Despised Icon
The Ills of Modern Man

Now this is what I’m talking about. This is real progress right here. No trendy zeitgeist clamoring, no superfluous adornments that pose as surrogates for progression, no sir, this is the real thing, pure, honest, progression. Seeing that Despised Icon have been making an unholy racket for a while now and furthermore seeing that this is the so called ‘tricky,’ album (i.e. number 3) one would feel that if they were to botch this one, they’d be confined to critical condemnation for the rest of their mortal existence. Thankfully they have dismissed as well as dismantled the trepidation and dread that comes with this step in a band’s career and have conceived a beautifully balanced, beautifully brutal, beast of a record.

What’s impressive is how unaffected the band are by the current musical climate, in that they have not only been able to create a record that stands well above their peers and pretenders but have made a record that is so wholly impressive that it would pull most enthusiasts of extreme music (unless your poison is the grimmest, grimiest black metal in the world where production is a non existent concept). Most importantly is that when you place The Ills Of Modern Man, in the CD player, the sound is unmistakable and given that so many bands are now squealing, grinding, breeing and breaking it down, it’s a commendable feat that Despised Icon have remained identifiable.

At the forefront as always is that impressive vocal range which continues to astound me in its chameleon like quality to bend and mingle with the music that accompanies it. Neither vocalist ever sounds out of place, knowing so expertly when to alter the tone, pitch or pace, duly demonstrated on the opener ‘In The Arms Of Perdition.’ Before launching into the track’s finale, the vocals compliment perfectly the changes of musical mood. As the riffs morph from spasmodic spasms into churning crunches the vocals undergo a similar transition that brings forth an even greater feel of heaviness, and then of course the breakdown hits.

Of course a focal point that is going to create discussion and perhaps even disgruntlement on this band is the much lamented breakdown, of which there are plenty. These aren’t your regular MTV2 breakdowns though, no, no, rather these are seismic, churning molten masses of shining metallic fury that fill this listener with sheer glee each time one hits, particular favorites being the close of ‘Furtive Monologue,’ and the crushing opening of ‘Sheltered Reminiscence.’

Say what you want about the breakdowns, about this band, whatever, I have spun this album so many times already and it has yet to grow old, and sits as yet another adept achievement of this band’s already highly impressive catalogue.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Benjamin DeBlasi
June 28th, 2007

Comments

  1. Commented by: fightingmike

    this record really grew on me and it is my favorite deathcore/metalcore record aside from The Red Chord’s first record. The recording is massive and clean. The songwriting here is an even blend of Cryptopsy, Hatebreed, Dying Fetus, and a little bit of the pig squeal deathcore fad shit, but it doesnt bother me on here as much for some reason.


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