg Puciato adds an amazing depth to a band you could already see no bottom of. Puciato ranges from singing clearly to growling to screaming his deranged brain out. As for the rest of the band, they have again taken their punishing mathcore to new heights. Songs such as "Highway Robbery", "Phone Home", and "Setting Fire to Sleeping Giants" are a little bit untraditional for Dillinger yet incredibly enjoyable. "Crutch Field Tongs" is an odd little bit of ambience and sound effect, something DEP appearently enjoys dabbling in. The rest of the album is the mind-blowing metalcore you've come to expect from these guys, including the alluded-to track "Baby's First Coffin", found on the "Underworld" soundtrack. I certainly don't mean to over-explain the unexplainable DEP or undersell any part of the album-- that would be downright sinful. I just want any listener who is pondering the decision - to buy or not to buy - to know that it's a little odd, even for Dillinger. This album is gripping, from the first note to the last bloodcurdling scream, and I guarantee that any fan of Dillinger will love it.

Just a few side points now: first I want to give my wife, the incredible Mrs. Funk Nuggets, all deserved thanks for suprising me with the gift of this album (the gift of metalcore is the gift that keeps on giving, especially when your wife hates the sound of it and would rather be hit by a radioactive asteroid than have to listen to it, but loves you enough to buy it for you.) Secondly, I'd like to note the obvious - I am a Dillinger fanboy. I reveiwed their previous two albums under the name Wes Straight-Pimpin' and i intend to continue reveiwing their every release. Third, although I love hardcore and some metal, I'm not just about hard music anymore. There was a time when all my friends derided me for enjoying any radio rock, and that is reflected in some of my reveiws. However, my roots are in radio, and at least in my area of the counrty, radio is none too heavy (and if one person says "What about Metallica?" I'll hit them with a shovel in the skull.) It may suprise some hardcore or metal fanboys to learn that some hard music fans are PROUD of the fact that they are well-rounded in their music tastes, but it is true in at least my case. I also happen to like old school rap, anything Beastie Boys, Interpol, alot of pop-punk from a few years ago, some emo and "screamo", Modest Mouse, third wave ska, Johnny Cash, and alot of oddball stuff on public radio. R.E.M. happens to course through my veins, and I've been addicted to Everclear since I first heard them paining the airwaves with "Heroin Girl". If this is shocking, it shouldn't be. It's all part of maturing in your tastes and being true to yourself. If you think that's lame, you've got some self-observations in store. Well, that all. Buy "Miss Machine" by Dillinger Escape Plan. Word to your mother.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
i suppose you've heard quite a few times that this is not Calculating Infinity. I agree completely...but if you expected dillinger, a band notorious for trying to throw you through a loop, to put out the same album, after 5 years of brainstorming, than you missed the point. with that said, on to the album.

its really good, in some places even great...i tend to prefer the older stuff, just because it feels more intense to me, but this is not bad at all, even pleasing to a big fan like myself. Greg is a great vocalist too. What strikes me about greg is, as you can see from the DVD, or if you have had the chance to catch them live (ive seen em twice and i am holding a ticket for an upcoming show on their new tour), he can do all their stuff: he can be just as crazy as dimitri on mullet burden or sugar coated sour, he can do when good dogs do bad things, even catching that "here kitty kitty kitty kitty," stuff that i thought was computer trickery until i heard greg do it live, and he is great on the new stuff...point being, he is a very talented man. It seems to me that DEP definitely took steps to make a different record, but managed to maintain some of the elements that make them DEP.

Panasonic Youth - Awesome opener, this is what got me so excited about the new cd when i heard it...that intergalactic sounding part in the middle is mindblowing. It really sets the bar quite high. (5/5)

Sunshine the Warewolf - really neat song, and i love the epic sound of the part when it slows down and builds to a crescendo. When i saw them at hellfest, this part (i hadnt heard the cd yet at that point) stood out to me in all the unfamiliar new songs. (5/5)

Highway Robbery - Doesnt drive me crazy. Its not a terrible song, it is just too poppy. I know ill sound really goth saying this, but i dont really like happy goofy stuff. I am more about intensity, not sadness. The chorus is catchy as hell though. What really gets me about this song is that awesome slow part just before the last chorus, it is very radioheady...and i love it. That is my favorite of the new changes that DEP has done, more developed, ambient-like calm parts. (4/5)

Van Damsel - More insanity...nothing new for dillinger. There is no definite memories that pop to mind when thinking of this song. Pretty cool though. (4/5)

Phone Home - not my cup of tea. I dont like industrial (unless we are talking about big black)...the song doesnt go anywhere for me. Even in the end, you are expecting complete chaos, which would have partially saved the song for me, but it is just more drudging stuff. Listen to it one time to know whats going on and that is all you need. I can respect that they want to make a change in their music, but this is to me pretty skipable. (2/5)

We are the Storm - Awesome track...another cool slow part in this, and that main riff tears you up. In that slow part, when greg is singing "we are the storm..." it is so beautiful, and it really shows how fantastic of a singer he is and the kind of stuff that DEP can do now that they couldnt do with Dimitri. (5/5)

Crutch Field Tongs - It is beyond me why they put this on, complete filler...maybe if they added it to the end of another song it would be ok, but it is a complete track with a fade out. All it does is damage the flow of the album. (1/5)

Setting Fire to Sleeping Giants - I like it. It is catchy, but it is still intense. Greg sounds EXACTLY like Iggy Pop on the verses, it is creepy, i dont know if that was his intention. When they get to "Tonight!" and the guitars start getting really dissonant and choatic, it is pretty awesome...it is violent, off-time stuff like that that would have saved Phone Home, and could have helped Unretrofied...amazing what a sense of climax can do. (4/5)

Baby's First Coffin - A real showcase of Greg's vocals. Amazing song, i like it more in the contex of the album than when i heard it separately a few months ago...classic. (5/5)

Unretrofied - Terrible. The most unpredictable thing DEP has done is to put out a completely 'normal' track. I really hate this song, not intense at all. I know some people are going to say that i am close minded because i dont like this track, but it is just not a good song, and i wouldnt like it if another band did it either. (0/5)

Perfect Design - funny that they should follow up their career low with an alltime high...this song is mindblowing. Completely awesome. (5/5)

All in all, DEP has used more melodies, which works on some songs really well, more 4/4 timings, less grind, more basic and normal song structures, but manage to be unmistakably Dillinger. Even when i say normal, in the context of dillinger, it is still a few miles ahead. A really good album from a really great band that is still evolving. recommended, though after Calculating Infinity.
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