Miss Machine (Relapse), the first full-length in five years from New Jersey’s Dillinger Escape Plan, opens with the sort of stuff that’s led both fans and detractors to label the band “math metal”–brutally fast, meticulously executed amelodic cacophony that skips between time signatures the way a Formula One driver shifts gears. New vocalist Greg Puciato even matches the wild throat-shredding screams, low-end growls, and staccato barks of original singer Dimitri Minakakis, who left amicably in 2001. But from the second track on it’s clear the band has a new MO: the tempo sometimes slows to something approximating a normal heartbeat, here and there the itchy, busy guitars of Ben Weinman and Brian Benoit retreat into gentle atmospheric plinking, and at one point synthetic strings waft across the burned-out landscape. There are even moody melodies, vocal harmonies, and (gasp) a touch of piano. Working on the 2002 EP Irony Is a Dead Scene (Epitaph), a one-off collaboration with Mr. Bungle’s Mike Patton, seems to have liberated the band to explore its avowed love of Nine Inch Nails. I know, I winced when I heard that too, but no one’s going to confuse the two groups. DEP may have added new elements to its labyrinthine matrix of sound, but it hasn’t subtracted anything–and the quiet, spacious bits actually give the sledgehammer riffs, tricky meters, and breakneck guitar interplay added power. The Bronx and Planes Mistaken for Stars open both nights; on Saturday the first band is Decahedron, and on Sunday it’s Read Yellow. $12, all ages. Saturday and Sunday, July 31 and August 1, 5 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700 or 800-594-8499.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/J. Hubbard.