Just because we can… Here’s a second review for Destrage’s incredible album “Are you Kidding Me? No.”
There have been occasions where I have a healthy list of complaints about anything I sit down to review which finally materializes in the form of one or two fine-tuned points. Who would have known that the one album where I sing nothing but praises is the one which I have been anticipating for months now: The simple joys of everything being right with a most anticipated album!
Hailing from Italy, Destrage have been flying under the radar for 2 full length album’s now. Sustaining the tumultuous task of retaining the band’s sound even in the effort to permeate the crème d’ la’ crème is what old followers of the band’s body of work will notice. The essential elements are the same as those on “The King Is Fat ‘N’ Old”, the very same ones that pricked the ears of yours truly. Right off the bat, the listener should glean this much that each track on “AYKMN” is a multi-layered Frankenstein’s monster, waiting to wreak havoc on the ears of the uninitiated. Hiding a jazzy, sombre and melodic side under 50 shades of crazy influences pulled from Groove Metal to Neo-Classical, Destrage packs enough hooks, breakdowns and good moments for the critical, no holds barred and newcomers to the bands camp. While “Destroy Create Transform Sublimate” and “Purania” uphold the fast-paced Groove-oriented mosh anthems the band’s body of work boasts off, by the time you get used to the innumerable shifts in dynamics “G.O.D.” pushes the button on the blender and puts it to the max. Making wisely poisitioned use of sampled drums and effects, the band pulls of another out-of-the-box composition for the listener to feast their ears on. The band soon ditches the Math-influenced candour in favour of the more accessible Nu-Metal tinged “Where Things Have No Colour”. Clearly the band has pulled of one major feat by displaying the number of moods that can be captured on the fret-board; whatever doubt may rise in the wake of this statement can be easily quenched by the time the 6th track ends.
Refusing to commit to any one kind of sound template or rather following “We do what we want, fuck me, fuck you” motto, as they had confessed in their interview with us, the band easily casts off the melancholy-meets-serious tech metal format in favour of the more Mathy-multi-faceted approach of “Waterpark Bachelorette”. Clearly not intent on overdoing any nuance twice, the band concludes the track with the fade out of an electronic sample unlike going out big and chaotic unlike the predecessors. Pulling out all stops to not compromise for “obey emulate conform duplicate, if you’d rather stay and watch”, as the band says in the first track, the band lets lose all of its finesse on the final two tracks. Dotting the ‘I’ in irony, “(-obedience)” is where the band shines as a sum of parts. Drummer Federich knows no bounds no restraints and the galloping basslines only highlight how one complements the other. Boasting of some of the most delightful chords I have heard on the album as well as a breakneck lead section, “(-obedience)” hits the ball out of the park.
Clearly out of adjectives at this point, I believe it’s redundant at this point to mention that the band decides to kick everything a notch higher, going as far as to rope in Guns ‘n’ Roses’ virtuoso lead guitarist, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal. Opening a new can of worms entirely, the track plays like a textbook description for the phrase “diversity”. With Bumblefoot bringing his own batch of classical guitar treats to the buffet, the band decides to add a dash of mariachi flavor, just in case the listener was already out of goosebumps!
3 years ago when I had chanced upon Destrage’s clip for “Jade’s Place”, I would have totally believed it if someone had told me that these guys are going to get 5 times better than what they sound now. With singles like “Purania” and “My Green Neighbour” doing the rounds in the interwebs, these lads from Milan have garnered attention several times more than what they would have generated back then, because let’s face it “Jade’s Place” may have Freak Guitar overlord Matthias IA Eklundh but the any track from AYKMN is already looking at crazy in the rear-view mirror!
With a crisp production fitting the bill like a gloved hand, Destrage have delivered one of 2014’s most entertaining gems. For those who are unfamiliar with the band’s previous works, I highly recommend that you refrain from wasting time on this article any further. For those of you who are no stranger to the band’s antics on record, let us all point and laugh at how meek the phrase “genre-bender” sounds now!