Released: 2015, Hells Headbangers
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Now we should just be clear, we’re talking about the UK Scythian here. Not any other. Because apparently there are others. Which will probably cause all sorts of problems in the long run. And taking the lead from so many other bands they’ve made it a right mystery to find out who’s even in this Scythian. Or how many of them there are. The PR says quartet, which is sort of correct if we count B. Iron’s live input, although wait does he also feature on the album? And half their online presence makes no mention of good old J.C. Volgard on the drums. Oh the random and unknown politics of music. We just want to know who you are. A bunch of initials apparently.
Ah but some of those initials belong to S. Vrath who you may (or may not) know from his turns in Craven Idol, Crom Dubh and Sepulchral Temple. Yeah we’d be too busy to worry about our bio as well. HUBRIS IN EXCELSIS then – full length album numero two for Scythian; a record that comes charging through with no regard for the six year gap.
Apparently taking inspiration from apocalyptic sci-fi and morbid poetry, the album features a number of light and shade tracks like “Apocalyptic Visions”, which starts off acoustic and then lets the black and death metal influences run. With a few thrash gallops to boot. It’s a device that is on the whole a little overused across HUBRIS IN EXCELSIS but when it gets as good as “Apocalyptic Visions” does come its second-wind-run-into-close you kind of don’t mind.
You can hear Sodom and Bathory, you can hear Angelcorpse, you can hear the end of the world in Vrath’s vocals, as though he’s barely keeping a lid on it. “As Tyrants Feast” is uncompromising from the guitar’s first cry, Volgard setting such a furious pace on the drums, the vocals almost feel a touch behind.
“The Laws…’” Arabic acoustic opening and spoken word vocals lingers, whilst “War Graves” sees Wilfred Owen’s First World War poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” spoken over acoustic guitar, building into heavy waves. It’s kind of cool and it has a real power, because those words have power, but it’s hard to figure out why they didn’t close the album with it. Instead they left that to “Dystopia” which to be fair is one of the best HUBRIS IN EXCELSIS has up its dirty sleeve. If you wondered why they need extra guitars live, give it a spin. Those six-strings sound super clean, almost sparkling against the apocalyptic backdrop.
Scythian are apparently the first UK band to be signed up by extreme metal aficionados Hells Headbangers. HUBRIS IN EXCELSIS tells you exactly why.
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs