Artist: Despised Icon
Defining some bands is nearly impossible to do. Many modern metalheads want to put a label on every band they see; this band is hardcore, that band is metalcore, this band is djent-post-grindcore infused with a splash of techno-synth-jazz. While that genre probably describes some band out there, that’s not this article’s main focus. This article is to describe a band that is the pinnacle of what deathcore is about: Despised Icon. Now, deathcore has had many different faces and facades throughout the years. Bands like Slaughter to Prevail or Shadow of Intent emphasize either the chuggier, breakdown-oriented side of deathcore or relish in the more melodic and symphonic side of the genre. Despised Icon have always incorporated everything that has been blended into deathcore since its conception: pig squeals, high-speed diminished riffage, gravity blasts and blasts beats, breakdowns, and so much more. It’s hard to keep track of exactly everything that Despised Icon has incorporated into their discography. One of the largest emphases they incorporate, however, is a more hardcore vibe within the vocal realm. Over the course of their career, even after taking a long hiatus only to return with positive reception on their previous record Beast, Despised Icon are back with another album meant to devastate households everywhere.
Purgatory, overall, keeps the same integral aggression as Despised Icon’s previous releases. Having gotten into them from their release, The Ills of Modern Man, many older fans will relate their new material to their old sound. One thing that Despised Icon gets right is they stick true to their sound. They’ve found a unique take on deathcore and have a driving momentum to pummel the listener into a pulp. Songs like Snake in the Grass and Moving On focus more on the hardcore-inspired technicality the band flaunts in previous releases. An interesting dichotomy between what modern deathcore is about and what Despised Icon is aiming to perform; thick, gut-wrenching bass lines and pump-up lyrics riddle the tracks. The most unique and different track from Purgatory is the self-titled track. Having a rather diminished, demonic feel to the intro riff exemplifies the feeling of being in purgatory. Despised Icon have proven themselves masters of their craft, exalting their technical ability in songs like Lightspeed and Legacy.
Overall, I was a huge fan of this album. There’s a lot of new flavor added to the instrumentation and much vocal adrenaline pumping through the album. Purgatory is the pinnacle of what Despised Icon is about: keeping up with what their entire discography is about while simultaneously incorporating new aspects to keep their sound fresh and exciting. Purgatory is not an album you want to miss and is definitely one to creep into people’s Album of the Year lists. One of the most interesting aspects of the album is the artwork; some bands have been incorporating the Renaissance Art aesthetic within their album covers and I’m a huge fan. Renaissance art is some of my favorite art to witness, and bands including this new dimension into the world of Metal is going to take the world my storm.
FFO: Anaal Nakrath, Waking the Cadaver, Hatebreed