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Don't mess with the "Sword Of Avenger" - 85%

Liquid_Braino, June 22nd, 2013

There's a certain contingent of metal bands, particularly during the 1980's, that almost seemed to aspire for a singular top rank amongst the various aesthetics comprising metal music. I remember a long time ago seeing a sticker on Slayer's Live Undead vinyl cover proclaiming them as "the fastest band in the world", a boast a number of other groups back then could dispute. The sort of bragging rights associated with being the fastest, the loudest, the evilest, the most brutal or even the most "metal" of metal bands could give a band more infamy and recognition, although these days I would assume that the fastest metal band out there right now probably sounds like complete shit. Yet at the time when metal was just beginning to explore extremities in sound while pushing the boundaries, possessing a brief status as the 'fastest' or 'goriest' of metal bands was essentially a badge of honor. A much rarer and more obscure ambition was, and still is, to achieve the honor and glory of being the 'cutest' metal band. It may not seem as dignified an accomplishment as some of the more strictly music-related objectives, but it's no less a difficult crown to pursue, especially if you're a bunch of bearded bastards.

Destrose is without a doubt a prime contender for the admirable 'cutest metal act' tag, outpacing most of their contemporaries, including that disturbing Baby Metal project, while pumping out some pretty damn good music. Originally a black leather clad group, most of the original members eventually pulled a mass exodus and were replaced by women whose technical skills are matched by their penchant for outlandish girly doll dresses, cute hairdos and ribbons. The music reflected this changing of style in an ironic fashion, in that the band got meaner and speedier, as if to compensate for their "cuddlesome" image. It certainly turned out to be a winning turn of events as the band gained a larger fanbase, finally resulting in this high selling debut full length effort after eight years of existence.

Oddly enough, like their Deathless Memories single, this release begins in an awkward and unpromising fashion, with an intro that comes across like some kind of symphonic industrial metal spunk anchored by a terrible sounding drum machine. Then the "Headless Goddess" storms in neck first and alleviates those fears as princess Haruna assumes her rightful position pummeling away on her kit as her pigtails flail like a second set of drumsticks, pausing only to give that big fucking pinwheel on her drum-set a quick spin.

The overall production is organic and meaty, possessing a dirtier edge than the more crystalline presentation of similar sister acts such as Aldious or Cyntia. The rhythm section sounds thick with its prominent bass presence, while the guitars bear a warm tone that balances between metal and hard as hell rock.

Packing a strong punch, there's a gritty Motorhead vibe which meshes surprisingly well alongside the power metal riffs and melodies throughout the first batch of tracks, giving Destrose a snarly attitude I don't often hear concerning these sexy-doll bands. Toward the album's end there's also "Lifer 13", an absolutely ballsy punk-infused number, but the ultimate corker here is the final cut, essentially the ripping thrashy instrumental track from the Deathless Memories single revamped with spiteful vocals. Provocative singer Marina doesn't fuck around, showing off enough strong vibrato to garner technical accolades while delivering her lines with more venom than most of her fellow female power metal counterparts while not resorting to gruffness or screaming.

This release would be just about perfect if it weren't for the decline in quality during the album's mid-section before rebounding with "Fenixx". "Destination" and "Romancer" would've been forgettable if not for the notably cheesy synths in the background, lacking the more rebellious nature of the opening and closing numbers. It's not a lack of speed during the mid-portion of the album that's an issue. Hell, early cut "Sword of Avenger" keeps things at a medium tempo, but it's based around killer sleazy riffage that can induce boners as fast as the album's cover sleeve. But a song like "Romancer" is pretty disposable fare, and with a song title like that it shouldn't be a surprise.

Most of the surrounding tracks, though, are keepers, and there's not an obligatory ballad in sight. Bitchin', fast, hot and fiery, these tunes belie the general imagery of the performers, which is exactly their game-plan. It's been a long road to get where they're currently at, but overall, it must have been worth the ride as they can now wear their 'cutest metal' tiaras proudly. The music is pretty hot as well.