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Scythia
...of Conquest
February 2014
Released: 2014, Indie
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: JP

Alberta Assault! In early 2014 Calgary, Alberta will be hosting the WACKEN METAL BATTLE. This contest has regional acts perform to audiences and judges who then decide who gets to go further in the contest, with the winner getting a trip to perform at Wacken. This is a good a time as any to do my bi-annual, quick, regional round-up of releases from Alberta Metal bands. Even though not all of these bands may be competing in WMB, I’d like to thank the bands who provided review copies for me for my radio show and Metal-Rules.com. The bands are Armifera, Black Pestilence, Bloated Pig, Enemyus, Exit Strategy, Ides Of Winter, Kataplexis, Misanthropy, Scythia, Throne Of Vengeance, Trollband, Vile Insignia and Villainizer. Please feel free to check out the other reviews in this feature.



Scythia just keeps getting better and better. Without trying to sound condescending as an industry observer, a radio guy, a web guy (but fan first and foremost) it has been so fun to watch them grow and morph into this monster folk Metal band. The brand new (as of early 2014) studio album is called …OF CONQUEST. If you are familiar with the band you will recognize the similarity in title to the two previous records, both of which we reviewed on this site. The reason is that the band has released the next part in the trilogy. I had the pleasure of chatting with the band after an early gig in Calgary a few years back and they stated with confidence that they were going to create a trilogy with an entire storyline, and they have done it! They have also delivered on their promise to deliver an album with a nautical theme as well. I’m recall being impressed with the vision of the band and despite a number of line-up changes they have prevailed in creating quite the epic adventure!



…OF CONQUEST in my opinion, is the bands best album to date. The song-writing is stronger and the performances are all superb. The album is very dynamic. There are sweeping soaring keyboards, female vocals, acoustic parts, sound-effects, and tons of folk elements. There parts all combine to create a magnificent whole that add to the story. One part I do like about the storyline and the lyrics is that it is not all just high-fantasy; you knows dragons, kings and demons with wings type stuff. The lyrics are far more earthy and realistic, well, except maybe for the Kraken, but giant squids do exist so it is not all that far-fetched. For example of such realism the semi-narration tale end of the track ‘Merchant Of Sin’ tells of Ragnar the Merchant and his travels and need for an accolade. ‘Sailors Accolade’ which appeared on the FOR THE BEAR EP of 2012 is another highlight. The golden age of adventure on the high seas has enough romantic imagery to work with that the band doesn’t need to create a Tolkien-esque wizard-clone or a Platinum dragon with 500 hit points.



The band tackle their most ambitious cut yet the 12+ minute epic ‘Path Through The Labyrinth. With all the bells and whistles, Scythia fortunately always remember they are a Metal band and the guitar rage, the vocals soar, and the drums drive the whole thing along at the appropriate pace for these dynamic tales of high adventure.



It may be a little early to start predicting end-of-year list placements but …OF CONQUEST is so well written, performed and executed that I’m confident that people, myself included may consider this one of the strongest albums of the year. Let this album set sail in your player and I’ll meet you at Bear Claw Tavern to discuss how good the metallic minstrels of Scythia are.
Track Listing

1. Fanfare 1516
2. Merchant of Sin
3. Bear Claw Tavern
4. Sailor's Accolade
5. Reflections
6. Rise of the Kraken
7. Into the Storm
8. Land of Scythia
9. Wrath of the Ancients
10. Army of the Bear
11. Path Through the Labyrinth
12. Departure

Lineup

Dave Khan Vocals, Guitar
Terry Savage Bass
Celine Derval Drums,
Jeff Black Keyboards


Next review: » Scythia - ...of Conquest
Previous review: » Sapiency - Tomorrow

Scythia
...of Conquest
February 2014
Released: 2014, Independent
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Celtic Bob

Scythia is a Canadian Progressive Metal band that have been on the scene since 2008 and released their debut in 2010. Since then they have had an additional 3 releases. This new album...OF CONQUEST is slated for release early this year.



...OF CONQUEST is the first time hearing of Scythia. While Progressive Metal is not my normal daily listening style of Metal I do appreciated the musicianship and complexity of it. After a couple of plays the album begins to grow on you. The arrangements of the songs is something to be appreciated. Unlike most in this genre they add in a bit of humor, especially in the video for “Bear Claw Tavern” making it a fun listen. The albums lyrics do have a bit of folklore added into the storytelling giving it an old, medieval vibe. This is evident on the mellower track “Land Of Scythia” where you really hear the lyrics more prominently. Similar with the more upbeat “Wrath Of The Ancients”, the storyline drags you in and you begin to visualize the songs.



A fine album for fans of Progressive, Viking/Folk and even Power Metal. ...OF CONQUEST is an album that is sure to please many Metal fans with it’s well written and focused songs.
Track Listing

1.    Fanfare 1516
2.    Merchant of Sin
3.    Bear Claw Tavern
4.    Sailor's Accolade
5.    Reflections
6.    The Kraken
7.    Into the Storm
8.    Land of Scythia
9.    Wrath of the Ancients
10.  Army of the Bear
11.  Path Through the Labyrinth
12.  Departure

Lineup

Dave Khan - guitars, main vocals
Terry Savage - bass, harsh vocals
Jeff Black - keyboards, back-up vocals
Celine Derval - Drums, back-up vocals
 


Next review: » Shrapnel - The Virus Conspires
Previous review: » Sapiency - Tomorrow





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