Album of the Week 28-2015: Dew-Scented – Intermination

With the arrival of the four Dutch musicians that currently round out Dew-Scented’s lineup besides vocalist Leif Jensen, something happened with the sound of the band. Sure, the hyperspeed, incredibly tight and brutally aggressive sound that balances on the edge of Thrash and Death Metal has remained, but guitarist Marvin Vriesde brought a lot more variation and even a slight hint of melody to the band. Now that his six string partner Rory Hansen and bassist Joost van der Graaf also contribute to the songwriting, ‘Intermination’ is quite likely the most varied Dew-Scented album thus far.

Long time fans shouldn’t be afraid though; ‘Intermination’ is still a Dew-Scented record through and through. It’s just admirable that the band really seems to search for the boundaries of what can be done within the Dew-Scented paradigm. Koen Herfst doesn’t limit himself to blastbeats and Thrash polkas, but also has a great feel for groove and unconventional approaches to familiar formulas. Vriesde and Hansen also offer something new to the guitar solo department. The noisy, Slayer-esque screaming leads of the past have made way for a more Fusion-like approach (Hansen) and thematically strong solos (Vriesde).

As a result, ‘Intermination’ manages to stay interesting for a longer period of time than any predecessor has. Dew-Scented’s records were often frontloaded; by the time you got to the final quarter of the album, your ears would already be tired of the all-out brutal Thrash assault, regardless of how good it was. Want proof? The only live staple on the band’s set that’s near the end of an album is ‘Never To Return’. This time, it’s different. The second half of the album contains some quality Thrashing (‘Power Surge’, ‘Reborn’) and due to successful experimentation with different song tempos and building up tension, you actually get to hear it as well.

Illustrating this most wonderfully is ‘Ode To Extinction’. I doubt if any former Dew-Scented lineup would have been able to create a song quite like this. It starts out with a brooding bass intro courtesy of Van der Graaf and builds into an almost Suffocation-like Thrash/Death Metal song with three amazing guitar solos. Other highlights include ‘Means To An End’, which builds from raging Thrash to a surprisingly atmospheric finale, the trusted sound of ‘Scars Of Creation’ and the adrenalin shot that is opening track ‘On A Collision Course’. Bonus track ‘Those Who Will Not See’ deserved to be on the regular album.

Here’s to hoping that Leif Jensen has finally found his definitive Dew-Scented lineup, because as much as I loved their work with guitarists Flo Müller and Hendrik Bache, I still consider ‘Icarus’ and ‘Intermination’ to be the band’s best records yet. This one definitely benefits from having three different songwriters, each with their own influence on the album. Having played in a Thrash Metal band for years, I have often found the genre quite limiting in terms of songwriting, but this record proofs that you don’t need to fuse it with any other genre to really stretch its boundaries. That alone makes it worthy of your attention.

Recommended tracks: ‘Ode To Extinction’, ‘Means To An End’, ‘On A Collision Course’

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