Album Review: ‘After Destruction’ by DESCARTES A KANT [Mexico]; Art Rock-Prog Punk of the Retro Future

From Mexico City, Descartes a Kant is a peculiarly innovative band (likely inspired by Western philosophers?). Led by vocalist / guitarist / programmer Sandrushka Petrova, the group exhibit an unheard style on their latest effort, After Destruction.

With an immersive, near-interactive narrative sucking you into the retro-future ‘n’ fantastical world alike early Star Trek or 2001: A Space Odyssey, the album presents robotic voices a la Kraftwerk performing spoken word skits intertwined with proggy Bent Knee meets experimental rocker Poppy tracks. Intro “Hello User” unveils the album’s origins – a computer titled DAK, which has an AI program to create music. As After Distraction continues, the digital narrator psychoanalyzes you, followed by listing the pros and cons of sex with the O.O.P. (Once Only Playmate) on “Self F.” It’s an absolutely bizarre and fascinating experience.

Musically though, Descartes a Kant conveys the gamut of artsy music, from the Veruca Salt slowburner “The Mess We’ve Made” to the Talking HeadsBillie Eilish fusion rock experimentation on “Raindrops of Poison.” Most of the songs hold a provocative energy, holding the sarcasm of St. Vincent and cheeky nature of Peter Gabriel. “Woman Sobbing” builds Mr. Bungle anxiety where the title track lets off The White Stripes steam.

After Destruction is fraught with depressive and dystopian themes; “A Catastrophe” acts as a crash course for Byung-Chul Han’s theory on neurological illnesses where “You Knew This Would Happen” provides aural guilt trip. Fortunately, as the record progresses, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Humor and healing in “47 Dogs” and “Restart and Heal” respectively wrap the record together with a cathartic bow.

Dripping with aesthetics and immersion, After Destruction is a full-album experience. Although it’s a stretch to consider this record metal, the noisy, experimental, and progressive tendencies align with the weirdos of the metal scene; Descartes a Kant owns superb versatility, fitting as an opener for Leprous to Faith No More. While revealing some bias, I’d be ecstatic to hear future material from this project lean more heavy and explore the depths of their avant-garde minds. Nonetheless, this effort was a genuinely novel journey, brimming with creativity.

Rating: 8.5 / 10

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