Metal Blade Records
by Jimbo Hellguera
Destrange present what might be considered a wild, unorthodox solution to a musical conundrum; Namely, how many genres of music must an artist combine in order to create a new genre? Five? Ten?
Is it a manner of disguising genre influence? Or is it a case of welding influences seamlessly, continuously, and in such a creative manner the listener is rendered completely bewildered and transfixed in the course of a song, let alone over the entirely of the whole album? If it is the latter, Destrage are an absolute bloody success.
Labels, particularly when discussing music, are a necessary evil.
While most artists and fans alike will angrily rant about the inherent limitation of applying such labels, they nonetheless do provide the basis for understanding. We differentiate between Jazz, Rock, Hip Hop, and Heavy Metal because they are significantly different musical expressions.
The sheer number of musical styles (and specifically applied labels), however, borders on farcical, particularly within Heavy Metal.
It is perhaps no more evident than when one attempts to describe a particularly diverse musical offering such as Destrage’s A Means to No End. In the first three tracks alone, one can argue the presence of Groove Metal, 90’s Alternative-Metal, Thrash, Prog Metal, Metalcore, Djent, Funk, Post-Rock, and Nu-Metal. Etc., so forth, and so on.
Tracking the sheer number of musical elements and influences is futile when it becomes clear this album kicks ass, pure and simple.
The opening track, “A Means to No End,” builds steam gradually; it starts out with acoustic guitar, slowly adding layers and dynamics until it explodes into “Don’t Stare at the Edge.” And there are the clear Nu-Metal and Metalcore elements front and center, enough a listener might have a bit of a nostalgic flashback to the late 90’s/early 2000’s.
The focus on songs and musicality, however, quickly transcend those genres and Destrage continually add more elements, more twists. And therein is perhaps what is absolutely impressive about their music. They present such familiar sounds, a sense of deja vu seems unavoidable.
But the songs never go the expected route, refuse to allow any true sense of comfort to last. At once so familiar, yet so entirely foreign, the songs insistently force their unique identities upon the listener.
The musicianship here is absolutely stellar, and the synergy of the members is particularly apparent on “Symphony of the Ego” and “The Flight.” Different time changes, and genre-fusions can be almost taxing to follow, but the band reigns in those explosions, keeping them within a framework that ultimately results in effective song-structure. There is an attention to detail present throughout this album that feels less-present in many modern recordings.
While not every song may be perfect, nothing feels like filler.
The composition, the production values, and performances on the opening track to the closing song make it clear the band was very serious about presenting the best piece of music they could offer.
Everything about A Means to No End feels like a tribute to metal and the harder alternative music of the 90s and early 2000’s even as it surpasses those very genres. What kind of music is Destrage? Check the album out and decide for yourself.