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(Nuclear Blast Records)

I always admired DEW-SCENTED for their uncompromising underground attitude and endurance within nowadays rather trendy orientated Metal scene. But when I heard that the boys from right around the corner got picked up by Nuclear Blast, I gotta admit that I somehow became a little worried... What kind of changes lead to a deal with such a money focused company? Well, the answer is quite simple: "Inwards" is indeed a little different to DEW-SCENTED's previous three full lengths. But that doesn't mean that the band jumped on any bandwagon in order to appeal to a bigger crowd - they just managed to write and produce their best material to date! The entire record lives off a sheer unbelievable intensity and power, which was very well put down to tape by Stage One Studio mastermind Andy Classen. This guy already proved his incredible talent on various releases in the past, but it seems to me that he even topped almost all of them and delivered one of his finest works with "Inwards" now! Even though I more or less already enjoyed all of DEW-SCENTED's previous outputs, I quite frankly never really expected them to return in such a big way! "Innoscent", and "Immortelle" were both pretty cool records, yet far away from becoming classics, while 1999's "Ill-Natured" already sent the first smoke signals on the horizon. But even in comparison with that, "Inwards" is certainly gonna spread to epidemic proportions!! Right from the beginning of 'Bitter Conflict' until the very last seconds of the album you'll easily notice that the big amount of live shows has turned DEW-SCENTED into an incredibly tight unit over the years. Even frontman Leif has found a good solution by now to sound a bit more varied without lacking in the wellknown sheer aggression. And musically speaking it seems to come down to one particular, rather big influence on all of the guys nowadays - and that is SLAYER! You'll find so many references to the heydays of LA's finest on "Inwards" that you should seriously consider picking up this one instead of the rather lame "God Hates Us All" output. The riffing, the drumming, the leads, yeah even most of the breaks remind on the glorious times when SLAYER was still the ultimate Thrash Metal monster. But to label DEW-SCENTED a cheap copy-cat because of all that wouldn't be fair at all. They just adopted all those elements and perform everything with a far more brutal approach. The best possibility to find out about this difference, is to check out DEW-SCENTED's crushing version of SLAYER's 'War Ensemble', which closes the album in the best possible way! Killer!! THE HAUNTED beware - these guys might become your worst nightmare pretty quickly!

Frank Stöver

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