Sunday, May 27, 2007

Review: Despised Icon - “The Ills Of Modern Man”

Unlike many other bands, Despised Icon has made huge leaps and bounds in terms of quality and creativity between each full-length. Their first full-length, “Consumed by your Poison” was a fairly standard grind album that gained a lot of comparisons to Dying Fetus (although I personally don’t see the connection). By contrast, the next album “The Healing Process” basically took every heavy, harsh, and caustic portion from both death metal and hardcore, and threw them together in tempo-shifting grindy package. I felt that “The Healing Process” had it’s shortcomings, as the nature of the tempo jumps in every song caused many of the songs to blur together, and there was also that lack of hooks as well. “The Healing Process” did manage to win people over on intensity and ferocity though.

Here we are today with “The Ills Of Modern Man”. The album brings over the death metal and hardcore elements just like “The Healing Process” did, but this time around, the tempo shifts aren’t as huge between songs, and making the general speed of the songs a bit more consistent leads to giving individual songs a bit more personality. What’s also new is the slight hint of 90's groove metal in small dashings in all of the songs. You can expect to hear some mid-paced thrash-attacked riff mixed with some death beats that start to get close to double bass triplets. It’s not southern tinged like Pantera, but the groove serves it’s point nonetheless.

Actual song-writing elements have been improved, as there are some songs where parts repeat. It’s not quite a verse-chorus format, as the listener still meets new song parts often. The level at which the songs captivate the listener with something that’s much catchier on this album as opposed to the previous album is also much more apparent.

“The Ills Of Modern Man” is not without it’s flaws. One vocalist in particular (since the band has two) sometimes employs the use of ultra low “pig squeals” also known to some as the “death burp”. While I have nothing against such vocalisations, they’re not clear, as the person doing those vocals needs to shape their mouth in such a way that it’s difficult to pronounce words. Both vocalists also tend to hold their screams all the time as well, rather than allowing any of the words to be spouted out in any quick manner. Doing this all the time really drags the vocals out, and lowers the intensity of harsh vocals as an instrument. Almost all the songs on “The Ills Of Modern Man” have a portion that slows down tremendously, almost moving at the speed of an aging tortoise. This wouldn’t be a problem if perhaps the riffs could catch and take hold, but the slow portions often feel as though the band is holding themselves back, and as a result, almost every gets held back a little as well.

Considering the leaps and bounds in the level of quality Despised Icon has been able to show with each successive release, their next album should land on some “best of” lists for whatever year it might be released. Until that time, “The Ills Of Modern Man” comes pretty close.


Despised Icon
Despised Icon At MySpace
Despised Icon At PureVolume
Despised Icon At Century Media



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