Genre-mashing Italian stallions Destrage are bold, brilliant and fucking bonkers.
Let’s be honest; in the year 2014, over 40 years into metal’s existence, it isn’t exactly easy to be surprised by a band. Sure, you can get endless thrills from a re-jigging of that initial blueprint, but to sound original and unique? Not so simple. Not simple, but possible.
“All my life I’ve had way more fun saying ‘yes’ than ‘no,’ says Destrage guitarist, Matteo Di Gioia. “And we try and incorporate that feeling within this band. A lot of bands try and put boundaries on themselves and say ‘no’ but we are more interested in exploring those ideas that come from outside of our comfort zone and going with them, even if they feel really uncomfortable. We refuse to suppress ourselves.”
Uncomfortable is one of many reactions you might have when you listen to Destrage’s new album Are You Kidding Me? No!; a mindblowing collection of just about every single conceivable genre of music crammed into every moment of its ten tracks. And while it often gives whiffs of everyone from The Dillinger Escape Plan to Janes Addiction via Sikth, Ephel Duath, Devin Townsend, System Of A Down and Faith No More, it only ever really sounds like Destrage. So what sort of music /is it/?! “Honestly,” Matteo shrugs. “We don’t know ourselves. We don’t really know if we fit into a precise genre, but if someone could find a name for what we do then we’d be pretty happy, ha ha ha!”
Unfortunately, it’s as much of a challenge to place them as it is to comprehend their music, so we’ll skip that one. Instead it may be easier trying to work out where the sound of Destrage comes from; is it in the not-so-renowned underground of the Italian metal scene? “Well, there is no heritage in this territory,” drummer Federico Paulovich responds. “We aren’t from New York or Seattle so we don’t have that weight of expectation. We can’t look around and get inspiration from our scene. It’s all new at the moment, we didn’t inherit it. It all has to come from us.”
If you’ve got the idea in your head that this makes Destrage sound like just another ultra-technical metal band, showing off their skills in an orgy of widdling guitar porn, then don’t be fooled. Another thing that sets them apart from the pack is their primary concern for writing catchy tunes. “We want people to come to shows and have fun,” claims Matteo. “Not to stand there and take notes. We want to be layered and complex, sure, but we want people to jump and get sweaty, too.” Destrage obviously want it all. They might just get it, too.
Are You Kidding Me? No is out now via Metal Blade
Interview by Stephen Hill