Scythia – Lineage (Self-Released)

Friday, 29th July 2016
Rating: 7.5/10

Continuing to plug away and release albums on their own, Canada’s Scythia aren’t quite the typical folk metal act. Compared with many of their comrades in folk, Scythia stick to singing in a more power metal-esque range than choosing to go into the growl zone (though a few do pop up). This gives them more leeway to create anthemic material and real raise-your-sword type moments, which neither lacks on Lineage.

It seems a fair assessment at times to give Scythia a label like “Iced Earth with a folk inclination” rather than an Ensiferum/Tyr wannabe. If anything, Lineage shows the band has being a bit more serious than on some of their previous efforts, with no obvious “tavern/drinking song” (for better or worse, depending on your perspective), and also more focused when it comes to songwriting. That’s not to say that the album lacks in the fun department, with upbeat and shred-y solos (see “The Sacrifice”) and melodies sprinkled in to question whether you should tap your toes or bang your head. The synths add to this as well, enhancing the galloping riffs (“Eternal Oath”) or raising the majesty of an already epic track (“Soldier’s Lament”). The two-part “Loremaster” seems to really embody what Scythia wants to accomplish here in 2016: strong melodies that can both attack/shred as well as bring a fantastical mid-tempo sing-a-long chorus (complete with matching synths).

There’s plenty to enjoy with Lineage, even if the techniques involved are well-traveled at this point. Fans looking for a more serious-sounding Alestorm (or see the Iced Earth comment above) will find Scythia to be a welcome addition to their collection, even if their greatest moment still lies in the road ahead.

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