Our top 10 The Dillinger Escape Plan songs introduce us to an American band famed for its metalcore sound. Initially, The Dillinger Escape Plan surfaced as a hardcore punk band under the moniker Arcane in 1996. Arcane was regarded by many as an aggressive political-oriented act. It only took the band a few months to get tired of trying to become part of a clique and penning down music that would fit their theme. After all, this would demand a lot of creativity in a niche that had the band fight for relevance since not at all time will people resonate with political matters.
A lineup change happened with bassist Bruce Fulton and vocalist Brad McMahon leaving drummer Chris Pennie, guitarist Ben Weinman, and vocalist Dimitri Minakakis to rejuvenate the band’s ethos and purpose. Upon their departure of the two members, the band tagged in bassist Adam Roll and guitarist Derek Brantley to its new dream. Before changing their name from Arcane, the band had its first yet last live performance as a support act for Overcast. The band members would later remain nameless for some duration only to go under the name The Dillinger Escape Plan. Inspiration to the new name was drawn from a documentary featuring John Dillinger, a bank robber famed for his multiple jail escapes. The inspiration might feel a little weird for a band’s name but probably a way to notify people how they would ‘steal the show’ in the metalcore music genre and get away with it (Pun intended).
The answer to the question of whether they made it to the top-tier metalcore bands is relative. However, we all agree that our top 10 The Dillinger Escape Plan songs feature the best maniacally intense and crushingly metallic vibes from this award-winning band. Even more amazing is the fact that the band was able to maintain its metal trademark vibe despite lineup changes that only left guitarist Ben Weinman as the only original member of The Dillinger Escape Plan. Like The Ghost Inside, The Dillinger Escape Plan was involved in a vehicle crash in 2017 even though the members were not gravely hurt. The Dillinger Escape Plan would, in the same year, disband, leaving us six studio albums to serve as a souvenir for their idiosyncratic musical style.
#10 – Farewell, Mona Lisa
Ushering us to the top 10 The Dillinger Escape Plan is the hit “Farewell, Mona Lisa.” The song is featured as the first single in the band’s album Option Paralysis. Liam Wilson of The Dillinger Escape Plan explained that the band made the song their first choice since the song served as a Cliffs Notes-type ballad. The song distills a piece of every The Dillinger Escape Plan release while interlinking a prefatory appetizer of darker and sinister themes the band features in the rest of the album.
#9 – Limerent Death
“Limerent Death” is the lead single of the band’s sixth and final studio album, Dissociation. Amazingly, Greg Puciato’s entire end vocal part of the song was recorded within a single take. Greg went on to reveal that he wished to ramp up the intensity of the song in a natural way capturing the feeling of somebody escalating into an incredible frenzy. The song serves as one of Greg’s favorite vocal performances.
#8 – Setting Fire to Sleeping Giants
The hit “Setting Fire to Sleeping Giants” is one of the best The Dillinger Escape Plan songs written by guitarist Ben Weinman. “Setting Fire to Sleeping Giants” is featured in the band’s sophomore album, Miss Machine. Like most of the songs in the album, this hit takes on some avant-garde metal vibes. The song starts as a fairly easy song with repetitive guitar riffs only to pick up some pace and a unique difficult-to-master guitar solo as it approaches culmination.
#7 – Happiness is A Smile
“Happiness is A Smile” has The Dillinger Escape Plan take on some math rock vibes. Listening to the song will make you wonder why The Dillinger Escape Plan penned down one of its best songs and never released it on an album. The song proves to be one of the band’s best releases thanks to unique Greg’s voice, striking guitar riffs, and magnificent drumming. “Happiness is A Smile” also brings on extra power to the band’s performance, making it a heartfelt and energetic hit.
#6 – Nothing’s Funny
Number six in our top 10 The Dillinger Escape Plan songs is the metalcore ballad “Nothing’s Funny.” The song was written by guitarist Ben Weinman and vocalist Greg Puciato for release in the band’s 2013 album, One of Us Is the Killer. “Nothing’s Funny” features off-time grooves and catchy choruses delivered in Greg’s most dynamic vocal work of the decade.
#5 – When I Lost My Bet
Yet again, guitarist Ben Weinman collaborated with vocalist Greg Puciato in writing the song “When I Lost My Bet.” The song lyrics reference living in LA and watching people transform from humans to opportunists. Sadly, people have dwelt much on who they know and being around some type of success rather than chasing their own path. “When I Lost My Bet” serves as a response to the all-time opportunistic nature of people, as revealed by vocalist Greg.
#4 – Black Bubblegum
Thanks to its consistent and golden releases, Ire Works (2007) helped The Dillinger Escape Plan maintain a comfortable spot in the extreme music world. One of the iconic songs from the album is “Black Bubblegum,” written by Ben Weinman and Greg Puciato. The song is famed for its churning and abrasive bridge and startling falsettos.
#3 – Paranoid Shields
Released on the band’s, “Paranoid Shields” is one of the best The Dillinger Escape Plan songs from the band’s album One of Us Is the Killer. The song finds Greg singing in a chilling indictment to a former lover. “Paranoid Shields” features an instrumental that is quite similar to one in “Setting Fore to Sleeping Giants” before it winds back to the final chorus.
#2 – One of Us is The Killer
“One of Us is the Killer” is the title track to The Dillinger Escape Plan’s fifth album. Vocalist Greg Puciato revealed in an interview that the song is about getting dragged into other people’s teething troubles. He used a practical example of how people think of fixing damaged relationships as a noble pursuit, only to find it a self-destructive activity with much time and energy lost. We are all responsible for our happiness so let people handle their issues as you handle yours!
#1 – Milk Lizard
Number one on our top 10 The Dillinger Escape Plan songs is the hit “Milk Lizard.” Would you imagine an artist saying that he doesn’t really remember much of what he was dealing with when he wrote a song? Well, that was vocalist Greg eight years after the song’s release on an interview. Probably, this was just a perfect way to leave the song’s interpretations open for everyone and not ruin perceptions people held about the song. Nevertheless, “Milk Lizard” appears to be the best The Dillinger Escape Plan song of all time on our list.
Feature Photo: Itokyl, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Top 10 Dillinger Escape Plan Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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