Despised Icon - Day Of Mourning
Century Media
Technical Deathcore
10 songs (34:59)
Release year: 2009
Despised Icon, Century Media
Reviewed by Goat

For all its popularity, the appeal of slam-dancing to a soundtrack of samey-sounding bands who rip off Suffocation has yet to make itself known to the majority of underground Metalheads (amongst who I proudly count myself) but listening to the latest (fourth) full-length from Canadian crew Despised Icon I’m closer to understanding it than ever before. The band have been around for a while, sharing splits with the likes of Bodies In The Gears Of The Apparatus and Ion Dissonance, whilst vocalist Alexandre Erian used to drum for Neuraxis, yet even though 2007’s The Ills Of Modern Man was a great bit of breakdown–focused modern Death Metal, there seems to be something stopping them from gaining ascendancy over the other Deathcore bands out there. Quite what that is, I have no idea – the band are tight and focused, switching time signatures like they’re Tech-Death and having gang shouts that genuinely touch at the hairs on the back of your neck. The entire Metal community suffers from an overdose of breakdowns, yet when well-applied they can still have the desired effect, and although there’s not a song on Day Of Mourning which lacks that towtruck-friendly mentality, it’s still one of the better bits of Deathcore that I’ve heard this year.

Why is this? Well, for one the band have a leg firmly entrenched in Death Metal territory. MVP, for example, comes over distinctly Niley at several moments and has the sort of crushing drive that’s not upset even when the music steps to one side so the moshpit mincers can get their kung-fu on. Despised Icon are pretty damned skilled at their chosen instruments, especially drummer Alexandre Pelletier, whose stickmanship is the stuff that giants are made from – he won’t freeze time and prevent that errant fist from smashing into the face of some poor kid who is at his first ‘core show, but listening at home there’ll more than a couple of chins being stroked. Guitarists Éric Jarrin and Ben Landreville have got it going on, too, chugging out those chunky riffs with style and aplomb and even finding time for the odd solo here and there. Weird moments like the dissonance on Made Of Glass add much, and the frequent grooves will have even the most stubborn of you headbanging until your neck snaps like Princess Di in a car crash, and whilst the vaunted hot dual-vocalist action ultimately doesn’t come off to much (both seeming to growl and yell with equal vigour so it's hard to tell who's who) the duo are effective. The petting zoo noises are at a complete minimum, thankfully, so there are no donkey brees or pig snorts to test your patience, just good honest Hardcore action in amidst the Death Metal.

And really, this combination makes for a pretty enjoyable album. It’s intense, powerful music that rattles along without room for the weak to tag along at the end, opening blast Le Temps Changent doing more to destroy stragglers with its gang shouts alone than many others do with an entire album. Fine, Day Of Mourning as a whole may be slicker than the ‘technical death, grind and hardcore infusion’ of before, but even so there’s plenty of variety here, plenty of jagged-edged riffage and subtle-yet-exhilarating basswork to excite those Metalheads capable of listening out for it. The rest will be throwing themselves vigorously against the moshpit walls, and for once I really can’t blame them – music this physical is made to dance to, and the skilful musicianship and experienced songwriting is just the cherry on the top of Despised Icon’s big beefy protein-flavoured cake. If you despise the shaven-headed, muscular mob of Metalheadom that typically enjoys this sort of thing, then I seriously advise you to stay away for this Day Of Mourning – you’re but a shave and a workout away from joining their ranks, especially with a soundtrack as good as this.

Killing Songs :
MVP, All For Nothing, Eulogy, Made Of Glass, Diva Of Disgust
Goat quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Despised Icon that we have reviewed:
Despised Icon - The Healing Process reviewed by Jason and quoted 81 / 100
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