Review Summary: Where other bands imitate each other's performances, creating an endless tunnel of repetitiveness and originality, Despised Icon shines a light through with The Ills of Modern Man.Despised Icon
: A band filtered into a genre used to summarize a mainly Death Metal band with hardcore and grind influences. Recently, this genre has drastically expanded, with many repetitive, generic, and frankly irrelevant bands. The genre usually involves little to no clean vocals, which remains true for Despised Icon
. Therefore, anyone who is not attracted to that style of music, this album is not for you.
debut The Healing Process
was a fair album, both in my opinion and in its overall review average. This time around, Despised Icon
seems to have somewhat matured with their music, while not eliminating some of the better qualities on the previous attempt. It also reflects some of those qualities which hindered The Healing Process
's ability to be greater than it was. Now when I say matured, I do not mean that the pig squeals are gone, because the vocals are very similar to their debut. By mature, I am more referring to the organizational sound of the music. Specifically, the instruments tend to support each other more in the album.
Instrumentally, the album is usually a quite pleasurable listen. The drums are outstanding, but they don't take away from the guitars as many bands focus on the double pedal aspect of drumming. Unlike in many metalcore albums, the drums do not sound as triggered, therefore do not drown out the guitar work. On the other hand, the guitar work itself is sometimes rather dull, with "Chug Chug Chug" (if you will) style of playing. Sometimes, this fits the atmosphere to a song, such as in A Fractured Hand
, but in other cases grows repetitive and boring. The solos tend to be rather impressive, however they don't usually last for too long. So in the way of guitars, don't be expecting any As Blood Runs Black
or such. The vocals however are formidable, which you would hope considering they have two full time vocalists. Alex Erian
has a powerful mid-range scream, but is not very diverse in pitch. Steve Marois
on the other end of the table has a large range of unique high pitch screams, and even growls which are a pleasure to listen to. He also executes Pig Squeals frequently on the album, which outdo that of most other pig squeals you will hear in a band. Most of his vocal work is inhaling, which contrasts that of Alex Erian
, but leaves a good taste in your mouth.
Lyrically the album tells of past-times and hardships that may have been experienced. It is also evident in songs such as the title track, and A Fractured Hand
of self-insight and reflection upon past experiences. The lyrics remain emotional and add to the atmosphere of the music (where decipherable) while remaining on topic and flow with the album. The album title itself The Ills Of Modern Man
gives a good idea of what the album with be like lyrically, and the album remains true to its roots.
The album as a whole tends to be repetitive, yet it still works. The formula the band uses is a fun listen, while remaining mainly Death Metal. The hardcore influence appears in the band mainly by the use of breakdowns, which are usually the slower sort of deal. The major problem with this album is that it does not do much more than I described. On the bright side, its better than bands that just have some songs that are just blast beating, pig squealing, and then an obserd number of breakdowns. Personally, I'm not one of those guys who need a breakdown in every song, so eliminating a few here and there on this album would never be a bad thing. I admit breakdowns tend to have a cool feel to them, and its "br00tal" none the less, but (besides the drumming) its not a highlight of any band's musicianship. This remains with Despised Icon as well, although where they do have those usual breakdowns, they do it much better than many other bands. The atmosphere to the album is usually anger and sorrow. One thing I will credit the band for is the use of “screeches” on the guitar, or really sharp, off sounding chords that make you grit your teeth, and get the message of a stressful, just completely let loose sort of feel. Other bands usually fail miserably at this atmosphere, but Despised Icon
pulls it off with precision. You also get the sense that Despised Icon
loves what they are doing, with frequent “gang” vocals and chanting, specifically in Fainted Blue Ornaments
. And as we all know, the music is a hell of a lot better when the band is enjoying playing their music as much as we enjoy hearing it.
demonstrate good musicianship, potential, and redeeming qualities with The Ills of Modern Man
. Instrumentally, the album is slightly above average, and lyrically the album is rather powerful. The band does sometimes overdue it with breakdowns,but I've learned only to accept this among the genre. The album also executes an appropriate atmosphere. Despised Icon
sure does it a hell of a lot better than most other bands that drag the “Deathcore” title with them, so if relentlessly brutal music is your thing, pick this up.