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Death/thrash metal acts are far from uncommon in this day and age however Dew-Scented have been lingering around since the dawn of their inception in 1992. This German quartet have been generally keeping their presence low on the radar of many metalheads, until around the year 2002 when the band signed to Nuclear Blast and released their ‘Inwards’ album, generating instant success among death metal fans for its inventive thrash infusion.
So in 2007 can this band still deliver? Following Dew-Scented’s tradition of beginning each album with the letter I (‘Immortelle’, ‘Innoscent’, ‘Ill-Natured and so on…), Incinerate is a strong release, worthy of the band’s logo on the front.
Overall, the music seems to give a nod towards the traditional death metal sound emanating from Poland at the moment while paying tribute to the American originators of the same genre and adding their own trademark thrash metal riffs. Songs such as ‘Vanish Away’ and ‘Perdition For All’ show that the band pride themselves on drummer Uwe Werning who plays a good variation of style. The guitars are accustomed to playing some excellent memorable intros, most noticeable on the tracks ‘Now Or Never’, ‘Contradictions’ and ‘Retain The Scars’. As well as playing some melodic leads, the guitars often accompany these with crunchy typical thrash metal riffs, alternating between these and powerful death metal sounds.
Although the album exhibits a lack of variation after the initial few tracks, the most noteworthy songs appear towards the end of the album, begging for more listens (which the band seem to want you to do as the outro is pretty much the same as the intro and joins around nicely, taking the record full circle). Dew-Scented have shown once again that they are rather fond of progression and do not want their style to stagnate. Although this release is probably inferior to my older material such as the ‘Inwards’ opus, it is still worth checking out.
Originally written for www.rockbeast.co.uk
And there’s “I” number 7! Dew-Scented will probably never run out of I-words to name their albums after. And although all of the six I’s preceding ‘Incinerate’ were impressive, Dew-Scented has always been in their best shape on stage. However, ‘Incinerate’ actually succeeds in getting as close to that live-feeling as possible. That and the fact that the Germans sound more varied than ever makes ‘Incinerate’ their best effort so far.
When you first hear the album, you will notice something has changed right away. The production has been turned up a notch, as Andy Sneap has capably mixed this album. Hendrik Bache and recently returned Flo Müller solo more than ever and in addition, they have – together with drummer Uwe Werning – played around with tempo- and feel-changes a lot more than on any previous album. But all together, ‘Incinerate’ is unmistakably Dew-Scented, just taken to a higher level.
The sound of Dew-Scented will probably always remain unchanged. What you get will always be this “Deathy” Thrash Metal, played at a high tempo with a venomous bite. But where ‘Impact’ and ‘Issue VI’ lacked a little something (variation and aggression respectively), ‘Incinerate’ combines all of the elements that makes Dew-Scented one of my favorite bands to see live.
No, the changes are subtle. ‘Into The Arms Of Misery’ has a very traditional Thrash Metal feel to it and is therefore one of my favorite songs of the album and opening track ‘Vanish Away’ is probably the most complex song the band has ever recorded – and therefore I think it was a very daring move to open the album with it. For the first time ever, Dew-Scented works with an intro and an outro. ‘Exordium’ and ‘Exitus’ consist of the same riffs, but are perfectly mood setting, although I think ‘Exitus’ (the outro) should have been a little shorter. It makes the album sound full circle at the end.
But on the other hand, there’s also songs as ‘That’s Why I Despise You’, the first video of the album, is one of those typical Dew-Scented headbangers which are just one grinding mess from beginning to end. And there’s a lot of that too! With many other bands, this would have disturbed me, but Dew-Scented always does it with such sincerity and precision that I can’t help but love it. Although they have clearly been inspired by them, I think Dew-Scented is much better than Slayer!
Highlighting the album for me is the unbelievable speed monster ‘Aftermath’. In less than three minutes, the song destroys everything in and outside of the room you’ll be in at that moment. It’s just that there’s so many different riffs in the song, that I could hardly believe that it only lasted for about three minutes. And that’s positive! Who needs subtlety when there’s songs like ‘Aftermath’?
‘Incinerate’ also has some guest musicians that might be interesting for people who aren’t all that familiar with the band. Both Annihilator-shredder Jeff Waters and melodic Metal boy genius Gus G contribute a guitar solo to ‘Perdition For All’ and Kreator-mainman Mille Petrozza does a duet with Leif Jensen on ‘Retain The Scars’. However, despite my never ending respect for Mille, I think Leif sounds much more convincing on the latter.
Progression without radically changing the sound is possible, Dew-Scented has just proven that with ‘Incinerate’. I just wonder how these songs are going to sound live. It’s really going to be a Thrash party if these songs are even better than they are on the album!
Dew-Scented have pretty much perfected the modern deathrash sound. Incinerate is definitely evidence to this fact. They have perfected it so much that it is to a point of being repetitive - one of the faults to this album.
Dew-Scented have never really changed their sound. To this day that means one of two things - that the band have found what works from them and continue to write thusly or that the band is unchallenged in their writing and unevolving as a group. I think the first is the truth for Dew-Scented. They have found their niche in music and they play it consistently album after album.
That being said, even Incinerate is pretty repetitious in itself. Musically, the album (and most of Dew-Scented's work) is pure Slayer worship. The guitars are heavy with speed and riffs and the two guitarists play well off of one another. This is presented in the few times that there are alternating riffs, a cool effect that loses its catchyness if done too often. The riffs are tight and fast - but once again a little too similar from song to song to really be memorable. The leads are hindered in the same manner. The leads are technical and clean but past the third song or so they all sound pretty much the same. The solos are chaotic with lots of pinched notes and squeals - very Slayer inspired.
The bass work is pretty much a standard thrash work - very fast and tight but not much for flourish. Granted the way that the music is shaped really doesn't allow for progressive and catchy bass work. The drums on the other hand are quite impressive. The variety is limited again by the speed and aggression of the music but the drummer does have time to throw in some unique material here and there. The bass drumming doesn't overcome the music either - something a lot of newer bands fall prey to.
The vocals, although consistent, become redundant as the album progresses. A modern barking vocals seem to have become the rage in modern thrash bands. The vocalist has an interesting voice but nothing that is too memorable or distinctive in the end. The last song on the album, Retain the Scars has some guest vocals by Mille Petrozza of Kreator fame - and the two on a duet is actually quite fun and exciting.
Incinerate isn't Dew-Scented's best work. It's not bad at all - its quite good after a couple of listens when one is able to catch all the little details on the album. First listen is going to be tough though. I can image though that the album has plenty of songs that are going to be great in a live setting.
Songs to check out: Final Warning, That's Why I Despise You, Retain the Scars.