So here I am tasked to review the new Despised Icon album, Purgatory (Nuclear Blast). The easy route for most skeptical heavy music reviewers is to just proclaim it as another Despised Icon release, give it a quick write-up and denounce Deathcore as the scourge of metal. Sure, I could trudge down that path, call it a day and down some more adult beverages, but that’s not quite it. Truth be told, I was looking forward to Purgatory.
Yeah, it’s another release you totally expect from this Montreal unit. All the breakdowns, pig squeals, guttural lows, blast beats and general fuckery you remember and loved from Day of Mourning and The Ills of Modern Man are back in beautiful 4K high-definition. As far as I’m concerned, this thing could come packaged with basketball shorts and a black fitted hat for good measure.
Shit, maybe my appreciation for these familiar hammer blasts stems from 2019 being a good year for extreme music, but with nothing jumping off the page immediately as the best of the bunch. Yeah, Slipknot and Tool are back, I’m aware and you can now sheath your tweets and angry comments. It’s nice to come back home is all I’m saying.
And quite the homecoming it is. Much like The Black Dahlia Murder‘s Nightbringers (Metal Blade), Purgatory is less about innovation as it is about doubling down on what got you to the dance in the first place. Our title track takes no time in reminding us that Despised Icon is firmly in the double bass and hurting business. ‘Vies d’anges’ similarly follows suit and lets drummer Alex Grind beat his kit into the ground while the rest of the band frantically plays a game of violent catch-up. But truth be told, it’s not a total sonic beatdown from start to finish, ‘Moving On’ has some quieter moments that some may even dare proclaim to be Progressive. Baby steps, guys.
Despised Icon is going to do what they’re going to do. I’m cool with that.
8 / 10