Five years have passed since the release of Joyland, TR/ST’s sophomore album, one highly influenced by the grit and warmth of nightlife indulgences. Since then, synthpop wunderkind Robert Alfons went through the process of self-reflection and readjustments, leaving behind his Canadian home, relocating to Los Angeles in pursuit of more prosperous ambitions. With that decision and a much-needed space and network to develop to its full potential, TR/ST grew from every goth’s dirty little secret to a niche cult band.

Experimenting with the hues of darkwave, electronics and ethereal soundscapes, Alfons sought reasoning, patience and isolation for his third full-length album. Split into two parts and co-produced with long-time collaborator Maya Postepski, The Destroyer was written between a farmhouse in southern Ontario and California, and it picks ups the thread previously left by Alfons, diving into a more organic, melancholic realm, yet keeping the signature TR/ST atmosphere: dark, pounding and club-ready.

As a product of self-reflection requires knowledge of the inner cores of the mind, Alfons accepted the change of pace and allowed the album to grow organically and accompany his personal development. As an opener, ‘Colossal’ has the exacts measurements to capture our attention; its industrial-sounding bassy feel with floaty synths sets the starting point of this much-expected comeback. Balancing between instant classic and 2017 single ‘Bicep’, ‘Poorly Coward or the stunning ‘Unbleached’, tracks that are as emotive as they are destructive. Others that appeal to a deeper sense of melancholia like ‘Gone’ or one of the highlights ‘Wake With’, Alfons has managed to project his particular view, where his course goes from rebirth to full form while purging his internalized notions of shame and converting them into sincerity and acceptance of oneself, of being and existing.

A remarkable change here is the attention placed on enhancing the voice, which has gained centre stage in the mix, the melodies and the crafty wording, where every letter and rhyme matters to channel the emotion in a playful and catchy way. If vulnerability is the true gate to honesty and living a true self, with the first part of The Destroyer, Robert Alfons has constructed a narrative that represents him and shines a light into his perseverance and determination to accept his thoughts, come clean and now being ready for a new beginning.