Despised Icon – Beast (Nuclear Blast)

Genre: Deathcore

Deathcore may have taken a beating in recent years, but the often maligned genre has life left in it. And revitalised Canadians Despised Icon have given it something of a shot in the arm with Beast, their first album in seven years. How? Take Drapeau Noir, one of the stand out tracks as an example. Kicking off with a lacerating melodic death metal riff, it spits machine gun rhythms and even morphs into a NYHC-style romp towards the conclusion – it’s a snarling riposte to anyone who’s written the Quebec act off… and proof that the sextet can push into new turf without completely abandoning their roots.

The complex, violent maelstrom of One Last Martini is another highlight, boasting incendiary guitarwork and twisting, turning tempos that burst with energy, and Inner Demons sees axemen Eric Jarrin, Yannick St-Amand and Ben Landreville unleash a torrent of hellfire, taking plenty of inspiration from the realms of old school DM.

Why doesn’t it score higher? Because Beast occasionally plods back into a generic, knuckleheaded mire, where the band’s more evolved ideas are sidelined in favour of wanton brutality – Bad Vibes a case in point.

However, you can’t have everything – and Despised Icon’s return is still very welcome.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 6.5/10 Unleashing The Beast