"The Healing Process"

(Century Media)

01. Bulletproof Scales
02. Silver Plated Advocate
03. Immaculate
04. Warm Blooded
05. Retina
06. The Sunset Will Never Charm Us
07. As Bridges Burn
08. Harvesting the Deceased
09. End This Day

RATING: 6/10

Like a slightly more metalcore-inflected DYING FETUS or a less tech-y
PREMONITIONS OF WAR, Canada's DESPISED ICON churn through nine exercises in stomping "deathcore" on their second full-length. Lots of pinch harmonics, two vocalists (just so we can enjoy the ever-ridiculous "guy who sounds like an upset stomach" gore-grind voice), tons of thudding breakdowns, and nothing you haven't heard before, although DESPISED ICON do what they do well.

Where so many recent bands make forays into wonky technicality, DESPISED ICON seem more content to just stomp you into submission. They go for the big mean breakdown riff every time, and while there are some impressive slabs of heaviness being tossed around here, and everyone's playing is above reproach, the whole thing is brought down by its unoriginality. Their lack of show-offy tech parts is refreshing at first, but even at 32 minutes, the album begins to blur into a clattering smear of breakdowns, tough-guy vocals, and the occasional guttural gurgle or guitar squeal.

Don't get me wrong, DESPISED ICON is satisfying on a basic level, and their meat-and-potatoes assault shows a helluva lot of potential. A lot of "The Healing Process" simply comes across as typical and generic, though. "Silver Plated Advocate" is a highlight, with some sick blast beats and a lethal, groovy guitar hook and "Immaculate" slips in a nice acoustic interlude before storming back with some of the band's fastest blasts. But those are the second and third songs, and the album doesn't seem to go anywhere from there. DESPISED ICON definitely mark themselves a band to watch, but "The Healing Process" will seem redundant to all but the most avid collectors of second-tier death metal. File under: the poor man's DYING FETUS, and purchase or avoid accordingly.

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