ARE YOU KIDDING ME? NO.
I am 100% a fan of music, and specifically metal, that goes into some very weird and crazy places. Mike Patton rates at the top of my musical food chain with all the weirdness that he consistently has brought to his various projects. While I love a lot of mainstream stuff, there's always a soft spot in my musical taste that's long been filled with bands like Mr. Bungle, Dog Fashion Disco and the like. Enter Destrage - a band that I had never heard of until the day a publicist hit me up and informed me that i should give this one a try as it's "kind of bizarre". Well, he definitely nailed that. A combination of everything from Protest The Hero, Lamb Of God and Primus, Destrage's ARE YOU KIDDING ME? NO. is a very interesting and fun listen.
The hard part about listening to this band is following along. These guys are all over the place in a way that's just plain hard to explain. Listening to "Purania", you literally need a road map just to follow all the changes of styles, shapes and colors of the music. In this one song, there are moments that sound melodic and fast. There are other times with a death metal brutality to them. Still at other times, you get a circus music feel a la Mr. Bungle. All of it though is meshed beautifully and with a great deal of tightness and skill. Vocalist Paolo Colovolpe is one of the most wide ranging vocal chameleons I've ever heard. Listening to "My Green Neighbor", there are times when he's clean singing, other times where it's full on death metal, and still others where his voice reminds of Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst. It's so hodge podge that it's silly, and yet there's nothing at all random about it. Every weird iteration in every song is very calculated and leads the band somewhere.
In short, the guitarwork on ARE YOU KIDDING ME is simply amazing. Matteo DiGiola and Ralph Salati have so many variations of guitar playing mixed into their music that you literally can't follow it easily. Songs like "Hosts, Rifles And Coke" are crazy from a guitar standpoint. The song opens sounding almost like a Meshuggah outtake before going into some more modern metal stylings. It then alternates back and forth stylistically throughout the entire song. There are times when their playing is very prog metal, and even times when they venture into the Jazz/Fusion sound throughout this release.
PITRIFF RATING - 91/100 - Hard to describe this one, and I would guarantee that anyone with any sort of allegiance to a particular metal style (regardless of which style it is) would hate this. As someone that loves a really wide array of metal though as well as someone that's more than willing to explore new and unique sounds, Destrage is about as appealing as a release can be. ARE YOU KIDDING ME is a bizarre, crazy listen, to say the least. It's also pretty close to brilliant.