A band being from your area code isn’t always a prerequisite to adoration. Every individual should love something. Take Montreal deathcore heavyweight Despised Icon (DI) for example. Though I live and breathe a great many deathcore acts, this is a band I have never gotten into for many simple reasons. Today, we’re here to watch me ‘grumpy-pants-my-way-through’ their second release since their return to the joyride that is music making in Purgatory.
This record has come at an insurmountably interesting time for deathcore as a whole. Records have been released that have shaped the way of metal to come forever. Before the defecation begins, respect must always be paid where respect is due. Rhythm sections are as nauseatingly earth-shattering as Despised has always been. Alex Pelletier still absolutely blasts the fuck out of those drums and, love it or hate it, it’s still impressive. Though the mastering quality is a little less than to be desired, there’s a very unique sense of clarity in Purgatory that speaks to the DI way as it has always been over their seventeen-year career. Ultimately, it’s a fucking deathcore record the way DI has always done deathcore records. That being said, a simple record merits a simple review.
Though DI have been revered as titans in their respective scene among fans and peers alike, I personally have always had a qualm with a lack of growth from record to record, in which Purgatory feels almost too 2009. When a genre grows, you the musician have to then make the choice if you’re going to grow with it. DI have very obviously chosen to stay the course in which I have to mark some simple but painful points none the less. There is a pure and inescapable lack of actual riffing here with the exception of power violence balance “Vies D’Anges,” which I must obviously tip my hat to the peppering of homegrown culture use throughout various points of the record. Each song from bar to bar feels like its stuck in perpetual chuggage followed by more lifeless yet speedy chugging to match Pelletier’s signature blasts. Additionally, and I will be burned at the stake for this, I’m a firm believer that screamers have evolved from making sounds just for the fucking sake of making sounds. Though I adore a pig squeal as much as the next brainless fuck, it should be used as a well-placed additive, and not one’s signature move, as is done (nauseatingly) throughout the entire effort.
True blue (and white with a little fleur de lise) Despised Icon fans will love this record, because it’s everything that they’ve always done, nothing more, maybe even honestly a little bit less. I, on the other hand, can’t help but feel like this is a classic moment where acts that once looked up to the Quebec deathcore Obi Wan have since Darth Vader’d the shit out of this band, thus finding myself in desperate need of a revisit of from some of this year’s powerhouses. Insert shameless promotion of the stacked ass Bucketlist 2019 Top 10 listings COMING SOOOOOOOON!!!
Written by Jason Greenberg
*edited by Danielle Kenedy