Destrage – Are You Kidding Me? No.

Destrage - Are You Kidding Me? No.

Hailing from Italy, Destrage is one of those rare metal bands that shows that complexity and fun can definitely go hand in hand. The progressive metal scene tends to be overpopulated by bands who take themselves way too seriously, which is why these Italians are such a breath of fresh air.

I had already been introduced to them by way of their last album, 2010’s “The King is Fat’N’Old,” which offered a great slice of modern metal, landing somewhere in the realm of the modern melodic death metal sound of post-2000 Soilwork and In Flames, but with a penchant for pushing the musical envelop that most bands operating in that sub-genre of metal tend to be absolutely devoid of.

Are you Kidding Me? No uses that sound as a launch pad and soars even higher with a greater level of diversity and originality than its predecessor possessed.

When listening to Destrage, you won’t necessarily hear anything you’ve never heard before. But there is a good chance that you’ll hear styles combined and spliced together in a way that’s completely unique to your ears.

The opener “Destroy Create Transform Sublimate” is a good example of this, as the band launch into high-octane melodic death metal reminiscent of Raunchy’s earlier albums and combine that driving style with an added layer of flashy guitar wizardry thrown on top. And just as your ears begin to get acclimated to the sound, in comes a Venetian Snares-inspired, sympho-breakcore section that takes the song into a completely new and unexpected direction.

“My Green Neighbor” takes cues from cult tech metal band Sikth, especially in the vocal department, but ends up culminating with a raucous, bluesy chorus that would fit nicely on any He is Legend or Every Time I Die album. It soon shape-shifts into a solo section of wildly virtuosic guitar work that sounds like it might have been grafted from a Freak Kitchen album.

And by the time you’re done with the album, you’re either thoroughly exhausted or yearning to hear more. It’s a dizzying and constant mishmash of complex riffs and solos, unorthodox elements and big choruses that will either win you over completely or annoy the hell out of you. There isn’t much middle ground it seems – you’ll either love this overstuffed musical turkey that Destrage is serving you, or you’ll hate it immensely. And that’s probably exactly the kind of reaction the band was trying to achieve.

One complaint I do have is that the band can sometimes become “predictably unpredictable.” For example, if the song is all over the place with odd-time riffing and weirdo arrangements, it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll bring out a huge chorus by the time the song is over in order to balance out the craziness. And when the band ventures into more conventional song structures like in “Purania,” you can expect them to throw in some sort of strange middle section that goes a bit off the beaten path, just to keep it interesting.

“Where the Things Have No Colour,” is a fairly straight-forward song that shines as a brilliant example of a “less is more” attitude that the band might want to embrace more in the future. The track is packed with great progressive elements and interesting melodic and rhythmic themes, without ever succumbing to the band’s seemingly dire need to throw an “oddball” moment into the track – and the song works just fine without it.

I always love albums that end in a big way, and “Are You Kidding Me? No” does just that. The title track closes the album perfectly and features not only a great Mr. Bungle-esque mariachi-inspired section, but an amazing outro solo performed by the legendary Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal that really pins a big fat exclamation point onto the album.

When all is said and done, Are you Kidding Me? No is a thrill ride of an album and an assault on the senses that any metal fans looking for something unique to spice up their listening habits a bit this year should not ignore.

Tracklist:

01. Destroy Create Transform Sublimate
02. Purania
03. My Green Neighbour
04. Hosts, Rifles & Coke
05. G.O.D.
06. Where the Things Have No Colour
07. Waterpark Bachelorette
08. Before, After and All Around
09. – (Obedience)
10. Are You Kidding Me? No.

Line-up:

Paolo Colavolpe – vocal
Matteo Di Gioia – guitar
Gabriel Pignata – bass
Ralph Salati – guitar
Federico Paulovich – drums

Links:

http://www.destrage.com
http://www.facebook.com/destrage
http://www.youtube.com/destrage
http://twitter.com/destrage
http://instagram.com/destrage_official
http://www.soundcloud.com/destrage

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