It's now time for our final monthly feature post of the month, and it's our first monthly CD review of 2013 at the SMS, as we're reviewing the first full length CD and second album from Sault Ontario old school hardcore/punk quintet Destroilet today! Independently released on December 13th, 2012, this serves as a half reissue of the band's April 2011 EP, though it does feature 6 brand new studio recordings, including 3 new original songs and 3 covers to go along with the 4 originals and 2 covers from the 2011 sessions. The new songs were recorded at "The Litter Box" (presumably their home recording studio) last year with guitarist John Conway producing, while the 2011 songs were recorded at Meat Curtain Studios that spring with producer Aaron Gibbs (John's Billy Bastards bandmate.) All 12 songs feature Destroilet's original & current lineup, including singer Mike Hull, guitarists John Conway & Christian Foisy, bassist Adam Larocque, and drummer/album artwork designer Matt Waples.
Physical copies of this EP are available for $10 by request through their Facebook page (and presumably at any future live shows), while the online version on iTunes costs the same (or 99¢ a song), though it lacks the 2 covers of non-local bands due to copyright concerns. Featuring just 28 minutes of music spread across 12 songs, this will be a quicker review (especially having reviewed half of it last year), but let's begin with the first song "Truly Infected"!
"Tape Side A" of the album begins with "Truly Infected", which starts off fast paced with quick riffing and drum hits that set off a mosh atmosphere well, though the instrumental intro of it all might last too long. Mike Hull's vocals are more varied and dirtier than I remember, including lots of variances and even some pseudo-growling at points! The drumming is consistently very good, and the guitar solo late helps, especially as it isn't cut short! The title of the song suits a lot of the style that Destroilet are playing, and while it's a bit longer than most of their songs, it doesn't get bogged down at all with any real low stretches. It's a solid opener that shows Destroilet's hardcore skills nicely! Second is "R.O.Y.C.", which opens with a scream before launching into another heavier riff that keeps a good pace, while not being quite as chaotic as the CD's opening track. The vocals are lower and harsher, which I don't think works for the song given it's aggression, but the guitar & bass work is up to par (the solo's a bit short though), and it's still a heavy track that deserves a listen! It's just hit & miss, and could use either toned down instrumentation or more yelled vocals.
The final new original song is "Eternal Fire", which launches with a drum and bass intro before getting to hardcore business, with Mike providing a more monotonous talking vocal style over the verses, which lead into gang vocals in the choruses that are oddly energetic & high. I'd have recorded these in a harsher yelling style, but the second half of the track builds heavier and more aggressive, including a solid guitar solo from John! For such a vocal-driven song, I'd have wanted it to be as brutal as "Truly Infected", but it works for what it is, and has more of a punk sensibility at points, with Adam Larcoque's bass work at it's finest so far on the disc! The next 3 songs are all new cover tracks, starting with their CD-exclusive cover of The Ducky Boys' "Cross To Bear (Walk Proud, Stand Tall)", which is definitely the most punk-inspired song so far, with a galloping punk riff and a dirty edge to it, which suit Mike's lower and more gruff singing better than the preceding hardcore originals. The pace of it is consistent and gives a good flavour, with effective drumming from Matt Waples and a catchy overall quality that helps it, but the vocals could still be a bit more energetic.
Next is the only new local band cover, that being of "Evil God Hater" (or "E.G.H.") by Fistmagnet and/or The Fuckin' Burnouts, which is a very short and fast paced track that opens with an awesome guitar solo which quickly shifts into an aggressive and dirty hardcore number with almost sleazy trade-off vocals and a clear attitude that helps the song stand out among the new recordings! If you can look past the subject matter, you'll find an entertaining old school hardcore number that honestly should be a lot longer! The quick pacing continues for the album's final brand new song, that being Destroilet's CD-exclusive cover of Nirvana's "Tourette's", which takes one of their shortest songs and makes it even faster, dirtier, and heavier, with Mike's singing almost diverging into black metal levels with it's harshness! It's not very long, and it lacks the timeframe for it to have a lot of substance similar to the originals, but their aggressive old school onslaught is at work here, and it'll no doubt start some brutal moshpits at future Destroilet concerts!
The second half of "Destroilet" (also referred to as "Tape Side B") comprises of the band's entire April 2011 EP in it's exact running order, with no changes to the quality or original tracks. Because we've already reviewed it on the site, I'll link you guys to our original review, so check it out at this location for my full thoughts on the final 6 songs on their newest album! That said, I'll sum up my overall thoughts on it again here to tie everything together. These six songs are Destroilet's original songs "End Me", "Suck It", "H.D.M.", and "My Life", along with covers of The Billy Bastards' "Mile 58" and A-Null Seepage's "Got Beat Up", and while I liked the 2011 tracks, though I did find that half of the album was hit & miss, which I partially blamed on preferring the heavier hardcore material over punk-inspired tracks, while the vocals were also more effective in a yelling hardcore style over the more monotone harsh talking. On these songs, the shorter tracks tended to be heavier and faster, and they definitely go by in what seems like no time at all! On their own, these songs stood well on their own for old school hardcore and punk action, and they still work well in this partial reissue!
So, what are my final thoughts on Destroilet's new CD? It works very well for the genres it covers, and whether you consider it a brand new album or expanded re-release, it should please all fans of Destroilet! Like on their EP, I largely have the same preferences and points to raise, as their sound hasn't drastically changed since 2011, aside from a longer average song length and maybe a slight difference in production quality, though it's minimal if noticed. Mike Hull's vocals still are most effective when yelled, but punk fans (and maybe even death metal fans) will appreciate his harsher lower vocals used on many tracks, and the members' instrumental contributions are overall very good! John and Christian's guitar work is solid and heavy, Adam Larocque's bass skills are always a plus, and Matt Waples' drumming is a constant steady presence with lots of good heavy rhythms! That said, I do admit to slightly preferring the 2011 songs over the new tracks just for their generally faster and heavier qualities, but all of the tracks could all benefit from longer guitar solos, more yelled vocals, and maybe some cleaner production on some of the noisier songs.
When completely on their game though, Destroilet are brutal and very exciting (as songs like "My Life" and "Truly Infected" will attest to), and the covers also show their wide influences and respect for the local scene really well! I have no idea when Destroilet will end their 2 year concert hiatus, but when they do, fans should be jacked if these songs are any indication, so pick up their new album at the above links for some quality noisy and crusty old school hardcore & punk!
I hope you guys liked our first CD review of 2013, but what's getting reviewed in February? I'm not entirely sure yet, but here's what we do know. As it's too soon from our last reviews of theirs, I will not be reviewing either of Haggith's new albums or any archive releases from Mike Haggith or Woods of Ypres next month, but I expect to review new Woods & Haggith material as soon as the spring. If a new album comes out in February from any other local metal bands, that will definitely be next, and you can preview possibilities in our next "Where Are The New Albums?" post on Saturday, but what's likely? Shit Liver? Pillory? 415E? Sykotyk Rampage, if they make any of their new streaming albums available for purchase? If nothing new comes out, we'll do an archive CD review, which will likely come down to either Aftersight, Candle Hour, Detroit, Foothill Road, or Sykotyk Rampage, as they're all I have access to for archive hard rock/metal albums right now that haven't been reviewed in the last 6 months. No matter what though, there's a review coming in February, so keep an eye out for that and hopefully more news on the site soon! Thanks everyone!