Originally written by Chris Chellis.
Pure thrash from newer bands is nonexistent. Instead, we’re offered bands like The Haunted, Shadows Fall, Lamb of God, and, as pertains to this review, Dew-Scented, all of whom produce music that’s neither death nor thrash but a hybrid of sorts. Sure, we have Exodus, Death Angel, and every other 80s product making their respective comebacks, but finding newer thrash bands who don’t use death vocals is difficult. I used to think of this new thrash as a beautiful prostitute with banged-up teeth. I used her, but damn if that coating (read vocals) didn’t nearly ruin it for me. However, like most things, it has since grown on me and the death-leanings often serve to keep things interesting in what some might describe as a derivative genre. Dew-Scented’s sixth album, fittingly titled Issue VI, proves a worthy listen. If you pump iron, like your meat rare, and chew beef jerky incessantly while head-banging, drop the dumbbells now and start saving a few bucks here and there because this is the album for you. Those who thought Peter Dolving’s return to The Haunted was a sign of the coming Apocalypse and miss former lead shouter Marco Aro will also want to pick this up. I’d like to call this no-frills thrash/death but the album is a bit more complex and requires further explanation… Imagine bludgeoning riffs and a wonderfully harsh drum sound topped by a killer vocal style that elongates every word so “forever” sounds like a grunted “FOREVVVEERRRR!” and you’ve got this album in a nutshell. The sixth track, “The Prison of Reason,” encompasses this rule best. Thankfully not down-tuned to all hell, the opening riff is somewhere between clean and a hard place and the drum work by Uwe Werning is unrelenting in a way that will have you pressing repeat just so you can focus again on his hidden subtleties. I’ve never been the biggest fan of lead singer Leif Jensen, as he neither takes away nor contributes much to the group in terms of distinguishing it from the rest, but he’s certainly serviceable here. The only complaint some might have had with Dew-Scented in the past was the fact that there was little progression, but the tempo changes found in Issue VI are all impressive and hint at the group’s willingness to experiment without compromise, something their oft-compared counterpart, The Haunted, had failed to live up to with their latest effort, according to some. Thrash fans live for the kind of riffs that seep into nightmares, daydreams, and car stereos, and the driving riff found on the album’s eighth song, “In Defeat,” is exactly that. The solo beginning at the 2:55 mark and ending at 3:15 is simply jaw dropping. A thrash fan would be hard-pressed to find an easier purchase in the coming months than Dew-Scented’s Issue VI. A doubly aggressive guitar attack, uncompromisingly harsh vocals, and drum work that not only serves the tempo of its tracks but calls for attention in and of itself make Issue VI an album not to be missed. The one thing that prevents this album from getting a higher score is that I believe guitarists Hendrik Bache and Marvin Vriesde could have worked a bit longer in coming up with more inventive riffs, but with the growth the group has shown on this album I would only expect to see that issue solved on its followup.