Published Mar 25, 2010Catharsis has spurred artists to create for centuries. Many of history's most sublime works are the direct result of an effort to purge spiritual or mental demons. In the case of New Jersey's premiere progressive tech-metal brigade the Dillinger Escape Plan, cerebral expurgation for creativity's sake has proven to be a Pandora's Box. While fourth full-length Option Paralysis is their boldest, most experimental effort to date, it has also forced vocalist Greg Puciato into unforeseen depths of despair.
"This is the toughest ― and not to sound cheesy ― but darkest album we've written," he sighs. "It was the first time I've written where I felt like it was personal to the point of effecting my life outside of writing. The way I write lyrics is free association. I just start writing and have no idea what [it's] about. Then somewhere along the line, I realize what I'm unearthing. You're peeling back layers of yourself, what's happening in your subconscious."
This psychological exfoliation resulted in some monumental moments and wicked one-liners on Option Paralysis, but Puciato didn't like what he saw. As band-mates Ben Weinman and Jeff Tuttle (guitars), Liam Wilson (bass) and Billy Rymer (drums) walked away proud and confident, he wound up devastated. "When you write, some people steer the lyrics. I think it was the other way around and they started doing that to me," he admits. "You end up uncovering things you may not be addressing in your conscious life. The problem was that I couldn't ignore what had come out and hadn't been dealing with. It caused me to fall into a depression. We wrote the record four or five months ago but I'm only now starting to pull out of it."
Puciato declines to divulge his woe, preferring to keep it personal while also leaving interpretation to listeners. Still, he readily admits that such a situation has only now arisen with a DEP release due to, of all things, aging and its intensified responsibilities. "[Depression] was never a problem before but back then I didn't have enough to draw on. When you're young, you're full of piss'n'venom but there's not much to have piss'n'venom about. You have rage coursing through you that you need to expel. When you live a bit, then you build a snowball of shit to deal with."
Now that the quintet is out supporting Option Paralysis instead of scrutinizing it, Puciato notes that a new form of catharsis ― the adrenaline of a live gig ― is assisting his state of mind. And as fans witness his nightly cleansing while hearing new tunes, they quickly realize that this is the band's most enterprising album, both sonically and thematically. However, he cautions that because of its passion and explosiveness, Option Paralysis may seem mired in the acrimony that defined earlier DEP efforts but from his point of view, that's not the case.
"I can't tell [if issues are resolved]. The depression comes and goes so all I can tell is that it's better than it was from the time I started writing until about a month ago but I'm not 'angry.' Anger is a childish expression of a deeper emotion you're having frustration with getting out, so I don't feel as angry as I did years ago. People see us and say, 'Man, those guys are so pissed!' I don't feel pissed so much as it's other things manifesting themselves as violent energy. When I think of pissed," he smirks, "I think of Limp Bizkit and I'd prefer to never think of that again."