The first time I ever saw this band live was also the first time that I ever heard them. September 27th, 2005, I was at a local show here in Lancaster, CA and ran into a friend that I hadn't seen in quite a while.
After catching up, he asked who I was there to see and I responded with "Unearth." He nodded sagely and said, "Right on, man. Just make sure you don't miss Dillinger." I had heard the name a few times but still hadn't heard them. Something about the crazed look on his face when warning me not to miss them made me make a mental note, marked "High Priority"...
When they were ready to get started, I found a good spot in the front row and settled in. They opened with this:
To this day, I don't know how I kept my face from melting off. Not only was their stage presence like a nuclear bomb going off, their music was the most intense, technically proficient, skull-crushingly brutal and refreshingly original stuff I had ever heard. I was instantly a convert and judging by the slack jawed faces of others in the crowd that night, I was certainly not the only one.
"I like to approach singing the way a guy like Daniel Day Lewis approaches acting. You’ve gotta really fucking think about what you’re singing about and get that emotion fresh again in your brain. Be pissed as if you’re screaming. If you were fucking yelling at your friend or fighting with your girlfriend. You wouldn’t be standing still with your hands at your sides and screaming at the top of your lungs."- Greg Puciato
This is exactly how I've always felt in regards to being a metal vocalist, or any kind of vocalist really. The best singers can rip open emotional scars at will and share that experience with you, or open up their heart and show you their love, the way Otis Redding could.
When Greg opens up, he really bares his soul and shows you just how pissed off he is, or just how vulnerable he can be. Whether he's shredding his vocal chords or singing a beautiful melody, this guy is arguably one of the best vocalists music has ever heard. And needless to say, he has the stage presence of a wild animal, set free of its' cage for a little while.
The Dillinger Escape Plan as a whole, are without a doubt, one of the most groundbreaking and talented acts to hit the extreme music world.
Their range of style, technique and sheer disregard for things as seemingly trivial as genre, tradition or even theory go a long way towards creating their truly unique sound. All of that coupled with a truly amazing live performance makes DEP one of the most explosive acts you will ever experience. No hyperbole here.
And with a new album getting ready to drop, you can rest assured that we haven't heard the last of these crazy bastards.
If you've never listened to the Dillinger Escape Plan, any attempt I could make at accurately trying to describe it would be useless. Instead, here's a sampling of my favorite DEP tracks. Enjoy.