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PUNISHING - 90%

Lustmord56, October 7th, 2009

REVIEW ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT WWW.TEETHOFTHEDIVINE.COM BY ERIK THOMAS:

Even after two utterly punishing albums in 2005s The Healing Process and 2007s The Ills of Modern Man, Canada’s Despised Icon have a bull’s eye directly on their back for the deathchore haters and scene haters to take pot shots at. From their cocked hats and Vans to their clinical triggered sound and shift from grindcore to breakdown filled deathcore, the band has been the poster child for what many folks see what is wrong with modern extreme metal.

So now with yet another line up tweak that sees guitarist Ben Landreville and bassist Max Lavelle join the fold, Despised Icon have unleashed their fourth album, with relatively little fanfare and for those that enjoyed the last two efforts, have no fear, Despised Icon are still one of the most savage and tight acts in metal today, despite what the haters think. Even with a very slight sense of restraint littering the songs (though not a full on Ion Dissonance-like shift), Despised Icon is still simply a vortex of precision and feral complexity that the Canadians seem so apt at.

The formula and delivery has changed little from The Ills of Modern Man, though the pig squeals have gone. There’s still the increased sense of lurching staggering Meshuggah-ish heft intertwined with voracious, grindcore blast beats, gang chants, and of course, lurching, utterly devastating grooves and breakdowns. It’s a formula Despised Icon have arguably perfected more than any of their many peers, and a formula that superficially repeats the Ill of Modern Man, as numerous times I found myself comparing tracks from both albums. While the album lacks the immediacy and initial face ripping wow factor of say “In the Arms of Perdition”, ” A Fractured Hand” or “Fainted Blu Ornaments” it’s overall a slightly more in depth and grower of an album. I found my ears prick up as Despised Icon added a little crease or wrinkle here and there that elevates the album further. Be it the excellent chord progression in the title track’s huge groove, the well done orchestral injection in the otherwise sick assault of “MVP”, surprisingly melodic solo work of “Eulogy” and “Entre Le Bien Et Le Mal”, slick, almost black metal climax of “Diva of Disgust” or even the somber closer “Sleepless”, Despised Icon have just enough subtle elements to make Day of Mourning more than a simple rehash of the last album.

Fear not though as the majority of the album is still utterly punishing, heaving, breakdown filled assaults that Despised Icon are know for: the likes of “Les Temps Changent”, “Black Lungs”, “All for Nothing” and “Made of Glass” simply assail the senses with the fierce, Yannick St Amand produced tightness and blistering heaviness that you’d expect from Despised Icon.

Call me a fanboy and the haters can hate all they want. This band and this album fucking kill.

Selling out? - 75%

Gh3tt0_G33k, September 28th, 2009

The highly awaited "Day of Mourning" release from Montreal's Despised Icon is well, boring. Don't get me wrong it's still a good CD, it still has that distinct Despised Icon sound that we've all come to love, but there's nothing that stands out on this album. There's not a song that really catches your attention. I've been a huge Despised Icon fan for about 5 years, and I would rate this their worst album since their first album "Consumed by Your Poison".

With that said, there's some things I've noticed that have changed in the album. The most noticeable change is that Steve's low growl has changed, for the worse. They've also pretty much done away with their pig squeals. I'm not really a fan of pig squeals, but Despised Icon was the one band that could pull off the pig squeal and make it sound good in their music. Finally, there's a few songs where group "gang" vocals are used, it's really annoying, and ruins the songs. Despised Icon seems to also have this new sound they use, it's like a low whisper combined with an attempt of a pig squeal.

Now for the upside of the CD; There's all new guitar solos!! Yes, something Despised Icon has started doing lately, and it works! Alex E's high pitched scream is still there, and sounds as brutal as ever. Alex P's drumming is still tight, fast, intense, and in your face. I don't know what Despised Icon would be without that drummer. The guitar work is good, there isn't nearly as many riffs as their previous albums, but they're brutal when they do happen! Another bad ass upside to the album is the all new breakdowns, if you're a breakdown fan this album is full of gnarly breakdowns in nearly every song. The most noticeable breakdown I heard was on the track "MVP" it lasts about 30-45 seconds and it's brutal.

The lyrical theme of the new album has seemed to adapted a 'Brokencyde' theme. By that I mean love/emo/gangster song lyrics.
For example the final track "Sleepless" has lyrics such as "Another morning when I feel more rotten than alive." "The reflection in the mirror across the room shows that I'm just another useless being," and my personal favorite "I wonder if I was just gone, would anyone miss me?"

I haven't really formed a "best song of the album" yet, but if I was going to suggest a song to listen to, it would be "All For Nothing" or the album title "Day of Mourning". Those seem to be the two albums that are most similar to the older style of Despised Icon.

To wrap things up, "Day of Mourning" is a good album, but by no means is it up to Despised Icon's standards. It seems like they just threw a few songs together after listening to a few brokencyde songs and BAM Day of Mourning is created. The album is really boring and uncreative. Would I recommend this album? Probably not, I would point them towards their "The Ills of Modern Man" album, because I don't think it's possible to top that album.

What happened? - 50%

der_Metzgermeister, September 22nd, 2009

Despised Icon is a band who's blend of poetry and brutality caused them to quickly rise through my ranks of favorite bands. However, this new release leaves me confused as to where things went wrong, and I doubt that I'm the only one with these thoughts.

Lyrically, this album is a massive black mark for DI. These guys have always managed to write intriguing, intelligent, and most importantly, moving lyrics. However, this album contains some lyrics which are, in my opinion, atrocities to the genre as a whole. For example, "Oh, baby don't you know this party's picking up//You be a classy looking hoe//Girl, I promise that I'll be gentle and take it slow.//Put this thick member in your mouth and start to blow." sounds more like a verse from a Brokencyde track.

Musically, this album is saved. At least, somewhat. The riffing is not as emphasized as it was on prior releases, but when it comes out, it shines. You can tell that while the well of poetry has run dry, the ability to create punishing riffs shines on. Frequently, the guitars follow the drums, and help to create a more solid sound, which is one thing I've always loved about DI. The bass is sadly often inaudible, but then again, in this style of music, that's often the case. The drums are what really take the cake on this album. Double bass is nearly constant, which is coupled with unrelenting speed on the rest of the kit. Alex has shown the most growth since The Ills of Modern Man, and he was already phenomenal back then. Unfortunately, vocals on this album lead to yet more disappointment. Pig squeals are absent, which I feel takes away one of DI's signature talents. The gang vocals on this album are also heavily overused, which adds to the disappointment.

Lyrically and vocally, the album falls short by a mile. Musically, the riffs remain strong, and the drumming is a new high for Despised Icon. I feel that this album deserves an even 50%, seeing as they got half of it right. Sorry guys, you blew it.