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I was browsing in HMV when I stumbled across this record, and being no stranger to Dew-Scented I decided to give it a go. Already being familiar with a few of their earlier albums (of which are awesome) 'Icarus' blows them out of the water. From start to finish this is truly a formidable thrash/death metal release, which follows on in the band's Slayer-meets-Lamb of God style of playing. Dew-Scented have firmly cemented themselves in the world of metal by sticking to the same lightning fast formula, which has worked for the last 8 albums. 'Icarus' being their 9th release follows on in this manner of brutality, only this time everything is cranked up a notch.
Leif Jensen proves on this record that he means business with some brutal death metal growls such as in 'Reawakening', a slow but bone-crushing monster of a track. He really has a talent for growling and his style has come a long way from the days of yonder. The first 3 tracks on the album are unapologetically brutal, especially the monstrous 'Thrown To The Lions'. This is a beast of a track that features some nice death metal growls and an interesting guitar solo.
Many of the riffs on this record are very reminiscent of the old school thrash metal scene, especially on the first half of the album. 'By My Own Hand' slows down the pace just a tad but still means business with its ultra-heavy 'Reign In Blood' esque riffs. Dare I say it, this may even be the heaviest and finest Dew-Scented album to date, surpassing even the musical brilliance of 'Inwards'. Many of the ideas from past albums still remain here only they have been improved in every way. 'The Fall of Man' for example, meets all of the criteria for the perfect thrash metal song. Starting out with an intense opening it soon pounds the listener with unforgettably brutal riffs, breakdowns and intimidating screams and growls. Truly the bands finest song to date.
The drums are very tight indeed, with some lightning fast double bass work. In fact the drums and guitars work perfectly together, creating the ultimate modern thrash metal sound. There seems to be more anger in this album, like the band have been kicked into overdrive. This comes as a relief due to the fact that 'Invocation' (despite being a decent effort) lacked the energy and fury that is demonstrated here, and keep DS fans optimistic for the future.
Overall, this release could be described as a modern masterpiece of the genre, with track after track of sheer aggression. DS have set the bar not only for other bands of this style, but for themselves also. Topping 'Icarus' will be a feat that only the most worthy bands can pull off, and it certainly reminded me that thrash metal is still alive and kicking. This is the sound of a band who are at the top of their game musically and lyrically.
I look forward to the next metal assault.
This is the ninth Dew-Scented album (yes it continues the theme of each album beginning with the letter I) from a band that has been around for nearly 20 years, though with a revolving door line up over the years with the most recent clear out leaving only the original vocalist Leif Jensen to recruit new thrashers to the fold. He duly did with three guys from I Chaos, a band unfamiliar to me, and Marvin Vreisde a long time friend from Severe Torture. I am assuming that this will be a stable line up for the next year or so if there are touring commitments, though I’m certainly not going to hold my breath on that. Arguably one could state that this is a totally new band with one original member clasping at the Dew-Scented band name for marketing purposes. Cynically speaking this is probably true but Leif has ensured that the Dew-Scented style and sound has been retained with the new guys. The injection of new blood often does wonders for a band and it is clear that the guitar work has been uplifted ten fold on this album. Anyone wanting Dew-Scented to continue where the self released “Invocation” left off will not be disappointed. Let’s face it Dew-scented has been pounding the thrash scene for a long time and apart from huge changes in production and line up changes you know what to expect from the German thrashers. So with a new label how does the new album compare and does it offer anything new. Well I can say that the fresh blood has certainly added vibrancy to the riffing and the speed work outs border death metal violence. This album also has the services of two guests, namely Rob Urbinati from Sacrifice and Dan Swanö, who I will mention later.
“Hubris” gets the album underway and the fist thing is how loud the production is even during the acoustic guitar style, but as with all intros they are short lived on thrash albums as “Sworn To Obey” opens with a towering riff very typical of Dew-Scented. The obvious comparison to Slayer is par for the course but Dew-Scented have been around for so long that I think it’s fair to say they have carved out their own niche in the riffing honours now. As ever the cymbal smash and riff is accompanied by a large gush in speed. The pace is perfect as the sporadic blasting sections create a huge level of homicidal violence in the song. Once the lead work takes off you quickly realise that this album certainly has more to offer over previous albums, though I would not say it is substantially better than previous albums, just a bit different on certain aspects. Another walloping riff starts “Thrown To The Lions” and has some death metal pulverising on the drum work as again the leads make you sit and listen, they ‘re fast but not played at an indecipherable 1000mph of blurry widdle. All thrash albums have to contain tunes that get heads nodding in synchronous fashion and this album has its first on “Storm Within” which boasts a crunchy riff that would fit onto newer Kreator albums. The emphasis on the lead solo is quality and makes the song very prominent and memorable. “Gleaming Like Silver” has Rob Urbinati on guest vocals his deep roar fits the riff which astonishingly had me scribbling Iced Earth down with the double kick and riff style.
Second guest vocalist Dan Swanö appears on “Reawakening” and his tone is unique, that slow heavy drawl is accompanied by a riff that is very different to the rest of the album. The tune is slower with a steady double bass, again that head nodding chug factor is here; it’s catchy and will be cracking live. There have been a few high profile thrash albums out this year and a couple still to come such as Overkill, Kreator both out already and Testament which is certainly going to raise the bar in the thrash this year and should be out by the time you read this. Currently the ninth studio album by Dew-Scented sees the band firmly cementing their relationship with their established fans but whether they will garner any new ones will be down to what Metal Blade does on the promotional and marketing fronts, but for me this is solid thrash metal with death metal overtones and one you really should check out.
Originally written for www.rawnervezine.co.uk
In the case of Dew-Scented, there is a songwriting approach concerned with how to make thrash songs imaginative and distinct, while maintaining a high level of energy. In other words, there are lots of galloping riffs that are the bread and butter of thrash metal. These riffs are, of course, indicative of the mosh and headbang features of said genre. Essentially, the thrash fanatic will recognize the guitar sound and feel it as comforting and familiar, immediately.
However, Dew-Scented is not a thrash band like Overkill or Death Angel, in the sense of a 100% traditional thrash band. Actually, the sound of Dew-Scented incorporates two basic components found in death metal, namely, the growl-scream style of vocals; and the use of blasting speed. In particular, they use well-placed bursts of blasting speed in select parts of their songs. Thus, this is not a total blasting speed attack, but a precision method in songs. The vocals, by the way, are not gruff nor guttural nor anything low, but are rather of the “painful scream” style, and are aggressive.
As a result, they manage to bridge the gap between thrash and death in a relatively smooth way. It is fast, headbanging, no-nonsense guitar work, with growled vocals that feature the element of brutality.
Interestingly, thinking about it, Dew-Scented is something of a gem. With this sound, this band can appeal to thrash and death metal fans, in a serious way. In substantial forms, they take out the punk/hardcore/silly elements of thrash, and re-energize thrash by with the brutality of death metal. That means, in turn, that unlike some death metal, one can really hear the guitar work, the riffs are very upfront, and make things intelligible to both genres.
Dew-Scented zealots tend to consider their 2003 album “Impact” as their best. I wish not to argue nor to compare. I will say this, however, this is a very strong album, perfect for those into the harder forms of thrash.
Songs like “Sworn to Obey,” “Thrown to the Lions” and “The Fall of Man” have riffs that fly at your face. The energy, the feel of these songs is simply awesome. With the selective blasting in place and the bits of fast melody, and fast solos, it’s a band that is doing it up right.
Lest you think that they only have speed to offer, check out “Reawakening” for some of the heaviest, most brutal vocals and moments on the whole album. Here they explore a midpaced feel, with uptempo moments, giving the vocalist a chance to be more brutal, where things get a bit more death metal, shall we say.
To sum up: don’t dismiss this album as just “another thrash” album. It is not. It is substantially different from pure thrash, with more aggression, more heaviness and brutality. Clearly, the band has the objective of balancing the riff-o-rama and clarity of the thrash sound, but with a higher level of energy and aggression found in death metal. Combined with strong songs, the band has succeeded and created a quality album from start to finish.
review written for www.fuglymaniacs.com