Released: 2015, Prosthetic Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Germany’s Dew-Scented have been doling out a fairly dependable, if unspectacular, death/thrash metal hybrid for more than two decades. But quite a bit changed for the band heading into their last album, 2012’s Icarus - like darn near the entire lineup.
Frontman Leif Jensen, the lone original member, also found himself to be the lone remaining member for a stretch before being joined by a whole new crew led by guitarist Marvin Vriesde, who had done stints with Dew-Scented in the past as a session player. The turnover actually ended up giving the band a needed kick in the ass after several lackluster efforts, as Vriesde proved an able and inspired songwriter while the other members – bassist Joost van der Graaf, drummer Koen Herfst and later guitarist Rory Hansen – brought taut performances to the table thanks to their time together in I Chaos.
This momentum continues with Intermination, the band’s 10th album, all of which begin with the letter “I.” Technically advanced, razor sharp and bursting with intensity and aggression, Intermination is a commanding album that grabs you by the throat once the instrumental intro “Declaration of Intent” yields to the full-throttle fury of “On A Collision Course” and doesn't let go. A few breakdowny hooks and ease-you-into-it intros aside, Intermination is utterly relentless, climaxing with a flame-throwing cover of Repulsion's “Radiation Sickness” as if to show there's still plenty more where that came from.
The clipped, crushing riffs of “Means To An End,” “Scars of Creation,” “Atavistic,” “Ode To Extinction” and “Reborn” - which features some guest shouting from Exhorder/Trouble vocalist Kyle Thomas - and the mid-tempo/manic back and forth of “Ruptured Perpetually” or “Living Lies” add some texture and color, which is welcome, and indeed necessary, given Intermination's break-neck sensibilities and Jensen's constant full-throated roar.
It's even more critical given that the usual go-to to accomplish this – the guitar solo breaks – are not a real strong point here. Vriesde and Hansen can riff up a storm, but their leadwork is fairly bland and understated, which is usually something I could care less about. But with something as punishing as Intermination, every little bit helps.