Released: 2009, Century Media
It’s been quite fashionable to hate on deathcore these days, but really, some of the bands that are being churned out nowadays are so bland and faceless that they do honestly deserve the scorn heaped on them. Montreal’s Despised Icon managed to escape a lot of the criticism, justifiably, with 2005’s THE HEALING PROCESS, a logical maturation from their 2002 album CONSUMED BY YOUR POISON, which together with The Red Chord’s seminal FUSED TOGETHER IN REVOLVING DOORS marked the year that grindcore, hardcore and death metal finally came together and became deathcore. Being picked up by Century Media just in time for THE HEALING PROCESS to hit the mainstream, the band was lauded for being something different to your average bree-bree, blast-blast deathcore band.
On DAY OF MOURNING, the band seems to have forgotten how to write a song. The twin vocal attack that made the early albums unique is almost gone, when they successfully used the much-maligned pig squeals to relatively good effect – although there are two vocalists, on DAY OF MOURNING both meld into a homogeneity that I would have thought impossible with even one vocalist. Instead, there are lots of monotonous bellow-y vocals and lengthy gang-shouted choruses that attempt to convey power…guess what, it didn’t work for Hatebreed and it certainly doesn’t work for Despised Icon.
Breakdown…breakdown…breakdown…breakdown. Are they trying to beat the world record for how many breakdowns a band can fit into a single song? The moment that there is a hint of even a decent riff, progression, or idea, the whole band kicks into tough-guy moshpit mode. I don’t even consider the breakdown to be the antichrist of music – it’s fun and even deadly welcome when used in moderation. It’s beautiful in a live environment when the entire metal crowd is banging as one (NOT fucking doing arm windmills and gay kung-fu kicks by the way). It’s amazing when a band uses it to build tension. It’s great when you don’t know it’s coming.
But Despised Icon take the art of breakdown to a whole new low. The breakdown is used as the cornerstone of the song, the foundation, the main focus. Sorry, but I just can’t get into a band that refuses to allow an idea or groove to develop, fuck it, even a decent flow to exist, without throwing in one of their patented down-tuned dumbathons. Make no mistake about it, this band CAN play, that’s why I’m being harsh. Look at the final song ‘Sleepless’ and tell me they can’t write something interesting and decently heavy without resorting to the fucking breakdown. Look at ‘Diva of Disgust’ and tell me there’s not a smidgen of decent technical-infused death metal bursting to come to the surface. There are good moments and good ideas on the album. Then you listen to something like ‘Eulogy’, ‘Made of Glass’ or ‘Black Lungs’ and feel like shooting yourself.
As far as deathcore goes, this is pretty much par for the course. Nothing much more need be said, to be honest. For long-time followers of the band who were expecting something more, well, I think you’ll be disappointed.