Canadian bruisers, pit kings and all-around musical mix masters DESPISED ICON follow up a career defining album in "The Ills of Modern Man" with an effort that falls a little short of its predecessor's excellence, yet does nothing to tarnish its reputation as a band that was doing deathcore justice before the sub-genre was force fed to the masses and continues to do it justice today. "Day of Mourning" still borrows from the worlds of hardcore and modern death metal, but the emphasis on the latter is in some ways more pronounced than ever.
There are still breakdowns and there are as many, if not more, gang shouted lyrics, but there is also a gaggle of tunes that have more in common with an act like BENEATH THE MASSACRE than your average deathcore act of today; just check out the guitar parts during the album's first half and you'll really hear it. That first half contains a particularly strong string of tunes, including "All for Nothing" and its DYING FETUS style groove-riff, while the second half loses just a touch of momentum until a gem like "Diva of Disgust" reignites the album. The closing track, "Sleepless", is the band's most emotive and atmospheric; it still clangs and bangs, but sounds ring out and reverberate rather than punish with reckless abandon. I'm not sure fans would accept a musical direction that involved too much of that kind of thing, but it is still a refreshing change to the band's typically in-your-face style. The slight melodic touches (e.g. the lead on "Entre Le Bien Et Le Mal") work pretty well too. Finally, the dueling vocals of Alex Erian and Steve Marois are effective and prove yet again that the group is one of the few that utilizes two lead vocalists in a way that makes a distinct impression.
On "Day of Mourning", DESPISED ICON again gives the people what they want; the sextet has just refocused and doesn't try to go is as many directions at once (parts actually repeat and become recognizable). Though still a fiery album and one that is representative of a group that remains solidly upper-tier, I found "Day of Mourning" somewhat less electrifying and energetic than "The Ills of Modern Man", but that could just be me and the sentiment is far from a condemnation. DESPISED ICON still delivers the goods better than most.