Review Summary: In which 'DJIEAZ!' is an accepted form of exclamation.
Progressive metal is in an interesting paradox at the moment – and arguably has been for some time – as with so many emerging acts prepared to show off their instrumental chops, all focus is put on virtuosity whilst forgetting a seemingly obvious necessity: writing songs. This isn’t to say that the movement is purely content with stagnant oversaturation, as advances in production and comparative ease in blending genres can often make for a very well-polished end product, even if often lacking in substance.
Italian metallers Destrage approach their 4th full length with an almost overbearing determination to not get sucked into this trap. Wearing their influences on their sleeves, at a casual listen one can pull out elements of SikTh, The Dillinger Escape Plan, System of a Down and Every Time I Die, as they skilfully combine technical proficiency with an unashamed hard rock swagger and natural flair for structure. 2014’s Are You Kidding Me? No.
served as something of a breakout album for the group, coming as it did as a breath of fresh air during the peak of the djent movement – but fans of that record will be able to identify a clear evolution a mere two years later as while A Means To No End
still proudly basks in bat*** insanity, it also shows uncanny ability to rein itself in for a much greater and well-rounded experience.
The previous album had catchy tracks, sure, but every single one of the 13 on display here have elements of the anthemic aplenty. ‘Don’t Stare At The Edge’, ‘The Flight’ and ‘Not Everything Is Said’ in particular boast huge singalong choruses, there are monolithic, crunchy, blissfully constructed riffs all over the record, and – as a huge invitation to those that have never been quite into the band before – a massive vocal performance from Paolo Colavolpe. He casually jumps from SikTh-esque screeching to powerful cleans, but both of these elements have been tightened up from previous efforts, and while he does still possess a rather overwhelming nasal quality which will prove a distraction to some, his overall performance across A Means To No End
is a delight rather than a criticism.
In short, Destrage have crafted a wacky, accomplished, accessible progressive metal record that doesn’t require multiple listens to understand, but rather politely asks for them and keeps on giving in return.