I must say I heard Scythia for the first time, they already released two works “…Of War” 2010 and “… Of Exile” 2011, but unfortunately I only had the privilege of hearing them now and for my surprise and with their new EP “For The Bear” I was caught off guard and found myself headbanging like a crazy vane in acids and singing the chorus of “Fierce Riders of Scythia” as if I was part of a group of knights prepared for war.
Formed in late 2008 more than just folk/prog metal they are a theatrical epic metal band with primitive vests, horned helmets and an oboe of death that echoes a story of an ancient time of raging thunders, vast landscapes, folk music, dancing and drinking, epic battles and fantasy where the knights ride their bears and that´s pretty awesome.
This EP is out of the ordinary with two new songs (Sailor`s Accolade, For The Bear), three remixed songs from Scythia debut “…Of War” release (Fierce Riders of Scythia, Black Death and Dies Irae pt.1), Mattawa Reel has been adapted from a Quebecoils folk song written by Robert Forest and a Video Game Medley (Wizards and Warriors 1, Castlevania, Skyrim, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Final Fantasy VI and Tetris). The intention of this EP was to capture Scythia natural energy as they sound live and so they forget the flourish and post- production sound effects to give a rawer and more traditional sound that is the patrimony of folk. This is a work for the worshipers of epic music and cool games, a combination that left me like a fish in water, and will make you more than satisfied if you like this perfect combination of heavy music, epic tales and epic games.
Dave Khan, lead guitar and vocals of the quartet with the help of course of Terry Savage, bass guitar, Morgan Zentner, Oboe and Celine Derval, drums and vocals, succeeded in attribute the medieval sound of Scythia to an ancient civilization and to give life to the Nordic/Russian painting of warriors riding bears which served as influence to the creation of the band.
Listening to “For the Bear” was brutal, the folk element is really well played, the oboe creates the ancient environment and a beautiful ambiance, the guitar has pretty sick riffs with lots of techniques and changes of rhythm and tempos which is required to the progression of the music and makes the EP a lot more interesting with lots of modifications, creating an intense journey full of unexpected musical explosions with tendency to get better as you listen to it.
Scythia has influences such as Dream Theater, Symphony X, Pink Floyd, Alestorm, Opeth, Black Sabbath, Nightwish, Iron Maiden, and you can hear a bit of that in “For The Bear” but instead of saying they have element of other great bands and compare them I prefer to say they are unique, cause in fact they are! By the word of Khan: “Folk music is definitely more ambient, pure, and beautiful. Metal is intense, raunchy, and driving. The use of both in songs, combined with dynamic contouring, has the ability to take the listener on the kind of journey that rises to mountain peaks and descends into valleys, in a sonic sort of way,”
I indeed went on a journey that took me through mountain peaks and into beautiful valleys, I was in an ancient era of folk music but with Scythia by my side playing their blasting music and I fought warriors riding my bear… Yes! I am a Metal Nerd!