Monday, April 11th, 2005
Vancouver, BC Canada
***Live Review & All Photos By Lord of The Wasteland
Going down to Vancouver?s The Brickyard at night is akin to taking your life in your own hands. It is sandwiched a block between Gastown, a tourist trap if there ever was one, and East Hastings Street, the worst stretch of road in Canada with drug addicts, prostitutes and other such illicit goings-on right out in the open. Most people avoid that area like the plague during the daytime so venturing down after dark takes some courage (or stupidity depending how you look at it). Needless to say, I was a bit apprehensive to be seen walking to my car with a $1,000 camera around my neck but in the name of metal, I soldiered on?
Montreal ?deathcore? act, Despised Icon, just released their BRILLIANT new CD (and Century Media debut), THE HEALING PROCESS, on April 5th and since receiving the promo back in early March, it has barely left my CD player. The band is grindcore-based but adds in elements of technical and brutal death, metalcore and even some experimental stuff. Very unique indeed. Members are drawn from various Montreal-area bands, most notably, technical death pioneers, Neuraxis.
For their extensive cross-Canada tour, Despised Icon hooked up with fellow Quebecers Ion Dissonance and what was supposed to be Premonitions of War. Unfortunately, Premonitions of War dropped off the tour before it even began due to ?visa issues,? so local bands were opening the shows. For this date, a four-piece screamo/math metal outfit from Abbotsford called A Textbook Tragedy opened and they seemed like they didn?t even want to be there. The vocalist, Kai Turmann, made non-stop remarks about how ?shitty? his band was and they played sloppily without any seriousness whatsoever throughout their painfully-long thirty minute set. The band?s drummer, Nick Yacyshyn, was phenomenal and seems to possess some genuine talent but the rest of the band should either give it up or take things a bit more seriously. Until they do, no one else will.
During the load-in and setup of A Textbook Tragedy, I chatted with Despised Icon vocalist, Alex Erian, who gave me some insight on the new record, the tour (the band played a ?house? show in Whistler the night before to 30 people!) and the woes of being ?merch boy.? Erian really seems to have a handle on the business end of the band?booking tours, arranging merchandising and making sure guys like me are set up to cover their shows! He also mentioned that it was just confirmed that Despised Icon would be opening the Deicide/Immolation tour in place of Misery Index who dropped off, so that will be major exposure Stateside for them. Erian was very cool and accommodating so hopefully we can sit down to do a proper interview soon.
Only about fifty people were in attendance, partly due to the fact it was a Monday, partly the choice of venue and the fact that the show seemed to be shuffled back and forth between The Asbalt and The Brickyard the week prior. The Deicide tour will see the band at a better venue (The Commodore) so hopefully the crowd will be a bit fuller. Those in attendance were treated to a thirty minute set that saw the band unleash seven tracks culled from THE HEALING PROCESS and their Relapse split with Bodies In The Gears of The Apparatus. With two vocalists, Erian handles the bulk of the microphone duties while Steve Marois takes care of the inhumanly low, guttural stuff associated with grind. Yannick St-Amand, who also produced THE HEALING PROCESS, is an unassuming bearded figure who looks like a guy you?d find in a college coffee house but, man, can he unleash some riffs! Alex Pelletier is also notable as being a powerhouse drummer. Never content to be swallowed up by the might of his bandmates, Pelletier really has some skills on drums and is able to flawlessly work a roll, blastbeat, double bass or anything else in the band?s music. Erian handed over drum duties to Pelletier after the band?s 2002?s CONSUMED BY POISON debut and, while hearing his work on Neuraxis? A PASSAGE INTO FORLORN, Erian could not have found a better replacement.
Once the band hit the stage, the hardcore crowd emerged with swinging arms, spin kicks and other such shenanigans which just dumbfounds me. I thought there would be at least ONE metalhead there aside from myself but this was definitely a hardcore crowd. Erian mentioned that their music can be difficult because the metal kids hate the hardcore stuff and the hardcore kids hate the metal stuff but Despised Icon never pander to either group and their music should be readily accepted to either a chain-wallet sporting kid in a sideways hat or long-haired metalhead in a Cannibal Corpse shirt. The Deicide gig will certainly have the metal crowd out in full force so it will be interesting to see their reaction to the band?s music.
Unfortunately, everything got a late start and Despised Icon didn?t finish their set until 11:30. Being that I still had a 45-minute drive ahead of me and had to be up at 5:00 for work, I passed on Ion Dissonance, so my apologies to them. As for Despised Icon, check them out on their Canadian tour or on the North American Deicide tour through the summer. They are definitely a bright spot on the Canadian metal scene and deserve to be held in high regard amongst fellow grind cohorts Dying Fetus.
One Last Martini (But You?ll Never Notice)
Silver Plated Advocate
***Thanks to Alex Erian of Despised Icon for photo approval and George at Century Media for the ticket.
***Visit Despised Icon?s official site