Owned since: 2011
Genre: The Dillinger Escape Plan With Mike Patton-ish
Where I bought it: Some record store that didn’t know what to do with their metal records
Label/pressing: Epitaph on Cola vinyl, reissue from the Buddyhead original
Sloot, I’m so sorry for this but this needed to happen [Ed.: You’re sorry? I’m sorry I agreed to this]. This is a perfect way to open this Crate Skimmers. Because fucking hell, this is my youth people. The Dillinger Escape Plan pre-Ire Works with Mike Patton in his most cartoon hell duck mode and it was originally co-released by Buddyhead! In case you didn’t notice from nearly 36 of these entries, I like me some abrasive rock music, really did from the start when I got into rock music in general. Never cared much for the Zappa side of things of being abrasive but weird 00’s screamo, noise rock and the the more hardcore based metalcore is/was my bible pretty much. Which, well, led to 14-ish year old me discovering Buddyhead which then was still a music site which could be best explained as a bunch of drugged up 20-somethings talking shit, while also having a love for great rock music. Most of the time how the more abrasive and noisy, the better; Icarus Line and later (troubled) Nine Inch Nails guitarist Aaron North was one of its head contributors.
Buddyhead really bursts with a lot of 00’s asshole behavior that later came back very mildly in sites like Hipster Runoff. Stealing Fred Durst’s red baseball caps from Interscope’s office, endless clowning on popular rock bands and some real shitty punk behavior were the main play here. When I became aware of it around 2005, it was already dying down a little bit after the big hype just before it but it was far from gone yet. It was a place for a bunch of pretentious asshole to talk shit about bands they disliked and talk up the ones they loved. Bands like Blood Brothers, the Icarus Line (duh) and Future of the Left came to mind even though they really didn’t only stick to abrasive rock music. The writing for sure always was acid drenched in the best and worst way. Here is a bit from the internet archive I pulled that is semi-ok for posting here and even then I needed to edit that
Black Rebel Motorcycle got dropped on their heads like a ****** baby by Virgin Music. Turns out Virgin didn’t think they were selling enough records here in the states. Bummer dudes… maybe if you jack another Spiritualized riff you can get signed somewhere else?
I’m glad music journalism moved on, but I also missed the times it was, well, this kind of bad nonsense. Both had their positives and negatives, for the literal 20 times Buddyhead rebooted I guess it had more negatives. You can shout high school insults at people for a good decade but after a while people will notice your punk act and it just becomes a bit tired and lame. Like a lot of the edgy covers/lyrics of bands they covered that were beloved in the 00’s. But it’s also stuff I grew up on musically and on the Internet which, well, never really disappeared from punk infested corners to these days. Earon Turner kinda just vanished off the earth after his NIN adventure and founder Travis Keller tried to reboot, well, so many times.
Irony is a Dead Scene was released on the Buddyhead record label in a deal with Epitaph. A label that beside classic various artists discs never really put out anything worthwhile after that beside maybe Turner’s great Jubilee 7-inch, Ink & Dagger and a Murder City Devils record. It fits the site’s love for extreme metal and ironic tryhard humor quite well.
It’s an unlikely but also fitting collab between famed weirdo Mike Patton and future math/metalcore legends The Dillinger Escape Plan sans singer. Original vocalist Dimitri Minakakis quit after the one pretty groundbreaking EP and record which led to the band kind of sitting around till they found Greg Puciato the same year this EP was released. Still when this was released, the band was already touring for nearly a year with Puciato but it was still a neat novelty.
Honestly, a novelty this isn’t. 20 minutes of pure mayhem that is a bit more toned down than the band’s previous full length Calculating Infinity, but still feels like they’re breaking their neck over guitar riffs. It lacks the cleanliness in sound their follow up, Miss Machine, would have but makes up for it by sounding pretty much like demented cartoon music. There is literally no second of rest here and Patton brings his A game demon vocals which are barely heard outside his weirdo jazz band Moonchild or Fantomas.
Absolute highlight of this are the opening track Hollywood Squares, which starts with no build-up but bursts head-on in a full assault of Patton yelling and near free jazz levels of guitar playing by the band. Also of course it’s biggest track; that fucking Aphex Twin cover. Absolute brilliant gutter vocals by Patton on that and the mechanical guitar work of Escape Plan comes extremely close to the original song’s tone but still keeping it extremely unique. It just clearly includes a lot of influences from Patton’s Fantomas project on the other tracks, which is also great really, making it lack a bit of its own face.
I’m so glad this clocks just under 20 minutes because, honestly, any longer this would be insufferable but at the EP length this is a goddamn ride of sheer abrasiveness. Dillinger Escape Plan followed this up with the excellent Miss Machine and after that I mostly dropped off after the dreadful Ire Works. Did see them live most of the time they came through the Netherlands, because boy they were a great live show. Patton was busy with Tomahawk and Fantomes at the time but later reunited Faith No More for a still ongoing ‘reunion tour’
Buddyhead is a label nowadays mostly or a digital portal for projects. It’s for sure not the shit-talking site of rock music, which sucks but hey it’s also a massive 00’s relic. Kinda like this record, except it is also extremely good.