Music / Despised Icon
Despised Icon was a Canadian deathcore band. Characterized by their dual-vocal system, frequent use of odd time signatures and dissonant chords, and mindblowingly fast and hard-hitting drumming, they were the arguable kings of the genre in their heyday before they chose to pack it up in 2010 and burn out rather than fade away.
Formed in Montreal, Quebec in 2002 by Steve Marois and Marie-Helene Landry (vocals), Eric Jarrin and Yannick St. Amand (guitars), Sebastien Piche (bass), and Alexandre Erian (drums), the group quickly inked a deal with Galy Records and released Consumed by Your Poison
that same October to great fanfare, with comparisons being made to The Red Chord. Landry quickly left the year after, however, resulting in Erian making the switch from drums to vocals and welcoming in Alexandre Pelletier to fill in his old spot. The Syndicated Murderers
EP came the following year, along with a split with Bodies in the Gears of the Apparatus the year after; in addition to that, 2005 also brought a new record deal with Century Media Records and the release of The Healing Process
that April. Much touring followed, and St. Amand left that following year and was quickly replaced by Alan Glassman of Goratory fame; come 2007, the band released The Ills of Modern Man
and subsequently toured relentlessly in support of it. The nonstop touring did not sit well with Piche, however, who had both a full-time job and a kid to take care of, and he left to be replaced by Max Lavelle, Glassman's old Goratory bandmate. Glassman then left in December of that year himself to replace a departing Ravi Bhadriraju in Job for a Cowboy
, and Ben Landreville quickly took over. The Montreal Assault
DVD was released at the beginning of 2009, and Day of Mourning
, their fourth full-length, quickly followed. The band was at the top of their genre at this point and had more or less become the biggest band in it.
That, however, did not guarantee their continued existence, as the band announced in April of 2010 that they would be dissolving at the end of the year thanks to a desire to start a new chapter in their lives, with the band having grown too big to make this possible if it were to remain together. After a frantic barrage of farewell tours, they performed their final show at the Club Soda in Montreal on December 5, 2010. Since then, most of the members have settled down and stuck to low-key family-oriented lives, though Lavelle joined The Black Dahlia Murder
in 2012, while Erian started the Metalcore
band Obey the Brave. As of February 4, 2014, several reunion appearances have been announced along with the implication that there will be many more to come, and as of 2016, they have signed to Nuclear Blast Records and are preparing to release Beast
, their fifth full-length.
- Consumed by Your Poison (2002)
- Syndicated Murderers (2004) - EP
- Bodies in the Gears of the Apparatus / Despised Icon (2005) - split EP
- The Healing Process (2005)
- Demos 2002 & 2004 (2006) - split/demo compilation with Ion Dissonance
- The Ills of Modern Man (2007)
- Montreal Assault (2009) - DVD
- Day of Mourning (2009)
- Beast (2016)
The band contains examples of the following tropes:
- All Drummers Are Animals: Pelletier was known for his jawdropping speed and immense power, as well as his extremely physical playing style.
- Deathcore: Along with Whitechapel, All Shall Perish, and Suicide Silence, they were the poster children of the genre.
- Drowning My Sorrows: "Fainted Blue Ornaments" describes someone who's resorted to drinking as a way of coping with depression.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Consumed by Your Poison had very little core influence and was, as a whole, brutal death-tinged, techy deathgrind.
- Gratuitous French: A few of their songs are entirely in Canadian French. Subverted in that they're from Quebec, where being bilingual is expected.
- Grief Song: "Day of Mourning"
- Grindcore: Consumed had very prominent deathgrind influences.
- Hypocritical Humor: "MVP" was intended to be a Stealth Parody of deathcore's increasingly noticeable love affair with wiggerdom, complete with the most stereotypical white boy breakdown they could come up with, but it was seen as more than a little ironic given how much a). they looked like the bands that they were making fun of, and b). how much of a seemingly unironic "bro" vibe the rest of its parent album had.
- Lead Bassist: Lavelle was a Type A.
- Lead Drummer: Pelletier is known for his absolutely unbelievable speed, power, endurance, and precision, and his abstinence from using click tracks means that he usually plays even faster live (yes, this includes "MVP"). Along with John Longstreth, he was also one of the first users of gravity blasts; while fellow Montreal residents Flo Mounier and Justin Rousselle (Beneath the Massacre) were also early adopters, Pelletier is on record as having used them as early as 2002 or 2003, while Mounier didn't pick them up until around 2005 and the latter picked them up roughly a year before Mounier. As such, it's likely that he's the reason why so many death metal drummers from Quebec make use of them.
- Lighter and Softer: Quite a few people would say this about Day of Mourning, as it toned down the discordant math breaks that were their trademark in favor of a greatly increased amount of standard deathcore chug breaks, in addition to dumbing down their normally dark, introspective, and often poetic lyrics into more "bro"-friendly ones with a fairly thin guise of sophistication. Depending on who you ask, Ills was also this to a lesser degree.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Solid 10 for the most part, occasionally jumps into an 11 on the heavier songs.
- Murder Ballad: "Silver Plated Advocate", "Warm Blooded", and "Eulogy"; the first is about a madman on a shooting spree, the second is about a serial arsonist moving on to people and making his first kill, and the third is about a murder/suicide scenario.
- New Sound Album: Several:
- Process toned down the deathgrind influences on the debut and brought longer songs and increased metalcore influences.
- Ills had more traditionally deathcore-oriented breakdowns and introduced guitar solos.
- Day simplified the song structures and increased the amount of breakdowns.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Very much so. The older the band got, the more wiggery they became; by the release of Day of Mourning, you could be forgiven for mistaking them for Emmure at a distance.
- Rap Metal: "Five One Four", a bonus track on Day of Mourning that features members of Beneath the Massacre, Ion Dissonance, and Cryptopsy.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Their lyrics have always been surprisingly mature and poetic, at least until Day of Mourning.
- Signature Style: A mixture of exceedingly fast blasting portions, odd-timed stuttering riffs, and chugging breakdowns with a high shriek/midranged hardcore shout dual-vocal system and the odd guitar solo or melodic portion.
- Start My Own: Erian left Neuraxis to form Despised Icon and later formed Obey the Brave after Despised Icon folded, while Landry formed Obsolete Mankind sometime in the 2010s.
- Stepford Smiler: "In the Arms of Perdition" seems to be about someone who is dead inside but still trying to maintain the facade of happiness.
- Step Up to the Microphone: After Landry left, Erian opted to switch from drums to vocals and let Pelletier take his place.
- Take That: "Made of Glass" was a not-so-subtle "fuck you" to Al Glassman for leaving the band to join Job for a Cowboy after having been a member for barely two years. They've since reconciled, which was evidenced as much by his guest appearance when they played a reunion show at the Palladium in Worcester, MA and Erian's acknowledgement that they have long since made amends and are now friends once again.
- True Companions: With Ion Dissonance.
- Uncommon Time: A big part of their sound.
- Your Cheating Heart: "A Fractured Hand" is about a man who (seems to) have gotten estranged from his girlfriend and has cheated on her at least once and how it hurts him, how he no longer loves her the same way he used to.