56. The Dillinger Escape Plan, 'Calculating Infinity' (1999)
Rock bands had been experimenting with unconventional rhythms for decades – see: King Crimson's Larks' Tongues in Aspic (1973), to cite just one example – but it never added up to a movement until the Dillinger Escape Plan released Calculating Infinity. Maybe that's because nobody had ever pushed the idea to such extremes before. "Calculating Infinity was us effectively ripping up the music theory book," guitarist Ben Weinman told The Independent. "It sounded disgusting, but we did it, and maybe we finally took that to the nth degree with this album." But the album's greatness didn't just stem from the lurching, spasming rhythms, or the disjointed harmonies, or the way Weinman's guitar sometimes sounded like a circular saw cutting steel. There was an underlying logic, a sense of structure that lifted songs like the cathartic, improbably catchy "43% Burnt" to a realm above the noise and fury of everyday hardcore. Adherents called it "mathcore," a nod to the music's constantly changing time signatures. Yet however much Calculating Infinity defined that movement, the movement never defined the Dillinger Escape Plan, as the band continued to alter strategies and subvert music theory right up through last year's farewell effort, Dissociation. J.D.C.