Inner Light Records, 2004

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


Destrophy is from Iowa City, the buzzing metropolis that yields a lot of bands. Since time began in this area, bands have been inspired to get-together to create music. That is par for the course. The way things have gone is that a band builds a following, releases a CD, two at the most, then disbands. The early '90s were notorious for bands like that as local heavyweights Critical Gopher, No Pain, and Sludgeplow built a strong following, only to fizzle by either relocating to another state (No Pain, Sludgeplow) or to completely disband due to not being able to find the right drummer (Critical Gopher).

That trend has not applied to Destrophy. Formed in 1993, the band has been churning out metal riffs continuously over the last 11 years, playing showcases, local, and regional gigs. In other words, they've been paying their dues. The band's recent release Chrysalis is yet another strong step in the right direction, expanding their music from just being about heavy metal riffs to a mature format that includes synthesizer keyboards. The material on this release is strong. and, in a single word, musical.

Well-produced with full-sounding drums (think the opposite of Ulrich's sound on my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 St. Anger and you're in the sound park), interesting riffs, clear vocals that offer insight into the band's world. At the same time, the songs show a deeper sense of maturity, such as the material's softer moments, such as the keyboard transition in "Why I Hate Goodbye," the track for which the band recently filmed a video.

Lead-off track "Let it Go" previously appeared on the band's 'web demo' release which sounds fuller on this release. The driving bass drum stomp propels this mid-tempo stomp that serves as a perfect introduction to the band's sound. This track symbolizes all that is good with Destrophy. The lyrics are interesting and provide a glimpse into the soul of vocalist/guitarist Ari when he sings, "All I want is everything / and everyone listens when I say / All I want is everyone / to understand everything I've done." Later, he sings, "Wake up / I'll never be like you / Slither and suffer in me always."

"Waiting Game" is the type of song that will propel this band to legendary status. The vicious distortion-thick riff and the propelling drumbeat from Heath makes this a stand-out track. Combined with the guitar riff and drums, Ari's vocal delivery toggles between a clear, soothing to aggressive for the benefit of the material. "Confession" showcases the band's sense of "song" as the track begins with an airy keyboard part and calm vocals. Then the song switches to an aggressive style as Ari sings, "Save all your anger inside as it boils through your skin / Push me a little harder and believe I'll give in."

The band includes a cover of the Real Life song "Send Me an Angel" churning out a version that is decidedly more aggressive than the 80s pop hit. Also included is an extended version of opening track "Let it Go" which sounds very close to the original on a surface level. Deeper analysis shows Destrophy has played with the song to give it a second life.

After winning the 2003 edition of Rock 108's Battle of the Bands competition, Destrophy continues to roll. Combining strong musical talent and new management team member Curt Smith (founding member of Tears For Fears) has only added to the expectations for the band by themselves and by their devoted following in eastern Iowa. The aforementioned video for "Why I Hate Goodbye" will be used to help sign the band to a major label. After eleven years of hard work, life is good for Destrophy.

For more information about Destrophy, visit their site at

Rating: A

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© 2004 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Inner Light Records, and is used for informational purposes only.