Despised Icon: The Ills of Modern Man

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Despised Icon: The Ills of Modern Man
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Despised Icon: The Healing Process
Deathcore, Grindcore
Century Media Records
May 22nd, 2007
Release length: 39:51
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After the rather successful second album, The Healing process, Despised Icon seems to be really embracing the current deathcore trend for their third full length studio release The Ills Of Modern Man. On this release, we see the band pushing further with it’s music, making it stronger, but at the same time taking some steps backwards towards a more generic and well accepted Deathcore sound, which is actually rather saddening since the music on this release really had the potential to bring the band into the metal spotlight and forefront of the Deathcore movement.

The Ills Of Modern Man is a sound album musically, aside much of the breakdowns, really focusing on bringing a furious sound to the mix. The problem is that, while previous attempts have held a more death metal sound a good majority of the time instead of a hardcore sound, this one focuses on the quickly becoming traditional blend of the two styles, focusing on grindcore-esque blast beats, and a dramatic increase of hardcore riffs and song structures, utilizing a death metal sound primarily during vocals and bridges. However, that doesn’t mean the music on here is terrible. The sound the band has come up with may sound rather generic at this point, but it’s really tight and is executed perfectly, making this release a very heavy, furious sounding assault. Take the title track “The Ills Of Modern Man” for example, with the furious drumming, solid guitar work, and then near epic intensity that is given at the very end with it’s blistering drums.

The album actually starts off rather rocky, though, with “In The Arms Of Perdition” really taking you by storm if you hoped for another The Healing Process. The music is good, yes, but it’s not what you would have expected. The breakdowns on this song, and just about every other song, lack the impact that almost all of them had on their previous album, being rather generic and insanely slow with one or two guitar chords being played, ultimately sounding drawn out. “Sheltered Reminiscence” is where things start to pick up, really, with it’s death metal guitar riffs blended over some nice hardcore drum work and “dance” beats. The group chants on here sound much better as well, and aren’t that overused. Some songs, yes, there seems to be some overkill, but there are others, like “Nameless”, that have it appear maybe once, but at a rather random time. This song is also one of the very few to utilize a very intense breakdown. One final element of the album that needs to be noted is the increased “pig squeel” vocals which appear more often then on previous works, and for longer periods of time. These, just like the group chants, sound nice, but really pose no purpose to the music as they just randomly seem to appear on the song and overstay their welcome.

This release is a very mixed one musically, improving vastly in some areas such as making the music sound even more solid then on previous releases, the intensity behind the music itself, the vocals, and especially the drumming being absolutely insane. But it does have it’s issues. While the music is much tighter, it’s become more generic, and elements that appeared in the past for the band in small incriments become more widely used elements that more and more bands are abusing. If this is a sign that the band is looking to progress their sound towards the more socially accepted by it’s fans Deathcore sound, then we’re in trouble. But, for now, we have The Ills Of Modern Man to leave us wondering and hoping for better days, even if it’s just as enjoyable as a whole then the band’s previous efforts.

01. In The Arms Of Perdition – 4:24
02. Furtive Monologue – 3:22
03. Quarantine – 4:07
04. The Ills Of Modern Man – 3:50
05. A Fractured Hand – 4:35
06. Sheltered Reminiscence – 3:13
07. Nameless – 3:02
08. Tears Of The Blameless – 4:13
09. Oval Shaped Incisions – 4:02
10. Fainted Blue Ornaments – 5:03
Overall Score: 5.5/10
Despised Icon (band)
Despised Icon
Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.