Let’s make this succinct, the upcoming album by Italy’s Destrage “The Chosen One” is basically the musical equivalent of skillful pole dancing.
It speed up, slows down, embraces and leaves one in awe of how such feats are executed or even conceived. Sure I’m being hyperbolic to a degree but musically speaking they have composed a watershed release and I’m compelled to smack you in the face with a quick reason to listen to the album like I was smacked in the face with its brilliance.
Beginning with the repeat-less title track “The Chosen One”, the listener is thrown into a maelstrom of massive-bouncy riffs, tapped chaos, outstanding vocal production and a surgical level of musicianship binding it all together. The tracks are bombastic and at times risky in their transitions and instrumentation but hold together in a flying by the seat of your pants fashion. Some examples include an out of control Saxophone solo on “Mr Bugman” performed by Zu’s Luca Mai, The creepy industrial themes of “Rage, My Alibi” which breaks way to huge choruses and the smattering of what the band refers to as “Megatron”, a synthesiser which plays guitar riffs as well as touches of orchestral arrangement peppered here and there.
Despite its unpredictability, there is a resounding pop-sensibility behind the songs which give the album a sense of accessibility, sensibility full of attitude and surprises. What I enjoy the most is the call and response style of growl verses to clean vocals where the fury of the former is punctuated by the emotional impact of the latter.
With Josh Wilbur in tow as mixing engineer, The presentation and clarity of the bands efforts emerge as a proverbial Kodak moment, capturing and reproducing a pristine soundstage. While it’s a particularly hot mix, it contracts and expands to the demands of a songs structure. Impressively, even at the most claustrophobic at times, there’s always space in the mix for whatever’s going on
Now for some harshness, I think the album brilliant but it might be a bit too heavy for some fans of its sing along style choruses, a little too formulaic for fans of its eclectic and wild nature. Also, there is a bit of an imbalance where the album RIPS out of the gate and tends to have a vibe of bezerk breathlessness towards the end, especially with the song “Breadcrumbs and Headaches”. It’s a sick track, but tries haphazardly to fit in with the underlying balance of eclecticism vs accessibility. There’s also a little baby-fat in some of the song structures here and there in the form of excessive repeats that could’ve been trimmed to really maximise the impact of the album as a whole. We’re talking about a minutes worth of audio throughout the whole production which doesn’t seem like much until you’ve listened to it a few times.
What I admire though is, the band put in a lot of time and focus into “The Chosen One” but committed to including what is on show even after a solid year of writing the tracks and not giving into the fear that can accumulate through such a process. There are TONS of risks taken in the song structures and 99% of them are bang on.
This is not an album to sleep on and I think that the tracks would sound just as awesome in a live setting as they do on the disc. Normally Italy is known for its simple but effective sun ripened produce. Pretty soon, it’ll also be known for the complicated brilliance growing under the sunless streets of Milan.
Pre-order your copy of “The Chosen One” HERE!