Vancouver’s Scythia is a confusing bunch. Are they pirate metal? No, not really. Folk metal? Nah. They may have folk elements, but they’re not that dour. Yeah, you heard me. Battleshield metal? I made that up, but it makes them sound a lot tougher and more sinister than they actually are. Let’s go with what I found on their Facebook page: “BC based theatrical metal band with costumes and an oboe of death.” Morgan Zentner plays the oboe (of death), they all dress like Ren Faire folk drinking with the Braveheart fanclub on a scurvy-ridden pirate ship and obviously have a sense of humour.
They also have a new EP out, the follow up to their 2011 album …Of Exile. It’s titled For the Bear and according to their bio and the blurb in the CD, “The intention of this EP was to capture Scythia as they sound live. They have chosen to abandon fancy post-production sound effects and extensive guest musicians in favour of capturing the energy and excitement of these compositions. “Fierce Riders of Scythia,” “Black Death” and “Dies Irae pt.1” were originally recorded back in 2009 and appeared on Scythia’s debut …Of War release. These tracks have been re-recorded and re-mixed to capture the mood and intensity of Scythia’s current line-up. The “Mattawa Reel” has been adapted from a Quebecois folk song written by Robert Forest. The “Video Game Medley” features excerpts from Wizards and Warriors 1, Castlevania, Skyrim, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Final Fantasy VI and Tetris.”
Shit, aside from Tetris, that last sentence might as well have been in Mandarin as far as I’m concerned. So, give the title track a whirl and see what you think.
If you’re interested, For the Bear comes out September 25th. Check out the links below for more info and ordering info. And don’t scrimp on the eating, drinking, being merry with your sword and shield.