All of us have expectations. Whether it’s for your personal life, professional life, or as simple as going to the movies, you have a certain expectation for any given thing. Sometimes you have very high expectations that generally only lead to your disappointment, like taking out a million-dollar loan for a house because you bought a lottery ticket. Other times, you set your bar exceedingly low so that you can only be pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t the worst thing in the world to have ever happened (hello, internet dating!). Rare is the time where you have no expectations for something and get totally blown away. That’s how you should feel about Destrage and their latest, The Chosen One.
Regular Heavy Bloggers will recognize Destrage. Italy’s foremost suppliers of progressive metalcore are known for their crazy music antics, infusing more math in their music than a calculus lecture. Their songwriting is one thing, but their musicianship is on another level entirely. It’s hard to describe the actual sounds you hear when listening to Destrage. There’s a lot of over the top djent-like sounds combined with a mastery of the instruments. It’s just plain old nutty to hear. It leaves you thinking, “How in the hell do they do that?” You’ll never figure it out, but you’ll always think you’ll get it if you listen just one more time.
If that’s what you came to hear, then you’re very much in luck. Just as tigers can’t change their stripes, Destrage simply can’t stay away from blowing your mind with some serious musical maneuvers. It’s just metal ear candy to hear. There isn’t a single track on The Chosen One that isn’t chockful of skronk and judiciously used dissonance. It’s genuinely impressive that they can employ these sounds so thoughtfully that they fit right into whatever track they’re on. It’s no gimmick. It’s all thoughtfully used in order to build up a song in a tastefully artful way.
You’re really set up for it perfectly with the intro track, “The Chosen One”. The heavily effected guitar antics bring you in and somehow focus you on the task at hand. It’s an interesting little solo section that ensures you’re dialed in correctly for the onslaught of metalcore madness. Once the rest of the song kicks in, everything about Destrage’s music ensures you are effectively paying attention. There is a stop/start nature to the riffs that jar your brain a bit. I thought to myself a number of times about where the track is going and what exactly it’s trying to do. It makes sure you’re really digesting what you’re hearing, and they do it throughout the album.
This record is truly interesting and a beautiful work of art. It’s pretty outside the norm for even the most underground of metal fans. It’s beautifully produced. It has fascinating music. It has a depth on the record that’s pretty difficult to describe. Even the album art draws you in. Everyone who reads Heavy Blog should take the time to listen to a few tracks. If you’re into metalcore of this kind, you’ll really dig it. If you’re not, you should challenge yourself with something outside your own personal norm. Only time will tell if we’re all talking about this record at the end of the year, but hopefully we’re at least referencing it for its novelty and originality.
The Chosen One drops May 24th via Metal Blade Records, and is available now for pre-order on the band’s Bandcamp page.