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Lustmord56, October 7th, 2009


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.