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Destrage - "Are You Kidding Me? No." (CD)

Destrage - "Are You Kidding Me? No." CD cover image

"Are You Kidding Me? No." track listing:

1. Destroy Create Transform Sublimate
2. Purania
3. My Green Neighbour
4. Hosts, Rifles & Coke
5. G.O.D.
6. Where The Things Have No Colour
7. Waterpark Bachelorette
8. Before, After and All Around
9. - (Obedience)
10. Are You Kidding Me? No.

Reviewed by on May 21, 2014

"The best feature of the album is not just that it is the work of brilliant musical minds trying to outdo themselves in both technique and melodicism, but that it is the sound of pure and unadulterated fun."

In answering their own question within the title of the record, the guys from Destrage have graciously offered a guiding hand through their latest chunk of music with that little bit of assurance. A bit of a Rubik's cube of an album, "Are You Kidding Me? No," like its cover art, makes a not-so-subtle argument that there is order within chaos. Moreover, they're trying to show just how little sense the phrase "less is more" really makes. What we have here is a collection of sounds from musicians that are ridiculously talented, perpetually bored, and truly unique.

Imagine, for a minute, that you add to a blender the unpredictability and skill of Between The Buried And Me, the enthusiasm and momentum of “Start Something”-era Lostprophets, the complexity of Jeff Loomis, and the experimentation of The Mars Volta. You then spin it all on high, producing either a giant mess of a Vitamix filled with ideas and abstract concepts or the contents of this latest Destrage concoction, sure to confuse -- and inevitably impress -- even the strongest critics of progressive metal.

Fortunately, the “progressive” moniker doesn't simply denote a genre in this case, but a mind frame of the integration of unrelated styles. Fortunately, this carries with it the unexpected pleasure of being easier to listen to than it probably is to play (a comment that the band is familiar with). Songs like "Before, After and All Around" and "Hosts, Rifles and Coke" incorporate high screams, singing, and low growls over a gamut of metal instrumentation styles ranging from metalcore to jazz, djent to punk, and psychedelic to shred - and you can just imagine the goofy smiles on their faces the whole time.

The energy level throughout most of the songs is roughly equivalent of a James Bond villain chase, perfectly summed up in the title track, which features both a guitar solo by Bumblefoot and a prominent display of a trumpet in the latter half of the song. Sweep arpeggios and elaborate and articulate melodies over complex chord progressions are not just special features of this record, but are closer to the norm.

The best feature of the album, however, is not just that it is the work of brilliant musical minds trying to outdo themselves in both technique and melodicism, but that it is the sound of pure and unadulterated fun. It's the sound of brilliant minds having a hell of a lot of fun. Sure, it might be a bit of a heady brew for most people to swallow because of its unique nature and general lack of repetition, but it's refreshing and genuinely new.

Highs: Absurd technical skill, genuine fun, and uniqueness of style blends.

Lows: Hardly any melodic repetition, so don't look to remember much of it quickly.

Bottom line: Brilliant minds having a hell of a lot of fun. Progressive metal with irony and grandeur.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)