Review: “Purgatory” by Despised Icon

It’s time for the hype around the sixth studio album from Deathcore pioneers Despised Icon to end and the albums reality to grab you by the throat and drag you kicking and screaming down the street. If you think that the rest of the band are going to allow Alex Erin a clean sung chorus like his other band Obey The Brave, then look away now.

The oddly titled “Dernier Soufflé” is a meloncholy introduction piece of acoustic guitar work with a glorious piece of lead which is probably the least expected start to the sixth studio offering from the Deathcore pioneers. But it works and cleanses the palette, clearing the mind for the sheer adrenaline rush onslaught of the album title track “Purgatory”. A vicious hammer blow to the fickle hand of fate that said the band were done before their return with “Beast“. A Deathcore staple in slick style as you’d expect there there are some Slam vocals as well as a rap scream in the thunderous mix of riffs and even a downtempo groove shift. “Light Speed” sees Alex Erin and Steve Marios go head to head with alternating vocal lines while Alex Pelletier beats the living daylights out of the drum kit with some impressive musicanship and bludgeoning foot work. Another downtempo groove shift towards the back end is a classy moment and if you’re not smiling at this point, perhaps you need to check your pulse?

“Slow Burn” sees some Metallic Hardcore influences in the riffs from Eric Jarrin and Ben Landrevelle but it’s given some skull crushing weight with an ocean of blast beats and some Slam growls in stark contrast to the odd rap scream line from Erin that gives the track a real killer bounce. “Snake In The Grass” was the second single we got to hear before the release, calling out the liars, naysayers and back stabbers. It’s a venomous cut as the band throw their bullets in the fire and run like hell. Don’t stand in their way, the flames are coming from the vocal pairings mouths as Marios delivers the pig squeals. “Vies D’Anges” is the Montreal Quebec Canada natives French language cut and it’s so fast out of the gate with Machine Gun drum patterns and riffs a plenty that there is no room to breathe. It’s going to be an instant circle pit live but they’re going to have to give you some warning. The cinematic start to “Moving On” courtesy of sample man Yannick St-Amand is an epic moment to clear the mind once more and you might think you’ve been zapped into Gotham City. The song itself is a thunderstorm of Death Metal riffs with Sebastien Piche delivering a stand out bass performance. It’s slower dirge and face melting solo is manna from heaven.

After the slower track comes the fast one and “Unbreakable” tears a fresh hole in the ear drums with a interspliced rap scream from the hydra esq vocalist duo and a bass solo as the band transition from the Death Metal opening to heavy end Metallic Hardcore with Alex Erin clenching his fist before saying this anxiety is now under control. “Apex Predator” is a necksnappingly headbangable ripper of a track with breakdowns stacked up on each other like pancakes. A couple of well placed pauses during the onslaught allow for tempo shifts without any build up and a couple of solid rap screams underpinned by chugged riffage is a welcome addition. “Legacy” becomes a see who can play faster moment with the drums and guitar going hell for leather in places before the necessary slow down in order that the vocalists can breathe between their vocal lines. It’s not a song about the legacy of the band but a song about carrying on the legacy of those we’ve loved and lost. All killer, no filler “Dead Weight” makes some other bands who call themselves heavy look like p*** water in comparison. A relentless battering of bludgeoning kit work and Death Metal riffs, we get some higher pitched vocals with blood curdling screams and an epic lead part that shows just how much talent Despised Icon have in their musicanship. Underrated? Under appreciated? Not the right time? Perhaps these are the reasons for that hiatus but now they’re back and they are out for blood [9/10]

Track listing

  1. Dernier Soufflé
  2. Purgatory
  3. Light Speed
  4. Slow Burning
  5. Snake In The Grass
  6. Vies D’Anges
  7. Moving On
  8. Unbreakable
  9. Apex Predator
  10. Legacy
  11. Dead Weight

“Purgatory” by Despised Icon is out now via Nuclear Blast

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