Since 2010 Canadian band Despised Icon have been off the radar and had simply disbanded. Whilst fans have been jumping on deck for side-project Obey the Brave, rest assured the death metalers are back in action in a very big way.
In 2014, Despised Icon played a few shows and uplifted the metal community with excitement and anticipation. With the immense reception the band received, they decided to get back in the studio and slam out a brand new record through Nuclear Blast called ‘Beast’, coming out soon.
Vocalist Alex Erian took some time to chat with Wall of Sound with the scoop and to share his recent experiences with the freshly revitalised Despised Icon.
After taking the break Erian is excited about the band’s future potential. “It feels great, since we actually took that step back, it really made us realise how important this band was in our lives and how our music is in general” the vocalist says. “We had reached the point when we had originally broke up in 2010, where we were stuck in that state of constant touring and that little spark went missing somewhere – but now I can tell you [that] it’s definitely back so we’re just riding the wave and enjoying it.”
Often bands disband or enter a hiatus to carry out personal commitments or follow goals that may have fallen under the waist-side, but this wasn’t really the case for the North Americans. “We had no goals, we just broke up, it wasn’t a hiatus, it wasn’t a gimmick” Erian says honestly. “I mean if you would have told me back then that we’d be reuniting and putting out a record on Nuclear Blast, I don’t think I would believe you to be honest.
“Getting back into it, I feel like our batteries are fully recharged and it’s quite a great feeling to be getting back to the roots that we are finally back to like it was in the good old days, hanging out, having a couple of beers and really just fully savouring the moment.”
Despised Icon have been touring around the world and will continue to do so, including our neck of the woods. “We want to make it a point to come back to Australia, we’re already discussing with people about coming back early next year.” Legion Fest is scheduled for early next year, so we may have a hunch what they have up their sleeve here in the WOS camp.
In terms of why the band signed to Nuclear Blast, they were very decided about their decision. “Originally we wanted to keep full control, so we wanted to put out the record independently” as they were playing it safe and approaching with caution after some significant time away. “All of a sudden though, those ideas and those riffs started flowing and next thing we knew, we had a full length album.”
Erian admits that despite the control the band were longing for, they also realised how demanding it is to just take care of business – “so we figured we’d let that idea go and approach a label in order to concentrate more on what’s important and that to us is the music, so we approached one single label, because Nuclear Blast are our favourite label and luckily they were like ‘Yo, this record is sick, let’s do this’ and oddly enough it was that simple.”
The metalers came back to a very different death metal scene, particularly with the rise of deathcore, djent and other currently popular sub-genres – but this didn’t faze them too much. “When we started the band, we were all in death metal bands so when the time can to form Despised Icon, we wanted to try things a little different and bring forward something new to the table.”
The front man reminds us that and back then there was no deathcore or deathcore bands. “We wrote our first record in 2001 so it’s kind of a different reality for a lot of the current deathcore bands in the sense that a lot of them are entrenched by it, and on the other hand, we grew up in the early mid-90s listening to brutal death metal and hardcore so just mashed both together.”
Erian was too humble to infer that Despised Icon were quite pioneering in the sense that they experimented with what we all know as deathcore today. “This deathcore sound became a stigma at some point, like every band saturated it and eventually the most relevant bands remained.
“But in saying all of this, when it comes to Despised Icon, it’s just our interpretation of a mixture of death metal and hardcore, and I feel like that’s how we stand out from other bands.”
The musician is proud of the upcoming record because it has a raw energy and isn’t mixed to perfection. “I feel like our record really translates well live in the sense that we didn’t fall in that trap of over-producing like a lot of other bands that are so precise. With this record we toned it down on the editing, we focussed more on the vibe of the riffs. Erian explains how the band kept it simplistic. “It’s just straight forward, in your face, and same for vocals – it’s not like layer after layer of vocals in the sense that what you hear on TV is what you hear live and it’s very faithful to that.”
Having just finished recording a new album for Obey the Brave, Erian has certainly booked up his time for the next couple of years with mixing, promoting, touring everything in between.
Ricky Aarons (rickysaul90)