We’re happy to say Destrage is one of those bands who made it. They had the strength and the creativity to deliver an artistic proposal really worth being defined as unique, innovative, and experimental in a country (Italy, my home country) known to repress, isolate, and conform most of those who ever tried doing something different in any way. And with an “alternative music” scene that has hardly proven itself to give any quality bands worthy recognition, this is really saying something. Even when the pure effort required to keep up with such a project might look like a waste of time and talent in a place like this, they kept on going and even went beyond. They’ve become the only Italian metal act I can remember emerging from the underground gaining a consistent worldwide audience.
Because, you know, if a band is not American, English, Canadian or Australian, they need to gain a solid fan base in their country before they can really export their art with decent recognition. This is something that happens automatically in countries with an established metal community if the band is worth it, but not here. That’s why we have some really good bands in Italy but only some of them manage to get signed by high end international labels (Nero Di Marte, Damned Spring Fragrantia, and Lies of Nazca just to state the most recent ones…). But even for them it’s really hard to be considered or noticed in the same way similar bands from France, Germany, or other countries do. And that happens because Italy does not have a scene strong (or simply big) enough to give them that minimum local support. The kind of support that is necessary for all the other bands.
Things were different for Destrage, because even in a small scene like ours, they managed to build a solid, local fan base. Or at least big enough to get by and get worthy recognition from everyone after being signed to Metal Blade Records.
This album is an uprising. It’s exactly what proves that they DESERVED that contract and that fan base. They really did something out of the ordinary here. “Are You Kidding Me? No.” is a musical proposal that’s capable of being highbrow, refined, technical, elegant and brilliant but accessible at the same time. It’s ironic in its unusual approach on modern metal. It packs in intelligence and beauty, originality and fun.
It has QUALITY in abundance. This band proves that only products with real quality manage to emerge in the right way. And even if it managed to emerge in the right way from another country, it must have something worth a listen or two.
Especially if you’re one of our usual readers, you cannot miss this release. And I’m not overstating this if I tell you that Destrage is the probable heir of acts such as SikTh, Protest The Hero, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Psyopus or Every Time I Die. A small audience had already been counting on this when they heard Destrage’s second album “The King is Fat n Old”. That was a delightful sophomore album which can be considered the perfect prelude for what was coming…
“Are You Kidding Me? No.” is an album that really went beyond the brightest expectations, even of every devoted fan, myself included. It’s an album in which the band enforced and effectively placed all their skill, both technical and creative. This is the best album this band could have made, and it is likely to become your musical surprise of the year (assuming you listen).
Going through the individual songs would be a useless venture since they’re all diverse and amazing in their own right, barely perfect in some cases. This review is already long enough and it has already reached its goal of generating some interest in this album / band.
Really, if you’re a fan of the bands mentioned above and you love mathcore / progressive metal and genre mash-ups, this album will blow your mind if you give it a chance. Hopefully you’ll also be lucky enough to witness how good this band is on stage, and enjoy them at their best. Check the tracks above and buy “Are You Kidding Me? No.” right HERE!
By the way, about what I said above: I’m not blindly throwing shit on the Italian metal scene / audience. At the same time, I’m probably less patriotic than the average person you’ll meet. But the point is that the Italian scene has the same problems and shitty trends of every other scene in the world, it’s just smaller. But the fault is not (only) of its members, it’s mainly a systematic sort of cultural problem, diffused worldwide but substantially suffered in Italy. I’m sure some of this album’s lyrics are about this fact too.