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There are many reasonably horrid covers in metal's long history, but the one for 'Ill-Natured' just about outdoes them all with what looks like a flayed dog wearing gloves and lying strangely weightlessly on its side. However, its ugliness and tactlessness goes some way towards summing up what Dew-Scented sound like over the course of the full-length, since they blister your ears from the off courtesy of a furious energy-packed melodeath cum thrash assault.
I note that over the course of a year or so from the preceding 'Innoscent' most of the pure death metal was shed, as well as the general pace going up a notch or two. Leaving the path of Autopsy and Obituary where they started, Dew-Scented began to take more cues from the melodic Swedish scene, as evidenced by the scorching melodies that propel opener 'Embraced by Sin'. Despite the debt to At the Gates et al, these guys still retain too much straightforward heaviness to be considered a part of that scene, while they don't exactly edge into death thrash either, because the parts that discard the death are more groovy than anything, though still skull-crushingly heavy. We are therefore left in a strange wasteland where the closest comparisons are bands like Hatesphere, The Haunted, and Legion of the Damned, though fans of those bands will probably soil themselves slightly upon hearing just how brutal Dew-Scented can be on a full-on double bass song like 'Defiance'.
What impresses most about this album is not only the heaviness retained in such a formula, but also the way that the production makes no concessions to the melodic side of the band, managing to highlight the subtlety in the riffs without sacrificing the dirt-under-fingernails aesthetic that is so important to make death metal convincing. The guitars sound absolutely enormous, which is certainly for the best seeing as riffs are the main attraction: drums are frenetically busy but don't deserve a load of individual attention, just as the bass is nothing to be sneezed at yet has few standout moments. Leif Jensen on vocals is suitably brutal, often sounding like he's puking in slow-motion, though, again, he's just filling a role, not doing a great deal to make his voice individual.
All this means that 'Ill-Natured' is practically unrelenting from start to finish and promises to be Florian Muller's riff fest; however, that also assumes a never-ending supply of quality riffs, which is tricky for anyone to manage. Thus there are some sections of 'Simplicity in Chaos' and the opening if 'Wounds of Eternity' that seem plain and dull in comparison to the adrenalized fury surrounding them. That said, the quailty is almost there from start to finish, remaining on a knife edge between venomous and catchy, especially in the riffing department, while giving away a little in leads, which are not a main feature despite some skilful playing. By the end of the album and 'Skybound', the formula just begins to wane due to a slight lack of variation, and even that isn't a particularly poor song, just less exciting than the others.
Anyone looking for velocity, heaviness, and catchiness in one package could do a lot worse than to take a listen to 'Ill-Natured', particularly if they aren't too bothered about originality. The riffs are mostly monsters, while the hooks on 'This Grace' and 'Apocalypse Inside' are magnificent to behold. A triumph of heaviness and speed against pure reason, this is almost certainly Dew-Scented's best.
Okay, I just heard about this band. So they play an amalgam of thrash and death metal which suits me just fine. The vocals are debatable as far as categorization is concerned... being one part thrash, one part death metal and one part who fucking knows. One thing is certain : the guitar playing is elite and the songs are brutal. The drumming is phenomenal and memorable. The production is tight and captures every instrument perfectly. The vocals are a bit low in the mix, but the lyrics and the intensity of the songs more than make up for this shortcoming.
Seriously, this is some great fucking thrash related music. Death metal is present solely in the somewhat harsh vocals and the blast beat raping drums. Thrash is more prevalent in the FAST fucking riff structure in which the songs are based. This is melodic but nowhere near the abomination of typically redundant melodic death metal. Yes, it is possible to retain melody and still be brutally uncompromising. Dew-Scented slays on all levels... lyrically, musically and stylistically.
I've been drinking a lot and I don't really feel like going too in depth with the individual songs, but one thing is certain : any hype this band has received is certainly deserved. Every song is well thought out and conceptualized to fit the album perfectly. There is melody underlying the heavy as fuck riffs. But fuck melody, this album has one sole purpose : to rip your fucking face off your skull... and it succeeds.