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Despised Icon is 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 until time made them change their minds and they made a comeback to a rapt audience.

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. They will not tour full-time, however, as multiple members have work obligations and other projects that prevent them from being able to; shows will be limited to fests, one-offs, and the occasional very short regional run.


  • 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)
  • Purgatory (2019)
  • Deterre (2022) (EP, proper release of a 2004 CD-R promo provided to labels)


  • All Drummers Are Animals: Pelletier is known for his jawdropping speed and immense power, as well as his extremely physical playing style.
  • Audience Participation Song: "MVP" ("WELCOME TO MY TEAM!", as well as most of the end breakdown) and "Retina" (which traditionally starts with a wall of death and sometimes also features crowd participation with the gang shouts near the end).
  • Deathcore: Along with Whitechapel, All Shall Perish, and Suicide Silence, they were the poster children of the genre. With Whitechapel and Suicide Silence ditching the genre in favor of Nu Metal and All Shall Perish taking forever to write a new album after an extended hiatus, they are probably the only older big name (that didn't get big in the 2010s, which rules out Carnifex, Thy Art Is Murder, Oceano, and After the Burial) that still actively bears a torch as a face 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 Quebec 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.
  • Interrupted Suicide: "Sheltered Reminiscence"
  • 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.
  • Metal Scream: Erian is a Type 1, while Marois is a hybrid of a Type 1 and a Type 2 with occasional Type 3 shrieks. Landry was a Type 2 with very distinctive Type 3 highs. As a whole, Landry and Marois also almost singlehandedly popularized (if not outright created, though they likely got the idea for the technique from Cryptopsy and Devourment) the "pig squeal" or "bree" variant of Type 2s, which quickly became a defining feature of deathcore vocals.
  • Murder Ballad: "Silver Plated Advocate" and "Eulogy"; the first is about a madman on a shooting spree, while the second is about a murder/suicide scenario.
  • Never Bareheaded: Alex Erian. It's quite possible that there is not a single photo of him where he isn't wearing a snapback that has been taken since 2007.
  • 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.
    • Beast combines elements of all their albums, but overall eschews the more commercial, "bro"-esque elements of Day of Mourning in favor of a more stripped-down, grindy album that largely sounds like a missing link between The Healing Process and The Ills of Modern Man.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Alex Pelletier.
  • Protest Song: "Grade A-One" decries factory farming.
  • Rap Metal: "Five One Four", a bonus track on Day of Mourning that features members of Beneath the Massacre, Ion Dissonance, and Cryptopsy.
  • Retraux: Several examples.
    • The music video for "Bad Vibes" has a deliberately early-90s aesthetic, complete with a 4:3 aspect ratio and filters to simulate VHS tracking effects, as well as heavy use of jump cuts and stock footage. As per Alex Erian, they wanted to pay homage to the old Headbangers Ball videos for the various death metal and hardcore acts that they voraciously consumed in their early teens, and "Bad Vibes", with its open Biohazard worship, wound up being the perfect song for that type of video.
    • The "Deathcore MVPs" shirt from their summer 2021 merch rollout is done in the style of Pen & Pixel Graphics album artwork as an homage to late 90s/early 00s Southern hip-hop album covers.
  • 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. Subverted with Jarrin and Heaven's Cry, as a). they had been around long before Erian was even in Neuraxis, let alone before Despised Icon had formed and b). he was not even a founding member.
  • 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.
  • Vocal Evolution: Erian's vocals slowly pitched up over the years and became a higher-pitched hardcore yelp at some point during the Beast touring cycle, likely due to age-related vocal deterioration.