Despised Icon

Day of Mourning

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Despised Icon have ties to the Quebec technical death metal scene, though they're not truly part of it. Their music has some intricate parts, but it's primarily a display of muscle-headed deathcore brutality. It was produced by the band's former guitarist, Yannick St-Amand, though, and he's worked with acts like Ion Dissonance, Neuraxis, and Beneath the Massacre, so he knows how to get that ultra-clean tech-death sound, which Day of Mourning has in spades. Drummer Alex Pelletier sounds like a machine, whipping through ultra-complex fills and brutal, endurance-testing blastbeats with equal energy, and St-Amand gives him a full, reverby sound rather than the typewriter/practice-pad clicking still too common in extreme metal. Pelletier, in fact, is the primary reason to listen to this album, as the riffs -- even when they shift briefly, tantalizingly, into dissonance -- are mostly of an extremely knuckle-headed-friendly sort, downtuned and grinding like a bulldozer trying to work its way out of a golf course sand trap. Some songs, like "Eulogy," feature decent soloing, but for the most part, the guitars are there to provide a foundation for the two lead vocalists to shout and scream over. They come across like a Run-D.M.C.-style partnership, one going low and the other somewhat higher, with the entire band joining in for gang shouts at times. Within the extremely limited context of deathcore, this is a pretty good album, but "thick-necked dudes riffing and bellowing" is a genre that's offering limited rewards in 2009, so Day of Mourning is best appreciated as a showcase for Alex Pelletier; it would be nice if he could find a side band more worthy of his talents.

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