Despised Icon

The Healing Process

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In a rather sardonic (and probably once-in-a-lifetime) moment of good humor, Despised Icon decided to name their second album Healing Process -- when, in fact, it's anything but. No, these nine examples of technical grindcore constitute an inexorable assault on the senses guaranteed to leave the listener bruised and bloodied -- if generally satisfyingly so. The similarly demanding work of death metal mavens Suffocation and Swedish grindcore experts Nasum (though not quite math-metal freaks like the Dillinger Escape Plan) come immediately to mind when listening to labyrinthine tracks like "Silver Plated Advocate," "As Bridges Burn," and "End This Day," their severely dissonant, nearly atonal riffs only sporadically making room for anything approaching melody. And when these moments do arrive, it's often in the shape of piercing harmonics ("Bulletproof Scales") or rapidly spiraling flurries of notes ("Harvesting the Deceased") -- the only exception being third track "Immaculate," which features a short, truly musical passage easily representing the album's greatest anomaly. Despised Icon do have a knack for keeping things interesting, however, constantly altering tempos throughout (with special kudos going to highlights "Warm Blooded" and the cleverly titled "The Sunset Will Never Charm Us") and coming up with quite a few, very groovy riffs (hear a particularly good set in "Retina"), which add some much needed soul to the predominantly mechanical sounds on display here. Actually, that last bit may prove a cautionary point for fans of more, shall we say, "rough and rustic" grindcore, since all of this clinical precision does sort of detract from the music's spontaneous sense of brutality. And since the band's use of not one but two vocalists (one gurgling, the other barking) fails to transition in any discernible form from their concerts on to tape, Despised Icon obviously still have a few improvements to address with their next effort.

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