I’ll admit off the bat I’m not a fan of the senseless deviations bands try to pull in order to separate themselves from the mindless chaos that is the deathcore scene. It all becomes so dull and lifeless. It’s a wicked stereotype; one that allows me to discriminate against any new album or band that pops up with the genre tag. Fairly, I’ve missed a few “gems” I’m sure (with all this music there had to be some) but when the time comes I know exactly when to stop with the over-tagging of bullshit and put on some solid as f*ck metal. Despised Icon; the very name demands respect. After paving the way for the likes of modern death acts since the group’s debut back in 2002, Despised Icon have released a total of five records with ‘Beast’ coming almost seven years ofter the group’s last studio effort, ‘Day Of Mourning’ achieving critical acclaim for a style easily described as being “Despised Icon”. All it took was some blistering stereotypical soundscapes, a penchant for technical ability and the occasional “bree-bree” in a vocal style that would create a wave of copy-cats and ‘Beast’ turns into one of the year’s most awaited and hyped records for the deathcore scene. Backed by the powerhouse label, Nuclear Blast (who, due to their activities in metal have caused me to add their own category to this webzine) will showcase a strong release schedule for an ever stronger album.
Prejudice aside, it’s no wonder Despised Icon are deserving of the hype their new album is currently achieving. With a seven year wait between drinks, ‘Beast’ highlights just why this group have achieved such a commanding success even with a hiatus. With a runtime of just thirty minutes, Despised Icon’s new music lifts in its brevity. Sure it’s not the shortest album out there (take the new Nails for example) but it doesn’t at all become overbearing. The ability of the Despised Icon veterans to not overplay the seriousness of death, war and the political in their songs allows for an easier and enjoyable listening experience. It’s also fair to say that I’ve made a rather broad statement in regards to what ‘Beast’ sounds like without actually defining what needs to be defined. With a sound built from the foundations of hardcore and punk to the devastating death metal soundscape. Despised Icon have truly made their own sound, raising them above the countless undefinable acts. The biggest positive to be found here is that whenever a Despised Icon track is played it’s true to the band’s style, from the debut through to 2016. What defines the band’s strongest point also weakens it. At times ‘Beast’ blends into a pile of blast-beat and quasi breakdown saminess only to be broken by a wave of half shouts, gang vocal styles, high and low screams – – repeat. We’ve heard this all before; play any of the other four of the group’s records and find the same formula, same recipe. It’s good, don’t get me wrong but we’ve heard it again and again.
Highlights emerge quickly, littering the new record with deathened goodies. The ability of Despised Icon to play serious music and still find the “lighter” mood within their music is paramount to how well this works. From the records opener, “The Aftermath” and the somewhat playful “Bad Vibes” to the like of “Grind Forever” and “One Last Martini” Despised Icon maintain their own flair to add individualistic nuances to what’s admittedly typical Despised Icon metal. For the die-hard fans out there who feel I didn’t portray what ‘Beast’ actually is in stupid genre tagging (most regular readers will know I loathe the need to over label something) it’s not like I’m doing anything different. The band don’t care what “scene” they fit in, they only care that you fucking like their music, buy the album and see a show or two. ‘Beast’ culminates in an impressive half-hour of metal – whatever your name for it and in turn has created one of the year’s more solid records.
Video for “Beast” below:
http://nblast.de/DespisedIconBeastNB Out July 22, 2016 on Nuclear Blast Records.