Man Overboard, Such Gold, more on 15 years of the Dillinger Escape Plan’s ‘Calculating Infinity’

September 26, 2014 by Colin McGuire

Man Overboard, Such Gold, more on 15 years of the Dillinger Escape Plan’s ‘Calculating Infinity’

In a lot of ways, the Dillinger Escape Plan's Calculating Infinity may never outgrow its own legend. The only full-length the band ever recorded with founding member Dimitri Minakakis, it stands today as one of the most influential collections of experimental metal the genre has seen in the last two decades. On its 15-year anniversary (September 28, 2014), Alternative Press caught up with members of Hawthorne Heights, Such Gold and Man Overboard, among others, to reflect on the album's influence on musicians, its legacy within the genre, and the lasting impact it has on popular music today.

 

Man Overboard"The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Calculating Infinity was one of first records that introduced me to technical or ‘mathcore’ music, in general. Being a drummer and seeing as how the band originated from New Jersey, north of my own, it was mind-blowing that a band so close could create a sound so hectic. Hearing the ability that Chris Pennie showed behind his kit, as well as the extreme skill Ben Weinman had while coinciding his guitar writing perfectly with Pennie’s drum parts was nothing short of influential. Though it was Dimitri Minakakis’ last appearance as the vocalist in the Dillinger Escape Plan (apart from guest vocals), he set the tone for the band as frontman. Even today, listening back still gives me the ambition to learn more behind drums and/or guitar and the drive to write without restriction."Joe Talarico, Man Overboard

Night Verses"It was a captivating new approach to heavy. Every member's contributions were distinctly unique and the spastic balance of 'tasteful' and 'tasteless' kept me intrigued from beginning to end. There was just so much to pay attention to, so many levels and layers. You couldn't get it all within four or five listens, you had to play it over and over. By the 40th time, you'd just barely start to feel slightly comfortable. It gave me a soundtrack for a side of my emotions that no other artist had been able to tap into yet. It was as artistic as it was punk-rock and there was nothing to compete with it. It was its own and that is what made it so exciting. It holds up musically. The only thing that feels dated are the tones, but I like that about the record, it feels very human. I know it’s heavily appreciated by the people that were listening to it at the time, but I don't think a lot of young musicians have made the effort to go that far back into their catalog. Dillinger have done such a good job of maintaining their sound/integrity over the years, so I think most people are satisfied listening to their new albums. It’s never like when someone talks about a band and says, 'Oh their old stuff was way better.' It was awesome! But so is their new stuff, so I think it just depends on what era you started listening.”Aric Improta, Night Verses

Little Envy"I was nine years old when the record came out and didn't get into it until I was on my way out of high school. Having been listening to bands like Norma Jean, the Chariot, See You Next Tuesday, etc., and then discovering the Dillinger Escape Plan afterwards was eye-opening to me, because they emerged onto the scene years before those bands. They are the influencers of the technical hardcore bands I was listening to in high school and that's inspiring. The drumming on Calculating Infinity was very influential to me, as I used to play drums in several hardcore/metal bands. One band in particular, Five Characters In Search Of An Exit, was greatly influenced by Calculating Infinity. No part is the same. There isn't a chord structure to the songs. It's super raw and that's a beautiful thing. I don't think it's appreciated enough. Perhaps it is by musicians, but not by music fans, overall. You can see this by looking at YouTube views alone. I think it's a timeless record."Joseph de los Reyes, Little Envy

Hawthorne Heights"Calculating Infinity was my first introduction to a whole new level of heavy music. I was growing up in a small town, St. Marys, West Virginia, and had driven up to a show in Pittsburgh. DEP were the direct support, and I can't remember who the headliner was—if that tells you the impression their music had on me. I remember buying their classic 'tubes' shirt before they had finished their first song. The energy and passion was on display in the form of discordance and new rhythms. I was hooked—and still am."JT Woodruff, Hawthorne Heights

My Fictions"In my opinion, Calculating Infinity and the Dillinger Escape Plan as a band are like the perfect embodiment of aggressive music. It's chaotic and abrasive, but still executed with such precision and musicianship. The album was a total game changer."Seamus Menihane, My Fictions

Cursed Sails"I didn't discover this album until about 2004, seeing how I was only 9 years old when it came out. I didn't fully comprehend the technicality of the music at that age, but I was drawn in by the nonstop, in-your-face aggression. I could only describe this album as the ramblings of a musical genius. Stop-and-go, brutal riffs broken up by spastic fits of jazzy noodling that all somehow came together in a cohesive way. It was unlike anything I had ever heard before and yet I couldn't get enough of it. To this day, the Dillinger Escape Plan inspire me to be a better musician and push the boundaries of music. This is definitely a band and album that I will always love and respect."Brent Guistwite, Cursed Sails

The Saddest Landscape"It sounds silly, but as a player, that album made practicing cool. It made being really good and thoughtful with your instrument cool. It wasn't just about aggression and banging away. It really just kind of changed the way I played my instrument. Up until that point, if you played heavy music, people laughed at you. But when that album came out, a lot of people realized, 'Well, wait a second. You can bring talent to the genre.' They played everyone under the table. It was the dawning of a new era with really aggressive music. From then, it was like, it's cool for me to know what I'm doing and be able to play my instrument."Aaron Neigher, The Saddest Landscape

Such Gold"It felt great to listen to those songs over and over until I could figure out what the hell was going on. It definitely sparked my interest for music that confuses people. Those songs made me want to learn how to write riffs that weren't all in major keys and it made me want to learn how to play to crazy rhythms. I think this record will always be great.  I think this record and this band in general are underappreciated. Most people look for anything to grab onto in music that they can easily remember or understand, and if the music is so advanced that they can't do that, then they probably will turn away from it."Ben Kotin, Such Gold

Tags

man overboard such gold hawthorne heights the dillinger escape plan night verses anniversary little envy

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