The Hard Word: The Beast will arise
DESPISED ICON created a name for themselves as a genre pioneering 'deathcore' band and you would be foolish to ignore this 'reawakening' beast.
The band have signed to Nuclear Blast and on July 22nd will release 'Beast'.
Believe me when I tell you that Despised Icon will be on people's lips in the coming months.
Throughout the album, deep grooves reminiscent of the best of OBITUARY, DYING FETUS, INTERNAL BLEEDING, or even a BIOHAZARD, pulse within the fierce aggression.
Speaking over the phone vocalist Alex Erian sounds excited and passionate.
He has just come off a 12 hour music video shoot for the song Bad Vibes.
He said it was a lot easier than the video shoot for Aftermath, which while representing the bands 'Great white northern' roots, was filmed at -28 degrees Celsius and ended with half the band being sick.
"It was interesting making this album because normally we still don't know the album title till after the recording is done," Alex said.
"But this time it was the opposite.
"Everything popped out of nowhere and the artwork is a great representation of that.
"As humans we have an instinct to fear change.
"And this album is about taking things one day at a time and keeping your head above water and not letting negative experiences slow you down."
This imagery has fuelled the direction of the album and is a very apt image to keep in mind while listening.
And interestingly the album's pure green cover with its ominous picture of a beast - designed Alexandre Goule - is an ode to Suffocation who had used a similar colour scheme.
Imagine a creature laying dormant beneath the earth, in an inhuman slumber.
Waking and seeking to restore some sense of order to its surroundings, the creature adopts the destructive nature it witnesses in man and begins a vengeful quest for power.
"Sonically and visually we see eye to eye with Alex and I've been in a bunch bands with him and he is just killing it at the moment."
Alex said the album was fast and furious and said the album represented the best of what Despised Icon have to offer.
"We produced four albums between 2002 and 2010 and we played live at lot of festivals and with a lot of bands and some of the stuff really grew on us and some of the stuff didn't," Alex said.
"We saw what worked live and this album has elements of that," he said.
'Bad Vibes' is one of those songs where you can really hear that 'New York hardcore' sound and it puts the impossible sounding shred workouts on the backburner in favour of brute force.
"We rarely acknowledge our hardcore sound because we are very vocal about our death metal roots - but this album also has that more simple "Madball', "Biohazard" influence in there," Alex said.
"Talking with the director for 'Bad Vibes' I was really inspired to reference those old Obituary, Biohazard, Sepultura videos with weird camera angles, no ultra hd, and just try keep that old school feel," he said.
"Having said that though, the album also explores some of our most technical work.
"Back to Roots is one of the most technical songs we have ever written and Innner demons has really strange time signatures in it."
Listening to it now you really can hear how 'Inner Demons' will have guitar teachers and drum instructors pulling their hair out in frustrated angst.
'The Aftermath' kicks off the album with brutal immediacy, encompassing the full scope of what's ahead with unrelenting attack and classic death metal flair.
There's also melody to be found in songs like the French-language 'Drapeau Noir.'
The dual vocal style DESPISED ICON fans love is as unrestrained as ever.
"This is not an album you sit in the dark listening to with candles and stuff," Alex comments.
"I feel the perfect setting to listen to this record is at a live Despised Icon who.
"It is not overproduced.
"In the past we fell into the trap of overproducing albums - four part harmonies trying to get every sound perfect, analysing sections of guitar and drum beats.
"But this album is very faithful to how the band sounds live.
"It is more organic and it sounds bigger, for instance the guitar tones are a lot less digital.
"And I know I am not really supposed to say this but I really like the way there are small mistakes on the album that we could have gone back to fix but didn't."
DESPISED ICON have now boldly reclaim their legacy without reservation or apology.
According to Alex the time apart has only strengthened their resolve when it comes to the purity of what DESPISED ICON means to them as well as to their worldwide fans.
"We want to give back to the fans so although touring is a lot harder, we have done two live session videos, documentaries and official music videos.
"The fans really kick started this. "
And it looks like we might just see Despised Icon on Australian shores sometime next year.
To read more go to: http://www.northernstar.com.au/topic/the-hard-word/