Album Review: Iconoclast - 'HalluciNation'

8 February 2016 | 12:35 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Aaaaaaand another great deathcore act from Australia joins us.

The age of metalcore is over. The age of deathcore, however, still prevails. In the past year alone, barnstorming releases from the likes of I, Valiance, Thy Art Is Murder and Distentomb have cemented extreme metal on Australia's musical map. One can now confidently add Perth outfit Iconoclast to that list, with their debut album 'HalluciNation' displaying a band finding their own sound and then realising their potential.

The opening one two punch of 'The Virus of Faith' and 'Vengeance' is enough to wet the appetite of any scene faithful. The album openers tick all the boxes of contemporary deathcore, with furious, thrashing runs, crushing breakdowns and haunting melodies. In particular, 'Vengeancekicks things off with a head-bopping groove, before descending into chaotic blast beats. What is instantly noticeable throughout the record is the presence of the bass guitar grinding throughout each track. The central breakdown of 'Vengeance' sees bassist Chris van Zwam take centre stage, with his punishing tones adding an extra dimension to the sound.

'HalluciNation' skillfully toes the line between overt technicality and masterful song writing, with each track containing enough odd metre rhythms and reverse snare hits for the djent heads listening, while still keeping an audible form. The introduction of 'New World Slaughter' sounds like a randomly amassed pile of palm muted hits, before the song hits its stride in a not-so-simple but understandable groove.

What also stands out throughout the full-length is the exceptional quality for a self-produced piece of work. The album’s title track contains a darkness not found on standard studio recordings, with the vocals of Mitch Macari roaring over the ambient abyss before physically assaulting the listener when the song explodes into follow-up track 'Born Of Malice'. Equally, 'Awaken' also emerges from the little set of songs, with its predecessor opening the door for its straight ahead rhythms.

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Iconoclast don't necessarily bring anything new to the table throughout 'HalluciNation'. Rather, they reveal an awareness of when to take the foot off the gas when required, in addition to a control of energy rarely heard by others in the genre. The juxtaposition between blast beats and grooves, with breakdowns thrown into the mix, creates a melting pot of standard deathcore rhythms that does not overwhelm, but rather entertains and satisfies.

This record is what every standard deathcore fan will love. Punishing riffs, thrashing passages and brutal breakdowns. Hopefully they continue to take their brand of the music to new places in the future, but this is one hell of a launchpad in the meantime.

1. The Virus of Faith

2. Vengeance

3. Dissimulate

4. New World Slaughter

5. Nihility

6. HalluciNation

7. Born of Malice

8. Awaken

9. Seditionist

10. Vincere Et Servitutem

11. Hollow Mask