At The Gates
2 Sworn to Obey
3. Thrown to the Lions
4. Storm Within
5. Gleaming Like Silver
6. By My Own Hand
7. The Fall of Man
9. Destined to Collapse
10. A Final Procession
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As of 2012, German thrash masters Dew-Scented have managed to wade their way through the various thrash movements and revivals for 20 years and still remain viciously relevant. What better way to celebrate such an impressive milestone than releasing another album? In keeping with the tradition of beginning each of their album titles with the letter “I”, Dew-Scented’s 8th studio album, Icarus, sees the band sticking to what they do best and providing a no holds barred punch in the face chock full of catchy riffs, galloping drums, and cookie monster vocals, coming courtesy of the sole remaining founding member Leif Jensen, who sounds like a slightly angrier Trevor Phipps. There is a reason Dew-Scented are still tromping through the battlefields of thrash, but there’s also a reason they’ve never been leading the charge; their weapons are rather dull, and they're in need of sharpening.
The album opens in typical thrash fashion with the sweeping melodic into track “Hubris,” which of course is nothing more than preparation for the full on assault that’s about to ensue. As expected, Dew-Scented does not fail to deliver. “Sworn to Obey” is a thrasher in every sense of the word, calling to mind Beneath the Remains-era Sepultura and serving as a nice segue into the equally speedy “Thrown to the Lions.” Tremolo picking, catchy lead work, and sprinting skins are at the forefront of these two songs, but things take a turn for the groove with the next bruiser, “Storm Within.” A short burst of feedback begins what is perhaps the strongest song on the album before breaking into a wickedly groovy riff that is bound to cause whiplash. They continue to bring the ruckus with tracks such as “By My Own Hand” and “The Fall of Man,” but slow things down to the mid-tempo range once again with “Reawakened,” which features a guest vocal spot by none other than the legendary Dan Swano. The album finishes on a high and fast note with “Perpetuated,” ending as abruptly as it started.
The brand of thrash played by Dew-Scented showcases a sense of melody borrowed from melo-death legends At the Gates combined with the vicious attack of bay-area forefathers Exodus. There’s no denying the talent these German thrashers bring to the table, but Icarus lacks a certain bite and attitude which thrash has become known for. The lead and rhythm work by new guitarists Marvin Vriesde and Rory Hansen is commendable and does justice to the ever-changing lineup that has plagued Dew-Scented over the years. With that being said, their riffs and solos lack personality; thrash is all about the riffs and insane guitar work, and unfortunately the riffs presented on Icarus are rather boring and tedious. The band has a great sense of songwriting, seamlessly blending parts together in an organic way, but as with the past few Dew-Scented releases, many of these parts seem to be interchangeable, and the songs tend to blend together after a few listens.
Overall, Icarus is just another release bound to get lost in the sea of modern thrash. With its melodic death metal influences, it stands up rather well, but Dew-Scented aren’t trying to be a melo-death band, they’re trying to be a thrash band. With so many other bands playing this beloved style of metal, let alone playing it better than Dew-Scented, it’s hard to justify giving this a listen over, say, Municipal Waste’s new album or better yet, Testament’s. If you’ve been a die-hard fan of Dew-Scented for years, then you’re probably going to love this album. However, if, like me, you prefer your thrash more in the vein of old school bay-area bands, you’re probably going to want to look elsewhere.