DESTROY DESTROY DESTROY. A name that could hardly be more soaked in cliché and the stage attire of the band apparently follows right suit. And if you look at song titles such as "Gods Of War And Open Sores", "Ripped Apart By The Juggernaut Of Fornication" or "Mutilated Cranial Orifice", it also becomes quite evident that the guys do not take that part of the deal all too seriously either.
I had discovered the band from Tennessee about two years ago on MySpace and I must say that I had liked their over-the-top CHILDREN OF BODOM-influenced Metal, simply for the fact that they could play, had tons of energy and also managed to add some cool melodies to the mix. So it was not much of a surprise to me that Blackmarket Activities, a new sub-label of Metal Blade, snooped them up and now delivers the first full length "Devour The Power" to the masses.
So what are the main trademarks of the Americans' sound? The at times frenetic pace, often with ridiculously fast guitars and keyboards, strongly Eighties influenced riffing, the strong melodies, the bristling energy and, on a different level, Sir Bryan Kemp's vocals. While the first elements are to be viewed positively, the same cannot be said for the vocals, which are too harsh and partly uninspired for the music underneath. They alternate between Death Metal growl and a more hysteric variant and are tiring and straining at the same time, giving people a reason to disregard DESTROY DESTROY DESTROY as irrelevant, but I am not to give up on them that easily.
While the riffing in many cases is almost pure Eighties worship, they manage to churn out some very memorably and melodic riffs, all the while keeping a mean edge on the six string, often countered by equally soloist keyboard attacks, which admittedly push the band pretty close to the band around Alexi Laiho, but at the same time they still manage to stay apart enough not to become a complete copycat of the Finns. "Hang The Vermin" sets out very fast and super melodic, with very harsh vocals, just to slow things down for the chorus, where we also get some shouts, before resuming the blistering speed of before, but still keeping the song variable enough not to become boring, while "Ripped Apart By The Juggernaut Of Fornication" reminds me more of early CHILDREN OF BODOM and "The Beast That Cannot Be Fed" almost seems teleported straight in from the Eighties, but with a heavier edge.
The one song that does not really fit on the album is the already mentioned "Mutilated Cranial Orifice", which is a lot heavier and more brutal than the rest and kind of stands out as awkward amidst the mostly very melodic onslaught of the rest of the CD. On the other hand, though, "Hellfire" delivers a true Metal anthem with twin guitars, some excellent clear vocals including a Metal scream and a great harmony solo, that's the stuff! And at the end "Bring The Exodus" is mostly mid- to slow-paced, with piano and strong melodies, if the vocals would not get on my nerves here and there, this would be another brilliant song.
So what is the verdict overall? With a few exceptions the music is convincing to me, not overly original, but definitely well done. The element that will definitely split the audience are the vocals, which are an acquired taste at best, but more often than not do not fit with the music, even as contrast factor. If you can live with very melodic music, but very harsh vocals, by all means get this now. If you are a bit wary about this, check them out first, I am deducting a full point for the vocals alone!
(Online November 3, 2006)