Nuclear Blast Records/Universal Music Australia
Reviewed By Chris Gibbs
I am not a fan of deathcore. I am even less a fan of that word being used to describe a sub-genre. I had the same view when the term metalcore first propped up in the late '90s. Yes, the '90s. I don’t care what anyone says as that word was around long before it became a trend in the following decade used to categorise countless bands combining metal & hardcore. I am definitely a fan of some bands that fall into the deathcore brackets but whose existence there I can't fathom. Maybe they at least started there with an early release but sure as hell managed to break free from those shackles of such ridiculous pigeonholing because their continual musical output was and is anything but deathcore.
Nonetheless, in the instance of Montreal, Canada's Despised Icon, I suppose deathcore literally does summarise their sound. Take 50% death metal - bad, bad death metal - and add 50% hardcore and that's exactly what this is, period. While I do know of Despised Icon, I have never heard a single tune from these Canucks, who broke up in December 2010 only to reform in early 2014. They’re now back with their fifth record and first with Nuclear Blast Records, entitled Beast, consisting of six members, classic death metal shirts, baseball caps and big chains, all compiled from their past and present roster
First of all, I don’t understand why on earth there are two vocalists. Neither Steve Marois nor Alex Erian could ever possibly carry the band on their own as they are absolutely god awful vocalists and lyricists. Let’s look at “Inner Demons” for example. As a prelude to the ever predictable breakdown, we’re treated to the words of “fuck my life” and cue breakdown followed by a terrible and far too long trade off on the vocals with one dude growling a word or two, the other dude screaming, succeeded by more breakdowns and a climax of “I am my biggest threat”. I’m still laughing.
One vocalist sounds like an angrier, death metal-tinged Roger Miret from Agnostic Front who I have never been able to dig, so upon hearing this tough guy’s performance and the other aneurysm-inducing screamer, I am pretty sure I know why I have never heard this band. “Bad Vibes” comes out of the speakers, raping my ears with some form of pig grunting. Honestly, what the flying fuck is that? But they won’t stop there, oh no. Let’s throw some more in on “Time Bomb” and ensure we include them on our closing title track. If there is literally anything actually said, one actual word uttered in those moments, I’ll be a pig’s arse. In fact, that’s where it sounds like its coming from.
Let’s not forget the ever so pointless one and a half minute interlude “Dedicated to Extinction”, trying to sound all epic and grandiose before launching into “Grind Forever” in a hopeless attempt to display some form of grind skills with even more immature lyrics like “hanging on my noose like never before”. Again, I’m still laughing. There are some blast beats, double kick work and maybe a dreadful solo or two. However, that doesn’t save this from what it is; being without a doubt one Beast of a turd that simply can’t be polished.