Ayo Jegede
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July 06, 2004
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Rock Music Reviews
Dillinger Escape Plan
Irony is a Dead Scene

Ken Jennings has, thus far, amassed an unfathomable winning streak, an enviable place in the history books of all game shows, and a war chest of over $750K. i've observed the man in action and his performance is something of a marvel. his internal thoughts are undisclosed thanks to a somewhat stolid, somewhat affable outer appearance; his smile disarms his otherwise irate opponents and his chipper, sober attitude--laced with humility--befriends even Trebek, who openly wished that Charleze Theron would take Ken's place if only to have a better face to look at.

"I'll take Major Dorks of the 21st Century, Alex."
"This dork broke every record on this show, save for the highest one day total."
"Who is Ken Jennings?"

what you don't know about Ken Jennings, a 30 year-old software engineer from Utah, is that he's a graduate of Brigham Young University--that bastion of academic and theological rectitude--who recently completed his missionary work. now, Mormonism is one of the most risible religions i know of and is still believed to be highly cultish. beliefs of his cool genius were dashed once i learned this and though it doesn't detract from his performance, it sure as hell doesn't make him look any cooler. and this begs a question: are dorkiness and brilliance causally linked? seriously. do socially inept men get all the dough?

take The Dillinger Escape Plan and Mike Patton, an incredibly dorky lot who just happened to make probably one of the best EPs that i've ever had the fortune of buying: Irony is a Dead Scene. recorded while DEP was searching for a new lead singer, this is nothing short of fucking brilliant. but, let's be sure: Patton's a goddamn dork. besides starting his own label, Ipecac, he fervently plays video games--including updates on some web pages--and almost named Fantomas's last album Shaq Ownz You instead of Delirium Cordia, an immoderate tribute to the L.A. Lakers, his favorite basketball team. part of him is a 15-year old thick-rimmed sack of peanuts packed into a menacing, working, artistically gifted exorcist of shitty music.

Irony is a Dead Scene is the sound of universes collapsing on themselves, babies with AK-47s, and the death knoll for those with timid ears and any sensibilities. i won't say it's Patton and DEP unhinged, but rather the fusion of two explosive elements that create a Metal furor so great that it threatens to implode ... but never ever does. the aggro never throttles and neither does the sheer size of it all. each song contains layers that are almost orchestral, seen in both 'When Good Dogs Do Bad Things' and 'Hollywood Squares,' both sounding twice as long as they should be.

also included is a very well-executed cover of Aphex Twin's hit, 'Come To Daddy.' the song is a fitting close to such an accomplishment; its translation into Patton-speak was inevitable and long overdue. in the end Patton and bands like Dillinger Escape Plan are going to be heroes of music. after all, if Faith No More hadn't existed then much of the now trite rap-rock wouldn't have existed and if it weren't for DEP, Hardcore would have missed a crucial dimension. these guys are dorks, but they're also one of the best things to happen to music in general.

Ken Jennings, i salute your dorkiness!

Release date: August 27, 2002
Label: Epitaph / Ada
Rating: 10.0 / 10

[RMR]