Released: 2009, Coroner Records
Italy continues to give birth to quality metal bands, and now from Milan comes Destrage, a melodic death metal band formed around 2002. I have been quite vocal in past reviews and columns about the stagnation of melodic death metal, most new bands offering nothing original or relevant to the genre, content instead to tighten and repeat Gothenburg’s original formula. At last I can say that here is a band that has decided to branch out and incorporate other styles and approaches to the genre. In fact I hesitate to call URBAN BEING strictly melodic death metal because it includes so many other facets and styles.
First thing first, is that Max Cavalera on vocals? No, but it sure sounds like it, for awhile at least. Lead throat Paolo Colavolpe is one of the more versatile singers I have heard in awhile, alternating between Max’s patented bark and his own clean vocals, pushing the songs into far more varied territory than lesser acts. The music is no less impressive, full of technical, energized, and hook laden riffs not to mention a manic rhythm section. Destrage blends death metal with thrash and elements of hardcore seamlessly, creating a wall of varied sound that pulverizes with brutality, and soothes with silkiness on the slower passages. Album opener “Trash For Sale” is an excellent snapshot of the album as a whole, the band including many of their winning elements in this track. “The H Factor” focuses more on the soothing parts, with a nice Spanish acoustic intro before bringing on the speed and brutality. The band showcases their ambitions with intricate, speedy, and technical material, which is sometimes progressive in style, but manages to maintain focus on song craft.
Still, there are sections where the band's ambitions get the better of them and lead to convoluted and confusing sections, crammed with more than is needed, as is the case with album closer “Urban Being”. These are things I can live with though, when an album is this well constructed and imaginatively composed. Hats off to producer Ettore Rogotti, who has managed to capture articulation within the speed. URBAN BEING might not be the best melodic death metal album ever recorded, but it is refreshing and inventive, best appreciated and assimilated with multiple listens. Recommended.