Sound — 8
While some metal bands thrive on speed to deliver a brutal assault on the senses, Despised Icon has taken a varied approach. It's true that the double bass pedal seems possessed on the band's 4th full-length studio album Day of Mourning, but the band is creative enough to restrain themselves when it comes to the core songwriting. Guitarists Eric Jarrin and Ben Landreville provide a heavy helping of impressive guitar riff work, but the standout moments usually come when the vocals and drums are pretty much the only thing being heard. It's certainly more of a stark, raw sound that is produced, but it's an effective one at the same time. Day of Mourning begins in a rather restrained way with Les Temp Changent, which takes a proper amount of time to unleash Despised Icon's secret weapon: the percussive work of Alexandre Pelletier. The opening track, like pretty much all of the CD, is driven by the unusual rhythmic changes and makes for a wild ride at times. As was mentioned earlier, Despised Icon doesn't necessarily feel like obscenely fast tempos although there a few of those moments make for better songs, and this choice also makes for a much easier transition to the breakdowns. The guitar work of Jarrin and Landreville is a bit more subtle than some other bands on the scene, and they pick and choose key moments to insert licks. In a way, that selective process makes you appreciate their work even more. While they provide some great chugging rhythms, pinch harmonics and sweeping arpeggios throughout Day of Mourning, the highlights are heard via tornado riffs in Entre Le Bien Et Le Mal (which eventually transitions into a more classical metal approach) and a prominent solo in Black Lungs.
Lyrics — 7
In terms of the lyrical content, Despised Icon has once again added in a few songs featuring French, which makes for always a unique twist to the deathcore sound. While many of the tracks do lean toward having more of a dramatic flair, at least in terms of the subject matter (Day of Mourning, Eulogy), the first single MVP delivers the message in frank, straightforward terms with lines like I must fill the void; Your bedroom, I enjoyed; Please don't take this wrong; For you, I wrote this song; So long.
Overall Impression — 9
In terms of being skilled musically, the six members of Despised Icon are top notch. While the percussion takes on a crazy life of its own (and that is meant in the best possible way), the guitars and bass often go in their own direction. While there seems to be a lot going on at times and often the guitars are mixed more into the background (Made of Glass), it makes for a fascinating listen. If you're not into deathcore and don't care for the cookie monster vocals, Despised Icon won't be your cup of tea. But if you can appreciate a drummer that seems to create a distinct melody just with the double bass pedal, you're in for a treat.