Review Summary: This is Despised Icon on steroids.7 of 8 thought this review was well written
I'm hesitant to call any Despised Icon album by genre names like "deathcore," "tech-death," or "grindcore," or even any combination of those. Their three most recent albums have brutally carved an unmistakable niche out for themselves, known to this writer as "Despised Icon metal." The music is so distinctly their own, that it takes less than one riff, one gang shout, or one grind-blast-beat to let the listener know who is currently pounding their ear drums.
Day of Mourning takes all the facets crucial to their sound to the extreme-- it is Despised Icon on steroids. Everything is amplified from their previous efforts. One of the most noteworthy features of this band is their drumming, performed unbelievably well by Alex Pelletier. Pure insanity. It made my brother quit drums. It killed my dog. And got my sister pregnant. The guitar work complements this battery assault quite well-- in both death metal riffing, grind blasts, and breakdowns. The work of the guitarists shows distinct signs of evolution of the course of this band's life. Many subtle techniques are used to perfection, in meaningful ways (showing the obvious maturity of the songwriting) and these are amplified by the excellent production. The guitars ring/cut/saw/slice/explode in perfect clarity, while the rhythm section provides dedicated and ubiquitous support, and, the gang shouts have been mastered. The vocal work is seemingly more raw and definitely more used, but this only adds to the overall sound-- definitely more of a "The Healing Process" sound, compared to an "Ills of Modern Man" sound. Overall, every aspect has been amplified, showing definite signs of progress, and improving the experience as a whole.
Songs like "Eulogy" and "Made of Glass" are standouts for their ability to incorporate all elements that make for a great Despised Icon song. "Sleepless" is a perfect example of the band improving upon previous work. If you thought "Fainted Blue Ornaments" was interesting, this song will surely rattle your brain-- a heavily textured song, combining melody and atmosphere with the unnerving brutality of the band's core sound. The other tracks don't disappoint, and are fully distinguishable, even after the first listen; a problem that plagued "The Healing Process," as well as many other albums in similar genres. Each uses the elements of the toolbox/armory of the band in catchy arrangements that specialize in building blood-pumping tension, soundly crushing your expectations, and keeping you hooked on for more. The use of spastic stop-start slam beats, blazingly fast grind passages, and crushingly bouncy breakdowns all lay the "Despised Icon" scent on thick, and provide a definite grapple for the listen to hold on to (for dear life).
There are admittedly a few shortcomings. The album art is ridiculously stupid, for one-- wtf is going on? I was honestly scared that this album would suck when I first laid eyes upon it. The lyrics to MVP are completely wigger-slam-party busted. The lyrics on "Ills of Modern Man" were challenging and engaging, while this is just a mindless romp. Also another gripe about MVP: the extended one-note breakdown that ends the song-- too much vocals, too boring, too long. A few other brief segments on the album feature these undesirable qualities, but quickly give way to much better passages. My last mention here is that the album features a lot of breakdowns (not in the way that other "-core" bands overly rely on them as a crutch, but more like a "Despised-Icon-rapes-your-face" kinda way), so if you do not like their particular brand of body-slamming breakdowns, I'd suggest approaching with caution.
When one looks back at the catalogue of this band, there is an obvious progression in every aspect-- guitarwork, drumming, vocals, songwriting and production. The band does not re-invent their sound, nor re-invent the wheel. They evolve. This album is a well-oiled, cold, calculating machine mixed with a brutal, unrelenting predator. It will crush you, and you will enjoy it.