In the 20-year anniversary of its formation, German thrash metal band Dew-Scented return with a new line-up and their ninth studio album Icarus. One of the established European heavyweights of the genre, the new release shows the band has lost none of its hunger or ability to create thunderous and impressive sounds. The album does not see the band smashing through walls of originality but still easily and satisfyingly defends their position as one of the most accomplished and influential thrash bands this side of the big pond.
Following on from previous album Invocation of 2010, Dew-Scented continued their renowned work ethic with numerous European tours alongside the likes of Nile, Melechesh, Heaven Shall Burn, As I Lay Dying and Suicide Silence, Bolt Thrower and Rotting Christ, as well as their own headlining shows again all over Europe and appearances at festivals such as Hellfest, Wacken, Neurotic Deathfest, and Brutal Assault to name just a few of many. This period also saw the entire back-catalog of the band reissued as limited-edition Digipaks by Metal Mind Productions leading to further intense focus and intensive work for the band. This proved too much for some members and late 2011 saw a drastic line-up change in the band. Remaining founder vocalist Leif Jensen teamed up once again with guitarist Marvin Vriesde (Severe Torture, Blo.Torch) who had previously stepped in as a replacement live guitarist for tours in 1996, 2002 and 2005, as well as featuring as a guest on the Issue VI album. Vriesde was given the landscape to assume full songwriting duties and assemble the rest of the band which was brought with the addition of drummer Koen Herfst, bassist Joost van der Graaf (ex- Creepmime and Sinister), and after the album was recorded second guitarist Rory Hansen ( ex- Blo.Torch), all three also performing together in I Chaos. This immediate and already established tight understanding is easily apparent on Icarus, the band a thrusting and tumultuous force with a power and control only able to be brought by a unit fully integrated and as one.
From the opening full track Sworn To Obey the album makes blood vessels bulge and the pulse rate fly. It is a thumping mix of raucous vocals, destructive rhythms and riffs which whip the air and ear like leather straps, their effect continual immense slaps on the senses. The song is a persistent and forceful slab of metal with the growls of Jensen filled with vehemence as deep as ever whilst the guitar of Vriesde lights up the senses with some fine acute melodic play within the driving ear rupturing riffs of he and van der Graaf.
From that excellent start the following Thrown To The Lions with its busy grinding riffs and the outstanding Storm Within raise the game even higher. The first of the pair finds grooves and melodic enterprise to explode the already incendiary intensity the track brings whilst the second with its insistent niggle of an opening flexes heavyweight muscles to deliver a stomp of belligerent riffs and punchy rhythms. It too has a groove to lick ones lips at whilst its bruising energy leaves nothing but full satisfaction.
Only halfway in and the album is a winner but following songs like Gleaming Like Silver, the stunning Reawakening with its slowly tenderising assault, and the chugging feast which is A Final Procession let alone arguably the best song on the album The Fall Of Man, only enforce and enhance what went before for the greatest enjoyment.
To be picky at times there is a similarity across some of the songs and ideas but as it is so good anyway it is easily forgivable and not really an issue. Produced by Jörg Uken at Soundlodge Studios (God Dethroned, Suicidal Angels, Sinister) and featuring guest appearances from Dan Swanö (Edge Of Sanity, Bloodbath) on Reawakening and Sacrifice vocalist Rob Urbinati on Gleaming Like Silver, as well as guitarist Dennis Schneider (Retaliation, Final Breath), Icarus is an excellent return which even with the disruption the band went though shows Dew-Scented still head the fore of European thrash with skill and determination.
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