|Review: Despised Icon - Consumed By Your Poison|
|Consumed By Your Poison|
Label: Galy Records
Year released: 2002
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: January 4, 2003
Reviewed by: Hogworth
for:Consumed By Your Poison
Rated 3/5 (60%) (2 Votes)
I told a friend of mine: “you are going to love this Despised Icon album; it is like a bunch of very clever gorillas orchestrating their farts in a giant tin of creamed corn.” He laughed. It was obvious to him, however, that I was an untutored ear with regard to grindcore and needed a crash course if I was going to say anything intelligent about this album. I will say this, the process of learning a little about the grindfathers of this genre did open my ears, but, in the end, Despised Icon are simply so eclectic and, well, new and raw that I had to eventually abandon any preconceptions inculcated by my crash-course, and engage the music with the innocent enthusiasm of the neophyte.
Let me say this: do not introduce anyone to metal by way of Despised Icon. There are simply too many ideas in each song, each passage, each riff, to process without some background in heavy music. Each track is like an album in itself, an exhaustive and, at times, exhausting and rampant exercise in creative expression. Like the preternatural course of a flock of birds, each diving and swirling at lightning speed, no one following and none leading, yet staying together in a tight avian matrix, Despised Icon’s instrumentalists swoop and soar through 10 tracks of mazy musical dementia.
Mixing into the grinding gallimaufry parts Pantera (“Grade A-One”), Mayhem (“Compel to Copulate”), Cephalic Carnage (“Le Chene et Le Rouseau”), Nine Inch Nails (intro to “Dead King”), Coroner (“Poissonariat”) and Black Sabbath (outro to “Poissonariat”), Despised Icon are able to serve up a savage, bleeding dish of death-grind fit to satisfy the most insatiate serpent appetite. Fear not, however, goblins of grind, all the standard elements are there: chromatic power-chord runs are, of course, de-rigeur; squeaks and harmonic pinches abound; breaks upon breaks divide up otherwise anathemic ideas.
What satisfies the palate about Consumed is not only the unique compositional ingredients, but the technical applomb and actual idiosyncrasies of the players themselves: vocals (Marie-Helene Landry and Steve Marois) exchange between deep growls and yelps, sort of an antiphonal exchange between a diesel tractor engine turning over and a ferret with its balls caught in a leg-hold trap; guitars (Eric Jarrin and Yannick St. Amand) are dark and deep and super-crunchy, and the riffs grind and roll, concatenated with wonderful sweep, pinch, and harmonic effects; the bass (Sebastien) complements the guitars well and, surprisingly, is forefront in the mix; the drumming (Alexandre Erian) …well, it is awesome, full of fire and conviction, as well as technicality. The cymbal and high-hat work is without compare. The production and mix, done at Z-Sound and I6I9 Studios in Montreal, is sharp and crisp, very professional for a low-budget debut. Each instrument is distinct, but cohesive, such that, unlike many contemporaneous recordings, the individual players are not all pushed up in your face.
Each song on this 26 minute debut is really an odyssey on its own. While every song does feature strong and memorable riffing, it is generally the musicianship and technicality that the listener needs to identify with, and which must resonate with him or risk alienating him quickly. In that regard, Despised Icon borrow heavily from bands like Cephalic Carnage. Like a rocket-powered locomotive, Despised Icon hurtles through their ten track opener, seeming barely in control of their puissant creative forces, stemming and channeling them along the rails of proven grindcore structures: breakdown, blasts, and variation (between pummeling and swirling vortexes of crazy technicality (check out the legato segment on “Fashionable” at about the 2:00 mark). Each song is a jaw-dropping, neck-snapping, toe-tapping experience, but, all in all, the overall impression is too-much-of-a-muchness, too many ideas in too little time. The Despised Icon juggernaut, while whirling about its track, fails to notice that its not really going anywhere, returning again and again to the same stations. But there is terrific energy here, if only its vehicle could course over wider territory and do so with greater leisure. Still, this is a brilliant debut by a group of very very creative musicians with talent and musicianship to burn.
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