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Quickly glancing at Dew-Scented's discography should let you know they're not big on the idea of change. Releasing an album promptly every two years, with recycled song titles and albums oh-so-wittingly beginning with the letter I pretty much present one simple fact: you're going to get the same thing every time you listen to this band. That still applies here, as almost nothing has changed.
Stylistically, this album displays a strand of death/thrash heavy on Slayer/Exodus/Sepultura style riffs with some slight modern death metal undertones. The guitars do nothing but recycle riffs and passages by the previously mentioned bands, predictably alternating between fast strumming and repeated power chords like every mindless thrash band in existence. Every lead is a meaningless flurry that, again, echoes a majority of death/thrash bands that choose speed in favor of songwriting. No material here has any sort of originality to speak of as it is all a modernized montage of late 80's thrash riffs accompanied by monotonously thumping drums.
I must address these vocals specifically, because in complete honesty-they're fucking horrid. Caught between a harsh yell and a bark, the vocalist puts on a display that's as intensity-deficient as most nu metal bands. There's no other way to describe it other than constipation, and it's easily the worst aspect on an already below-average album.
If I wanted to name actual highlights it would be pretty tough, especially when this album, as much as I've listened to it (for whatever bizarre reason), completely flows in and out of one's head so easily. Artificial Life's main riff is surprisingly solid and breaks away from the redundancy of the surrounding songs, and Totem is a great little intro....to a boring song. And the production, while being entirely expected given the band's status and genre, is heavy and provides a much-needed sense of aggression.
Hearing one Dew-Scented album is all you need to know what this band is about, and what they will be about until they retire. They clearly have no intention of switching it up or making any kind of progress, so if you're not completely infatuated with the genre right now, this band is disposable.
With oil spilling all over the place, high unemployment, useless wars and politicians being bought out by the very people who continue to cause all of these awful disasters, there certainly hasn't been a shortage of things to be pissed off about. That being said, Dew-Scented's Invocation could not have come at a more opportune moment. You know the kind of music that makes you squint your eyes and grit your teeth as you shake your head and yell "FUCK!" repeatedly? Well it's just arrived, and it may finally be the album that will bring these pissed-off Germans out of obscurity. To all of those who may have overlooked Dew-Scented in the past or who are now reading about them for the first time, do yourselves a favor and spend the next forty-five minutes getting your asses kicked relentlessly by what will very bloody likely be one of the heaviest albums of the year.
From Invocation's beginning to its very end, the double bass will make you feel as if a miniature version of Mike Tyson is pounding the living shit out of one of your eardrums like it's a speed bag, while maximum chugging simultaneously blasts the other ear to bits like an all-out assault of mortars, hand grenades and Kalashnikovs. Dew-Scented has always been known to bring their unique blend of extremely loud and aggressive metal to the table, but this time they've practically done it flawlessly. Every single riff on this album is completely original, a difficult feat for a band that hasn't changed their sound after eight albums. There is something respectable about a band that isn't willing to compromise their uniqueness in order to sell more records. The eclectic mix of death and thrash metal along with straight-up hardcore vocals similar to The Hoods and late Agnostic Front (both of whom are quite popular in Germany) are proof that Dew-Scented does not really give a fuck what anyone thinks; they are going to play whatever the hell they feel like regardless of the confusion it might bring to fanatics of specific genres. Newer band members have tightened their sound since Incinerate, and solos such as the one in "Have No Mercy On Us" certainly do not leave the listener wanting. Although the consistency of Invocation prevents it from having any real stand-out tracks, the ferociousness of "Torn To Shreds," which follows a necessary one-minute interlude that will help you catch your breath, revitalizes your anger in preparation for the entire second half of the album.
Invocation's only downfall is that Soundlodge Studios did not give its recording the same type of care that went into the making of its songs, which is quite a letdown by both Metal Blade and Prosthetic Records. When listening to the album with good quality headphones, for example, one will easily notice something gnarly going on with the way the guitars come through the speakers, primarily during times of intense chugging. Assumably, the band wanted to alternate the two guitar tracks back and forth to give off some type of stereo effect, but it only makes the album sound choppy and unsynchronized. However, there is an easy way to alleviate this symptom. Surely everyone has a set of sub-par speakers that are still capable of producing very high volumes, such as the blown out ones in your Toyota or the shitty cone tweeters that came with your laptop from Best Buy. Just crank those bitches up as loud as they can go, and you'll be off to the races with absolutely nothing to hinder you from destroying low-hanging ceiling fans and other assorted fixtures your landlord has hopefully long since forgotten about. Just do yourselves a favor and get a pair of gloves to go along with Invocation, because I'm already having trouble wiping my blood off the keyboard. "Prepare for Domination!"
Originally written for MetalReview.com
Eight albums deep into their career now, and the strangely named German death/thrash entity Dew-Scented has never grown tired of its gimmick of starting off each effort's title with the letter 'I'. I guess it's kinda stuck by now, and it does at least provide for a talking point, however brief, because there has rarely been much about this band that could ever stick out. They play a modernized thrash metal with old school values intact and a slightly more grisly vocalist than usual in Leif Jensen, but they also incorporate a lot of elements we expect from Swedish melodic death metal acts like the The Haunted or Carnal Forge. Backing metalcore or melodeath vocal shouts, plenty of slam parts and lots of tight leads ensure that the band should be a boon to audiophiles or anyone that just wants to bang their head a little.
Unfortunately, Invocation suffers the same fate as so many of the band's previous efforts. There are some solid riffs to be had throughout the album, in particular "The Invocation", "Global Hysteria" and "Condemnation" had a nice, casual momentum to them that I would have gladly smashed my fist alongside had it not been occupied with a tasty beverage. In particular, "Global Hysteria" moves at a nice mid-pace gait like an Exodus track from the 1987-1990 period. They also include a cover of D.R.I.'s "Thrashard" which sounds a little more fuel-injected in their capable hands than even the original. But there is a lot of weaker filler here, some of which is all too derivative. The rolling intro to "Arise from Decay" sounds a lot like the intro to Sepultura's "Mass Hypnosis", for example, if not the same muted note. Tracks like "Artificial Life" break into some very generic, mosh grooves which provide almost nothing interesting that you haven't heard a million times already.
If you've already got a wide variety of thrash metal to choose from, even death metal hybrids, there would be very little impetus to place this anywhere but back in the bargain bin. The riffs are simply not as interesting as their influences, nor many of their contemporaries. Dew-Scented have offered us better in the past, far better in fact (Inwards and Impact both smite this record, though they are musically quite the same), so I cannot honestly offer a recommendation to anyone save the most jaded fan of The Haunted, Carnal Forge, Hatebreed, or the few most recent albums from Exodus and Slayer. 'Those are hardly inspiring comparisons!' you say to me? Exactly! Now, I return you to my regularly scheduled beverage.