You either like DEW-SCENTED or you don’t. These German Death/Thrashers have boiled their sound down to a science of consistency. If one isn’t a fan of their riff heavy bombardment of what the 90s initially delivered when it blended the two genres, then you still aren’t going to like what DEW-SCENTED has to offer on their latest embodiment of density “Icarus.” If you happen to be a fan, like myself, then you will be pleasantly surprised to find that this ninth album is their best effort in many, many years.
Despite the ever-revolving door of members in this band (with only the harsh rasping roar of vocalist Leif Jensen remaining from the band’s early days), the chemistry on “Icarus” might be some of the strongest they’ve had since “Issue VI.” The band simply seems in better shape when it comes to writing and performances here and it certainly takes their musical output to the next level.
The songs are more distinctive from one another with a stronger sense of identity between them. Although the record is very much still DEW-SCENTED in its combination of SLAYER influence and Death Metal ferocity (just listen to the squealing solo on “Thrown To The Lions” or the punchy riff on “Storm Within”), but there seems to be a little more freedom in how it all fits together. There is still the focus of riffing and blasting double bass drums as the concrete in the writing and performances, but some modern chunking to the structure and drums make songs like “A Final Procession” instantly stick out with an almost Groove-like swagger. More densely woven and standard sounding DEW-SCENTED pieces like “Sworn To Obey” or “Destined To Collapse” give fans those harsher and more intense songs that the band damn near perfected on “Impact.”
It’s always impressive that when DEW-SCENTED strike that perfect balance of brutal abrasive Death Metal skull crushing and energetic catchy Thrash Metal, it turns out like “Icarus.” This album is the best of both of these genres with its apocalyptic landscape of audio nuances to its fierce pacing and heavy-handed production. For fans of the band or of that style made popular in the 90s, then “Icarus” might be the light at the end of the tunnel as it really does come close to being one of the best that has come from this combination.
Songs to check out: “Sworn To Obey”, “Storm Within”, “A Final Procession.”
(Online August 20, 2012)