ALBUM REVIEW: Beast – Despised Icon

In what was widely regarded as a shocking announcement at the time has finally come to be a reality. DESPISED ICON have finally released the follow up to Day of Mourning and aptly titled it Beast. With the band slowly slipping into the ever-lasting cycle of ‘comeback’ tours that were never as exclusive as they were made to feel, the cogs behind the scenes were always ticking away, working on this creation, waiting for it to be unleashed.

Remaining a beacon for all extreme metal fans, DESPISED ICON have named the album well. The Aftermath kicks off with ample ferocity, showing that rather than follow the crowd and aim for a melodic sound, they have regressed back into even darker musical territories. Whilst still retaining some of their beatdown sound of old, Beast is of a more straightforward death metal pedigree. Drapeu Noir takes clear influences from black metal whilst Time Bomb and One Last Martini are almost straight up grindcore tracks.

It’s refreshing to see a band from a genre that has slowly been watered down by an incessant want for melody. It’s also rather fitting that it be the genres forefathers that bring the brutality back into the genre. The vocal delivery across the whole album has taken a different approach too, often sounding more akin to present day SIKTH. This sporadic performance and chaotic vocal lines add another edge to the brutality and also allows for interesting patterns to emerge in the music. This is a tremendously technical release from the Canadians; with the blistering drum track and mind-melting fretwork from the guitarists.

Whilst going in what is arguably the most logical creative direction from their original starting point, there are still a few clichés that prevail throughout Beast. Namely, the need to include not one, but two filler track in this 10-track album. The first of the two is called Dedicated To Extinction and is utterly pointless, serving as a massive speed bump mid album and just ruins all momentum made up by the excellent songs that precede it. Doomed is slightly more forgivable mostly because upon first listen it blends well with the feel of the album and serves its job as a glorified introduction to the title track that rounds the album off.

Those two tracks are negligible though, because by the end of Beast they will have been bludgeoned from your memory. The sheer monstrous brutality on the 8 tracks of this album is palpable and done with expert precision. Moving away from their deathcore beginnings into far more mature pastures means gaining any new fans is unlikely, but at this point in the bands career it’s doubtful that was even on their mind. It certainly isn’t perfect and the sound mix can often become a incoherent mess of blast beats and tremolo picking but DESPISED ICON’s Beast lives up to its namesake.

Rating: 7/10

Despised Icon - Beast

Beast is set for release on July 22nd via Nuclear Blast Records.

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