Released: 2005, Century Media
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Sweet jumping Jesus…this is the first must-have CD of 2005!!
Quebec, the seemingly endless pool of Canadian metal talent, has unleashed Despised Icon upon us and their Century Media debut, THE HEALING PROCESS, is a non-stop kick to the face of technical death, grind and from out of nowhere, a few breakdowns thrown in the pot for good measure. The band has long employed two vocalists but former Neuraxis drummer, Alex Erian, steps up to the mike to replace departed singer, Helene-Marie Landry (yes, a female grind vocalist!!), and along with Steve Marois, the two bark, roar and gurgle through 32 minutes of the best damn metal—dubbed “deathcore”—this side of the 49th parallel. Lyrically, Despised Icon is as perplexing as Chinese math (“The Mozart effect reveals a newborn confidence. The reptilian brain is now the one involved, the one that will conquer them all” HUH?!?!?!) but the point is moot since they are mostly unintelligible anyway. Brilliantly produced by the band’s guitarist, Yannick St-Amand, and mixed by Kataklysm’s J-F Dagenais, THE HEALING PROCESS captures this young band as they begin their ascent to overtake the throne of majestic grind from Dying Fetus. Yes, this CD IS that good!
“Bulletproof Scales” weighs in with a thunderously heavy riff and enough double bass to knock your teeth loose. St-Amand and Eric Jarrin battle it out with some technically-dizzying fretwork that, along with “The Sunset Will Never Charm Us” and “Harvesting the Deceased,” will have fans of that style drooling. The double bass attack continues on “Silver Plated Advocate” where Alex Pelletier lets loose with a devastating attack. The arrangement of blastbeats that slam out of the slower middle section of “Immaculate” is also used effectively. THE HEALING PROCESS is never pigeonholed into one type of metal, either. The bridging of genres is most pronounced on “Warm Blooded” and “Retina” where the band effortlessly shifts gears from pummeling grind to a metalcore breakdown that will have even the staunchest leather-and-studs metal dude involuntarily bobbing his head. In the next second, some incredible bass from Sebastien Piche echoes from the speakers and the effect is jaw-dropping.
To say I was taken aback by THE HEALING PROCESS is an understatement. Metalcore bands are popping up like mushrooms on a dewy morning these days and while I dig it, frankly, many tend to become interchangeable with each other. Not so with Despised Icon as they shake up the metal world with stellar production, technically proficient playing, ruthless vocals and songs that actually make you sit up and take notice. If THE HEALING PROCESS doesn’t get this band on the map, there is no justice since I can’t imagine anything better coming out in 2005.
Vive le Quebec!
KILLER KUTS: “Bulletproof Scales,” “Silver Plated Advocate,” “Immaculate,” “Warm Blooded,” “Retina,” “The Sunset Will Never Charm Us,” “Harvesting The Deceased”