DESPISED ICON
"Montreal Assault"

(Century Media)

01. The Sunset Will Never Charm Us
02. Furtive Monologue
03. Sheltered Reminiscence
04. Retina
05. Harvesting The Deceased
06. Compelled To Copulate
07. The Ills Of Modern Man
08. Immaculate
09. A Fractured Hand
10. Warm Blooded
11. Bulletproof Scales
12. In The Arms Of Perdition
13. Fainted Blue Ornaments.

RATING: 7.5/10

"Deathcore" before it became a dirty word, Montreal's DESPISED ICON have precipitously risen toward the top of the shape-shifting extreme metal mountain. Hardcore-infused parts and grind flecks notwithstanding, the sextet is still more of a modern death metal band than anything else. One of the few groups to utilize two lead vocalists without redundancy and that actually adds value to the compositions, DESPISED ICON operate within the sweet spot of the fertile Montreal extreme metal scene. "Montreal Assault" captures the band in rare form with a headline spot at a sold-out Club Soda in their hometown, a gig that also featured THE PLASMARIFLE, ION DISSONANCE, and BENEATH THE MASSACRE.

Disc 1 of the two-disc set comprises the show itself. Professionally shot with multiple, quick-changing angles, often frenetic lighting effects, and a superb sound from engineer Yannick St-Amand, the act plays its collective guts out to a rabidly adoring audience. That the act is also one of the few that still understands how to place breakdowns for maximum impact is attributable not only to good writing, but to an incredibly tight performance from the players, as well as a bevy of killer riffs. Listen to opener "The Sunset will Never Charm Us" and tell me you disagree. The visual focal point is on vocalists Alex Erian and Steve Marois (who speak in French between songs with English subtitles), both not only entertaining to watch, but also perfectly executing the vocal parts. In fact, the band truly makes the studio material come alive on the stage. As a special treat, the band brings out former vocalist Marie-Hélène Landry to perform material from Galy Records debut album "Consumed by your Poison". As far as DVD performances go, this one is a keeper.

Disc 2 offers your standard collection of material, including a documentary feature with discussion from current and former members about the band's history, which is comprehensive and generally informative. Also included are a handful of well made music videos and a mediocre hodgepodge of other items, including the obligatory home video footage from the road and stage.

Fans will eat all of it up, but it is Disc 1 that devotees and newcomers alike will appreciate the most, as a lot of care went into its creation. Nothing over the top here; simply a well-made DVD.

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