Despised Icon is a Canadian band mixing metalcore, death metal, and grindcore, if not more, and features members of Neuraxis, In Dying Days, and Heaven's Cry. Speaking of the terribly underrated progressive metal act Heaven's Cry, I had no idea their guitarist Eric Jarrin, known for his incredible technique and jazzy style, was also capable of ripping it up like the best of them. After hearing this disc, I found out he and the Heaven's Cry drummer were no death metal newcomers as they played in a death metal band called Necrotic Mutation in the early to mid-90's.
The Healing Process is Despised Icon's sophomore release, their debut being Consumed By Your Poison. They also released an EP and a split release thereafter before signing to Century Media for The Healing Process. In many ways, the material presented on this disc harks back to their earlier work, except that it has stronger sonics and musical precision. The songs are quite short, all under four minutes except one. The band loses no time to make their point: they start out with a relentless slab of agression underscored by mighty double bass drums and unbreakable bass grooves. On top of that, there is Jarrin and St-Amand's crushing guitar riffery to back the duel vocals of Alexandre Erian and Steve Marois. The singing is right up there with the likes of Dying Fetus, especially during the growled parts, but the band also sticks to their more metalcore-inspired screaming style. One song where this combination works perfectly is the brutally heavy "Bulletproof Scales", alternating between blood-curdling screams and deep, throat-ripping growls, and giving way to intricate riff and lead work along with rumbling bass and drum battery. Almost like a Dillinger Escape Plan song, it segues into "Silver Plated Advocate". Replete with lightning fast drums, mind-bending chord progressions, and rapid-fire riffery, the song briefly slows down at the end for a sludgy outro. Thus, the character of the album is introduced.
Confident they've made a strong impression, the band follow up their material with slightly more interesting compositions, "Immaculate" being one of them. Though the overdone screaming and heavy metalcore intro may turn some off, the band plows through great breaks and muted riffs only to put forth a nice acoustic section and some spoken clean vocals during the middle. However, to make up for it, they finish the song off with their heaviest playing yet. The cool grooves and primal rhythm work of "Warm Blooded" and the almost grindcore drive of "Retina" form the backbone of the album before the six-piece opts for a few more technical numbers like "The Sunset Will Never Charm Us", full of choppy riffs; and "Harvesting the Deceased", noteworthy for its stunning sweeping and picking.
It would be unfair to lump Despised Icon into the metalcore category based on their short songs fueled by slightly technical riffs and aggressive vocals, but they would certainly impress a good many of the genre's fans not to mention listeners of Strapping Young Lad, Dying Fetus, and Dillinger Escape Plan. That said, Despised Icon doesn't quite sound like any of them. They have their own thing going for sure.
The production is excellent. The album was mixed by Dagenais (Kataklysm) and mastered by Alan Douches (Dillinger Escape Plan).
- Bulletproof Scales
- Silver Plated Advocate
- Warm Blooded
- The Sunset Will Never Charm Us
- As Bridges Burn
- Harvesting the Deceased
- End This Day