SCYTHIAN - To Those Who Stand Against Us... (NECROTERROR - CD 2009 / BLOOD HARVEST - LP 2011)
I'm quite surprised that this album seems so overlooked, because "To Those Who Stand Against Us..." belongs to my favourite debut records of recent years. British Scythian really nailed it and delivered truly impressive and memorable piece of epic black / thrash / death metal. It's one of those albums, which I can listen to over and over again, for days. And it never gets boring, it never starts to annoy me. It's the opposite - it makes me hungry for more!
So, what is Scythian like? Well, to some it's just a band, which sounds very close to the likes of Destroyer 666, Razor of Occam or Gospel of the Horns. It's true that the Australian scene must have inspired Scythian strongly, but I don't think it's something necessary to moan about. That's because "To Those Who Stand Against Us..." sounds incredibly well and I think that this album matches the quality of the infamous "Unchain the Wolves", "Phoenix Rising" or "A Call to Arms". For me there's the same quality of , excellent , fantastic wild performance, atmosphere and aggression. Just memorable and best extreme metal I can think of. It's even more noticeable that such a good album came from an unknown band and this is their first full length, prior to which they only did one demo.
I called this album an epic black / thrash / death metal. Believe or not, but that's exactly how I feel it sounds. There's blackened atmosphere and viciousness, with raspy vocals of . The riffs have sometimes almost a thrashing sharpness and aggression, but also old school death metal feel at times similar to the early Morbid Angel. Everything sounds savage, violent, the music is roaring with great, powerful force. Yet it also has a strong epic feel. There are plenty of more atmospheric parts, some of which even remind me the likes of classic Bathory and . There are some keyboards in the background to some of these fragments, which obviously give aura. And damn, it's fantastic how many of these riffs are just catchy and memorable, that they stick in your head and you know that they're stay in there for good. I can mention songs such as "Pray to War", "Shattered Idols" (evoking the great Bathory spirit), "Ares Guide My Blade" (which is so vicious and fast!) and "Kurgan Funeral Chant" and they all are insanely brilliant. From start to finish, we have 45 minutes of excellent music, which I cannot recommend enough.
Just as I wrote in the beginning, this is one of the best debuts in many years for me. An instant classic, as good as "Phoenix Rising" and other such killer records. There's fire in these sounds, at the same time it sounds fresh and not like something what was over-done by other bands before. They had a perfect formula and used it in the best possible way. Strong support! A must to have for sure!!!
Standout tracks: "Pray to War", "Shattered Idols", "Kurgan Funeral Chant"