Despised Icon

Beast

Written by: MAK on 22/07/2016 16:23:15

Canadian bruisers and deathcore pioneers Despised Icon have been rather quiet over the past six years, as the seven-piece took some time out in 2010 to pursue other goals and start families. In 2014 it was apparent that the band had missed performing live, so a decision was made for Despised Icon to reform for a brief period. The band played the odd festival in Europe and North America with few plans to expand beyond that. The following year saw the ten-year anniversary of the band’s breakthrough album “The Healing Process”, and in celebration of that Despised Icon played a couple of exclusive festivals. It wasn’t until April 2016 that the Canadians announced that they had signed with metal label Nuclear Blast Records and a new album, “Beast”, was underway — their first recorded output since 2009’s “Day of Mourning”.

In Despised Icon’s wake, deathcore has risen to new heights with the likes of Suicide Silence and Whitechapel pushing the genre into a realm of recognition on par with the popularity of metalcore in recent times; deathcore has become a very popular sub-genre within the underground metal scenes. But while a lot of deathcore bands are pushing to be more brutal, effortlessly chugging their way through each song, Despised Icon break from that trend by throwing in influences that demand more grooves than a senselessly heavy sound. Take “Bad Vibes” for example: the influence from 90’s death metal and hardcore mixed with the trademark heaviness that is Despised Icon sounds more enjoyable than all out brutality.

Not to say that the violent sound we have come to expect from the septet is gone. “Grind Forever” and “Time Bomb” both unleash those crushing riffs and Alex Pelletier’s machine gun-like blast beats the band is truly known for, along with an assortment of typical deathcore breakdowns and the occasional fiddly guitar segment — all of that with pig squeals and monstrous growls from the partnership of Alex Erian and Steve Marois on vocals layered on top. These are songs designed to ignite chaos and break bones.

“The Aftermath”, “Drapeau Noir” and “One Last Martini” set the band in a direction that pricks the ears in the same way “Bad Vibes” does, however. The band channels its hardcore energy and ruthless aggression as well as throwing in two-step segments that Erian has admitted to be an influence from the likes of Madball and Biohazard. Despised Icon blends crossover with deathcore brilliantly, similar to the way The Acacia Strain did with their “3750” album.

This is a welcome return from one of deathcore’s finest acts, and it is especially refreshing that there seems to be an evolution from just churning out bruiser after bruiser with growls and pig squeals on top. The fundamentals haven’t changed though; Despised Icon has always been a heavy band that will deliver songs created to mosh pits, and even after years apart, the chemistry to create such violent anthems flows strong.

Download: Bad Vibes, Drapeau Noir, The Aftermath, Grind Forever
For The Fans Of: The Acacia Strain, Napalm Death, Biohazard, Madball
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 22.07.2016
Nuclear Blast

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