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WLM Reviews: Scythia – …Of Conquest

February 16, 2014

Scythia - Of ConquestWho is looking for a North American version of Metal blending heavy doses of Turisas, a splash of Wintersun, a smattering of 70s prog rock, sea shanties, a ton of German Power Metal, a hint of Northern European Melo Death (a la COB), and a tongue in cheek attitude?  If you are, then I have the band just for you – Canada’s own Scythia.  This band has been performing their own blend of epic progressive metal with a twist of folklore since 2008.  Their brand new independently released album, …Of Conquest, features rich, poetic storytelling, and an epic tale that captures the imagination of all who are privy to its lyrical melody.

Scythia does not mess around getting …Of Conquest off to a rip roaring start with the first four tracks that set the tone and begin this thrilling journey into a grand story of exploration, battle, deceit, and wild eyed adventure.  Oh yeah, it’s some great Heavy Metal as well!  Fanfare 1516 is the stage setter, clearly showing the Turisas influence, particularly with the keyboard passages and gang shouts.  Vocalist Dave Khan, though, takes control with his very likeable voice and apparent passion.  One of the more compelling songs follows in Merchant of Sin, a cool story of a “two faced charlatan” and they keep things rolling along with Bear Claw Tavern, a Heavy Metal ale drinking song.  Scythia throws in some harsh vocals, as well, roughing up the expectations.  Sailor’s Accolade provides the impression of being at sea, from the shanty-type accordion laced melody in the intro to the romping  and rolling remainder.

Following a brief respite (relatively speaking) during the intro to Reflection, Scythia ramps it up again with an almost Progressive tune, alternating among time signatures and using different arrangements.  The guitar leads at the beginning or Rise of the Kraken brings images of flailing tentacles, while the track brings the heavy rather nicely with a mid-paced head banger as well as a Hammond organ solo.  Into the Storm starts as a Turisas clone, but quickly morphs into a straight out Power Metal song.  Crank this one for sure.  Land of Scythia features some excellent guitar leads, not that they have been slacking up to this point, but these really caught my ear.

Instrumental (mostly) Wrath of the Ancients flows nicely into Army of the Bear, another one of their strong Power Metal tracks.  Reminds me a bit of Soul Temptation era Brainstorm.  The word epic is thrown around a lot in Metal, but I am going to use it to describe the 13+ minute Path Trhough the Labyrinth, from the flutes at the beginning to the harpsichord ending with harsh vocals, big orchestras, melancholy passages, and impressive speed all along the way.  …Of Conquest ends with the track Departure, a fitting conclusion to the whole affair.

From Mr. Khan:  “The band is finally finding its ideal sound. This next album we are currently writing feels very natural and forms the perfect marriage of progressive power metal and catchy epic anthems.  That’s why we are putting our strong cards together and getting it done right!”

Check out Bear Claw Tavern:

The album was engineered/produced and mixed by the team of Lasse Lammert (Alestorm, Gloryhammer), Shaun Thingvold (SYL, LOG), and Nino Laurenne (Ensiferum, Wintersun, Kiuas), giving the album a great sound throughout.  …Of Conquest is definitely an adventure for not only the ears, but also for the imagination.  Highly recommended to fans of Power Metal and those who would dare to take a trip back to the 16th Century through the music.

…Of Conquest: 8/10 – Great

I hear the sound in a METAL way.

Let me know how you hear it – harley_wlm@zoho.com


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