History & BiographyDespised Icon was a band put together by a number of veteran death/grind musicians in French Canada. The band started out around January of 2002 and soon issued a two-song promo. The band signed a contract after playing its first show with Deeds Of Flesh, Disgorge and Disavowed in April, 2002. Consumed By Your Poison was issued in late 2002 by the local label Galy Records. The band played many shows and signed with Century Media Records at the end of 2004. The band's second album, The Healing Process, was produced by guitarist Yannick St-Amand and issued in the spring of 2005. The band preceded the release of the album by touring across Canada with Ion Dissonance and Premonitions Of War. Alexandre Erian had switched to second vocals by now and the band had recruited drummer Alex Pelletier. Guitarist Yannick St-Amand left his post in late 2006 in order to focus on his personal life and family. The third album was also produced by the band’s guitarist St-Amand who by now had worked with Ion Dissonance and Beneath The Massacre. A Canadian tour with Job For A Cowboy followed. Bassist Sebastien Piché left in the spring of 2008. Max Lavelle from Goratory has immediately replaced him. The band was touring Europe with Cephalic Carnage next month.
Martyr and former Despised Icon drummer Patrice Hamelin will join fellow Canadians Quo Vadis on tour and in studio for new material in 2008. The band would release its first DVD, Montreal Assault Live, on January 27th, 2009 through Century Media. The DVD featured video and live footage as well as a documentary. In support of the Montreal Assault DVD, Despised Icon would be hitting the road for its first North American headlining tour. Supporting the band during this tour were Beneath The Massacre, Carnifex, Neuraxis And The Plasma Rifle. The band was expected to release a new album in 2009. Cryptopsy, Despised Icon, The Acacia Strain, Trapped Under Ice and Blind Witness announced a tour of central Canada in the first week of December, 2009. Despised Icon was supporting Day Of Mourning.
News came in the apring of 2010 that Despised Icon had thrown in the towel in order to focus on the members’ main careers and home lives. The band would tour for the rest of the year however. In 2011, Despised Icon guitarist Eric Jarrin again joined the reformed Heaven's Cry. The group played at Montreal’s Les Foufounes Electriques on September 18th as the opener for Katatonia.
Despised Icon, which retired back in 2010, would play several reunion shows in the spring of 2014. Piche was back in the band.
Canada’s Despised Icon signed with Nuclear Blast in 2016. The band had already recorded an album called Beast. The band released a full-length album, entitled Purgatory, through Nuclear Blast on November 15th 2019. The band was booked for the Rockstadt Fest in 2020, but the event was cancelled due to the pandemic. Dying Fetus was touring the USA with The Acacia Strain, Despised Icon, Creeping Death and Tactosa in early autumn 2023. Tactosa was replaced by Chamber and Gates To Hell when the original band fell apart with its singer facing allegations of sexual abuse.
DESPISED ICON - THE HEALING PROCESS - CENTURY MEDIA
It has been a while since the slaves brought such a heavy CD before the knights here at Metallian Towers. Most of the fresh music recently has been of the heavy/thrash/power or black metal order and if death metal then the band has more likely been of the 'melodic death metal' variety which is often a sordid copout.
Despised Icon is an all-out brutal death metal act which mixes elements from Suffocation, Altar and Pyrexia to maximum effect. The two vocalists divvy up the lower and higher registers with the latter being strongly reminiscent of good old Altar and its singer, Edwin Kelder. Despised Icon being Canadian naturally implies a technical grindcore ingredient as well. That element is strongly present on The Healing Process and right off the bat on opener, Bulletproof Scales, following track Silver Plated Advocate (which along with Retina is one of the album's better songs and features some incredible powerhouse drumming) and on the song The Sunset Will Never Charm Us. The band keeps the length of its songs on the shorter end of the spectrum thus delivering a lot more impact than would have otherwise been the case.
There has been a lot of crud coming down the pipes recently, but The Healing Process is not one of them. This album is striking from beginning to the end. - Ali "The Metallian"
DESPISED ICON - THE ILLS OF MODERN MAN - CENTURY MEDIA
Montreal’s Despised Icon seems to be revered by many in the scene and has already made a name for itself through its mixture of death metal, hardcore, grindcore and metalcore. The Ills Of Modern Man (which strangely enough is not a six-disc box set) seems to have dropped metalcore and focused instead on mid-pace chugging heaviness. The band’s speed has been kept under control and the drums given a production boost by guitarist Yannick St-Amand who has also worked with Ion Dissonance and Neuraxis. The hardcore screaming, cold and calculated structures, technical turn-on-a-dime changes and precision drum beats are here, although Despised Icon now boasts a melodic solo on In The Arms Of Perdition and a nice little melody on Fainted Blue Ornaments. The band is just dipping its toes into melodic waters, but these things work to save the band from 'core' blandness. It is just that the band should not lose its heaviness of course. Despised Icon is an OK band, but for my money nothing special. The technicality and power is there, but the songs never sound like anything spectacular. That is why the group needs new elements to set itself apart, which it already is working on thanks to the banishment of the metalcore elements. Can they now stop looking like a bunch of road crew members and get a look of any sorts? - Anna Tergel
DESPISED ICON - DAY OF MOURNING - CENTURY MEDIA
It can’t be easy being the first band everyone mentions when the soon-to-be dated deathcore subgenre is brought up in conversation. The hardship, if you’re wondering, is in this: if you actually make a career out of these things as Despised Icon seemingly has (tours all the way to Russia don’t happen if you’re not selling records/downloads) and, as a result, end up amassing a catalogue that - inevitably - plagiarizes your own sound, you’re looked down at and considered derivative, yet if you take several steps out of the box to keeps things fresh you’re branded a sell-out. It’s an old story and Despised Icon certainly isn’t the first band to stare this dilemma straight into its uncomfortable eye (and these guys won’t be the last... far from it): it’s the catch-22 that is one of the intrinsic downers of writing niche music for a fan base that is essentially made up of outcasts in some form or another. That thought aside, Despised Icon will probably never top its watershed moment, The Healing Process, and yet Day Of Mourning rages like this six-piece was just kidding around during those first few albums (which is saying something if you’ve actually listened to this band); Day Of Mourning is an obsessively aggressive affair with all kinds of inhuman riffing that brings metal’s already hallowed precision in this department to new levels rhythm guitar maestro James Hetfield (credit where it’s due, y’know?) never even began to fathom possible back during the Kill 'Em All sessions. Not to over-state, but the riffing here is insane, full stop. And yet, when Despised Icon opens Day Of Mourning with a track called Les Temps Changent (meaning 'times change', in English) you sort of wonder what planet these guys inhabit 'cos, uh, those gang vocals haven’t gone anywhere and neither have the omnipresent mosh-part breakdowns nor the Dying Fetus-on-crank moments. But that’s all forgiven and forgotten as the riffs reveal their enormous, razor-sharp presence. - James Tape