Despised Icon - “Beast”
Listen on iTunes or purchase through Nuclear Blast
No time has passed for Montreal deathcore kings Despised Icon. Beast, their first album in seven years, is a half-hour review everything that was good about deathcore’s heyday without nostalgia or sentimentality clouding our view. This thing chugs, slams, and brees like your favorite album of 2008, ignoring the eight-string craze and all the clean atmospheric bullshit that’s been gunking up heavy -core since Despised Icon fractured in 2009 following the aptly-titled Day of Mourning. “The Aftermath,” “Inner Demons,” and “Drapeau Noir” rip through extra-chunky riffs and blasts with nary an undistorted note in sight, flashing a prominent hardcore sheen between the bludgeoning breakdowns and death metal shrapnel. These guys were masters of the dichotomy and often blurred the line between deathcore’s parent subgenres almost to erasure. That hasn’t changed. “Time Bomb” and “One Last Martini” ooze the kind of neck-snapping grooves we all took for granted back in the day, while the unbelievably tight “Grind Forever” could slug it out with Nails at their most pissed off. At its very best, Beast merges The Healing Process with the band’s crowning achievement in The Ills of Modern Man, but it isn’t content just to imitate past success: apart from the amped-up hardcore influences, the album grows more and more technical as it goes on, upping the tempo and notes per riff even as its breakdowns, the lifeblood of the subgenre, grow simpler and increasingly savage. They reach their apex with the album’s concluding title track: a towering, slavering monster of a song that ends as viciously and abruptly as it begins.
- Brian L.