Despised Icon – Montreal Assault DVD (Century Media Records)

Friday, 15th March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Notoriously delayed, Montreal Assault suffered from a litany of problems on the manufacturing side of things, causing its released to be pushed back from a proposed fall of 2008 release to now. Nevertheless, it’s an all-encompassing view at one of deathcore’s heavyweight acts, warts and all, a two-disc set with a full live show (in Montreal) and a cool behind-the-scenes documentary.

Shot in front of a sold-out crowd in their hometown of Montreal in June of 2008, Montreal Assault eschews traditional camera angles for an in-your-face presentation. Per its reputation as one metal’s most devoted cities, Montreal is wildly receptive to band’s set.

Live, the Canadians are redundant and awfully predictable, with songs like “The Sunset Will Never Charm Us” and “Harvesting the Deceased” barely doing enough to separate themselves from the rest of the band’s set. The dual vocals of Alex Erian and Steve Marois are hardly a necessity, and man, when did it become cool to wear sideways baseball hats at death metal shows? On CD, they’re a lot more visceral and dynamic; live, they’re a gigantic cluster of noise.

Disc two, featuring a career retrospective is what bails this DVD out. Chronicling the band’s journey from fledgling Montreal deathcore neophytes to their elevated status of today is a revealing watch. Interviews with all members, past and present are in-depth and revealing (in English, save for former guitarist and current DI producer Yannick St-Amand). Traveling, band fights (caught on camera), and the usual shenanigans are caught, leading up the pre-show jitters including an omission by Erian that he will get booed if he speaks in English in between songs. Well worth the hour-plus running time.

At the top of their game (and respective subgenre), Despised Icon are in a position to enjoy breakout success ala Nile circa 2002 or Job For a Cowboycirca 2007 (FYI: guitarist Al Glassman recently left DI to join JFAC), and this DVD does a lot to supplant their burgeoning popularity. Granted, the shelf-life of a deathcore band appears to be short, but methinks Despised Icon will survive in spite of their various musical shortcomings.

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