“No bullshit. No half-baked or lukewarm stuff. No self-indulgence. No ‘Okay, let’s keep that because it’s pretty good and we’re friends’ weak ass attitude.” These promising words describe the game plan for Destrage’s new release. Combine this with “My goal is having everybody jumping up and down to this record!”, a quote coming from producer Josh Wilbur and I’m sure everyone’s interest is piqued. Before elaborating on what record they are talking about I’ll first give you a bit of background info on who and what is Destrage. Destrage is a progressive metalcore band hailing from Milan, Italy, that lyrically describes everyday situations colored by personal experiences and values. Having been around since 2002, they have already produced quite a list of releases including four full-length albums, the most recent of which, A Means To No End, dates back to 2016. The band has a rather traditional five-piece line-up, nowadays consisting of Paolo Colavolpe as vocalist, Matteo Di Gioia and Ralph Guido Salati on guitar, Federico Paulovich on drums and Gabriel Pignata on bass. After a year of writing in solitude they are now ready to release their new work of art, another full-length, which is available since May the 25th and is called The Chosen One. And that is the record Matteo was referring to in his aforementioned statement. Having me jumping up and down to any album is no small feat, so let’s consider me the perfect test subject.
The first impression when opener and title song The Chosen One blasts from my speakers is positive. A sole guitar producing an enjoyable, taunting riff is soon joined by the rest of the band, led by a strong rhythm section casing the song to explode, revealing the band’s overall intentions concerning power, speed and intentions. Though in essence definitely a metalcore song complete with the mandatory breakdowns, the execution and the switch between rough and more melodic parts opens up the music, making it accessible and more attractive to a much larger crowd than the metalcore fans alone. This is underlined by Paolo’s vocals that stretch from aggressive to soothing and often have a rather clean, lightly set edge to them fitting the more playful approach of the rather rough and aggressive genre. Having said this there still is more than enough power and aggressiveness in the music Destrage unleashes onto the world. This basic concept, a rather loosely structured song that finds its roots in metalcore but is peppered with all kinds of intermezzos, interactions and influences from many corners of the musical world, is applied to all songs on The Chosen One, albeit in various ways. Hence the fitting addition of the term progressive to the genre. Don’t expect catchy choruses, riffs that outline a full song or a rhythm you’ll be whistling for a long, long time. No, just expect the unexpected.
There’s much to be discovered on The Chosen One. While the musical core business is the main course in many songs such as About That, Hey Stranger and Headache and Crumbs, the musical side dishes get their fair share in other songs like At the Coast of Pleasure and closer The Gifted One. This all adds up to a more than pleasant experience that in my opinion is most definitely worth anyone’s time. This release offers a little over 37 minutes of no-nonsense metal build on an unmistakable metalcore foundation with a spicy, by lack of a better description, progressive edge. A pleasant album in my opinion, very accessible and varied, although in all honesty it’s not your standard ‘jumping up and down’-type of music due to said progressive edge. However, the jumping was not the band’s but the producer’s goal and when it comes to that they pretty much succeeded, because production-wise it’s as solid as can be. Try for yourself.