Another new band to my ears this month is Germany’s Scythe. The label bio refers to the band as Atmospheric Death Metal. In this case what that basically means is death metal vocals with a few moments of clean vocals over atmospheric riffing with some occasional death metal drumming. The band clearly has their shit together for this style of music and with the right exposure could make a good impression amongst fans of this style of metal.
POETRY OF ILLUSIONS begins with the song \”Castaway\”. It starts with a too-long guitar intro before the vocals and song finally begins. This is one of the stronger songs of the album and is mid-paced almost doomy. The vocals are death metal in style but are not overly abrasive. Surprisingly some melodic vocals come in on this song (and in some places throughout the rest of the album as well). The album opener picks up after 3mins with faster drumming. This is quite a varied song that clocks in at just over 6mins and kept my attention all the way through. A number of backing guitar melodies throughout most of the song were also very tastefully added. The second track is also one of the albums strongest. \”With Nothing All Begins\” starts with some fast and melodic riffing backed by double kicking drums. In keeping with the previous song, as soon as you think you know where the song is going…you don\’t! A clean guitar part follows, then it gets heavy again but behind the wall of noise, if you are listening closely, the clean guitar continues…neat! Some of the slower parts drag and meander in an Opeth-like way, especially the parts with just slow clean guitar. Despite that, this is a fine track. Another of the standouts is \”What Counts and What Remains\”. Believe it or not I hear a riff style very reminiscent of something that might be found in a Foo Fighters song….but the vocals or double kicking drums would not of course! \”Late Summer\” lacked in the well defined riff department and features a playing style that has more simple ringing out chords and then chugging on a few chords with the main melody line being played by a backing guitar. \”A Vision of You and Me\” has a very cool build up for 2+ minutes then enters into an old Paradise Lost styled chugging riff. The end of the CD lost its steam and lacked much of the fire from the beginning. Tracks 7 (“Poetry of Illusions”) and 8 (“Where Rivers Flow Into The Sea”) are a snooze fest to me and are not what I like about the band. The closing track, “Haunted”, is not a song per se, but is an outro that was cool and creepy at first but then dragged on too long and became tiresome. The CD also includes a cool “bonus track” in the form of an MPG video for the song “On My Way Home”. The video looks professionally shot and shows the 2 band members on a nature walk beginning on a beach then it’s off into the enchanted forest where we get to see some reenactments of the vocals and some guitar parts. The boys didn’t lug the drum set into the woods though, so the drummer only gets to brood and stomp around hehe.
Scythe is a band that has a lot of diversity in their music. I really liked the way some songs on here went in directions that I had no idea were coming. Some of the “atmospheric-ness” of the band was not up my alley and made me lose attention. If those elements were lessened and the album was full of tracks more like the first part of the album, this would be a winner. But hey, some people love the meandering atmospheric stuff. So for you, the later part of the CD might make you a believer. Even though Scythe is not at all an Opeth clone, there is something here in terms of their approach of mixing together beauty and brutality that will entice you.
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