Dillinger Escape Plan's Greg Puciato Talks About the Power of Vulnerability in Metal

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It’s always bittersweet to see a band unexpectedly hang it up at the height of their game and call it quits prematurely, but sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise.

Metal’s most chaotic act, the Dillinger Escape Plan, doesn’t want to be that band who makes the subpar record fans despise. Even more importantly, they don’t want to kill each other, and that’s why they have decided to bow out gracefully and go on hiatus at the end of their current touring cycle.

“It was just kind of in the air, and in the past three or four years, we all kind of have grown exponentially as people outside of the band, and [there were] a lot of things we were overcoming as a band [that] we overcame,” explains singer Greg Puciato.

“There are times in the past where we would have broken up out of animosity or broken up because we couldn’t get along or we were just not seeing eye to eye,” Puciato says. “For whatever reason, now that we’re getting along better than ever and we’ve overcome those things, it seems like a perfect time to break up.” 

Individual growth and artistic change are inevitable when you’ve been in the same creative environment for so many years, but sometimes tensions in a band can be a breaking point, which almost led to their demise while making 2013’s One of Us is the Killer.

“That record title is the awareness that all of us is that one person who is poisoning the vibe,” Puciato says. “We hit the point where all the toxic side effects of that were really inescapable, and over the last few years, we worked through it all, and around the time we were really getting it under control, it just really seemed to make sense to do this. Artistically, I feel it’s way more interesting. To give a defined end and having control over that is, to me, a lot stronger than dragging shit out like a miniseries that someone is just hoping gets renewed every season till people lose interest.”

Their final effort, Dissociation, is anything but forgettable, a very focused parting gift that will cement their legacy as game-changers in the metal genre. The album takes the listener on the schizophrenic roller coaster you’d expect at times. But what really sets the record apart from their previous releases is the construction of the songs and Puciato’s vocal approach on tracks like “Symptom of Terminal Illness” and “Limerent Death,” where underneath the buzz-saw guitar riffs, the singer’s exposed lyrics show a more human element that your typical metal record.

Puciato feels like the new record is as good as anything the band has ever put out.

“I think this is our best record since Calculating Infinity, and this is more of an album than a collection of songs. When you’re young, you’re really aggressive and you’re pointing the finger at everyone saying ‘Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you,’ and you’re just mad at everyone. Then at some point in time, I feel that power comes from vulnerability as you get older.

“Between the last Dillinger record and now, I’ve had major life implosions, I’ve probably spent $5,000 in therapy. I fucking put out that Black Queen Fever Daydream record, which was intensely vulnerable for me to do because it’s a really delicate record vocally and emotionally, which was terrifying to do. So when that came out, it was a giant breath of fresh air for me. It made me approach the Dillinger record with the confidence to be really vulnerable. I’m fucking human and life’s kicked my ass, too, and I’m not afraid to put that out there.”

Dillinger Escape Plan is scheduled to play Marquee Theatre in Tempe on Monday, October 31.

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