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Imagine a creature laying dormant beneath the earth, in an inhuman slumber since a time long forgotten. This creature reawakens, cracks up through the ground and finds a world it barely recognizes. Chaos, disorder, brutality, bloodthirst, and terror are all around. 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. 

Mythology, fable, and metaphor collide with BEAST, a blistering new album marking the return of DESPISED ICON. The genre-defining band is fully reawakened, poised to recapture the crown with the monstrous and merciless might of their potent expression. Featuring the men responsible for most of the band’s now-classic death metal catalog, BEAST is a vicious commentary on the state of the world and the state of music itself. 

This is old school Despised Icon reminiscent of The Healing Process (2005) and The Ills of Modern Man (2007), but cast through an ultra-modern lens, carrying with it the experience and driven purpose of a band secure in their identity and their legacy. Without sacrificing the creative leaps of what many feared would be their final album, Day of Mourning (2009), Despised Icon renew their focus on the collision of dual vocals, technical wizardry, precision dexterity and massive bottom end they helped to pioneer. 

“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. “Inner Demons” will have guitar teachers and drum instructors pulling their hair out in frustrated angst, while songs like “Bad Vibes” put the impossible sounding shred workouts on the backburner in favor of brute force. Throughout the album, deep grooves reminiscent of the best of Obituary, Dying Fetus, Internal Bleeding, or even Biohazard pulse within the fierce aggression. There’s a 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. 

For many extreme music fans, it may be hard to remember a time before Despised Icon, given the massive influence they’ve subsequently had on the genre. But when the group formed back in 2002 and released Consumed by Your Poison the same year, there was little intersection between the sounds of classic death metal and the brute force of hardcore. The “metalcore” genre had been in full swing for some time and plenty of those bands had experimented with elements of death metal. But Despised Icon was among the first to fully embrace the signatures of the traditional death metal formula combined with a relentless embrace of breakdowns, part of an emerging new sound. 

Despised Icon steadily built a following through hard touring with Cryptopsy, Suffocation, Immolation, Deicide, Morbid Angel, Behemoth, Hatebreed, and Napalm Death. The diversity of sounds demonstrated by that list of bands is evidence of Despised Icon’s broad appeal. Before too long, a new subgenre bubbled up from the underground, built around bands like Despised Icon, Suicide Silence, All Shall Perish, Carnifex and Job For A Cowboy. Like many genre tags, “deathcore” became something of a controversial and uncomfortable albatross for many of the associated bands at various times. But the impact of what is unquestionably an exciting variation of extreme music is undeniable. 

Despised Icon now boldly reclaim their legacy without reservation or apology. Since the time of the band’s dissolution – the result of professional burnout, the shifting priorities, and responsibilities that come with adulthood and the need for a creative recharge – the group’s members were able to explore different textures with groups like Obey The Brave and Heaven’s Cry. 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. 

From the savagely unhinged vocals to the inexhaustible pound of the blast beats, Despised Icon’s new album is a swift reminder that this band is one of the originators of a powerful movement in extreme metal. The BEAST is reawakened and ready to rumble. Despised Icon is back, ladies and gents, with no frills, no bullshit, and just total power.

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