Uncompromising, impassioned and addictive…
Review by Jason Guest
Release date: 21 August 2015
Six years after their first full-length, album number two from the UK’s Scythian arrives through the mighty Hells Headbangers. Why is that significant? Well, it appears that Scythian is the first UK band to be signed by the label. And with a roster such as theirs, surely that means that this is a band worthy of note, yes? So in anticipation of something gruesome and bruising, ‘play’ is pressed and following the acoustic opening to ‘Beyond The Dust’, something very gruesome, very bruising, and very epic gallops forth in a frenzied barrage of death/thrash brutality.
From start to finish, the band is out for blood. A. Von M.’s riffs are razor sharp, his melodies driving and defiant. S. Vrath’s vocals are vicious, their strategic arrangement across the panoramic expanse of the tracks intensifying their intimidating might. And his bass-lines, fortified by a monster sound, combine with the excellent drum-work of now-departed drummer J.C. Volgard to flesh out the bottom end with the unified force that the album demands.
Instrumentally, this band is a lethal unit, and so too are they musically. Each track works simultaneously as a distinct domain and a part of the greater whole. Except for the spoken word ‘War Graves…’ that is. Though thematically relevant, it feels superfluous, a track that can easily be skipped without hindering the experience of the album at all. But with a band capable of producing such beasts as the title track, ‘As Tyrants Feast’, ‘The Laws’ and the epic closer ‘Dystopia’, they’ve little to fear.
The six year interim between this and their first full-length has been fruitful. Even the most cursory of listens to 2009’s To Those Who Stand Against Us – an impressive work in itself – and this reveals a band that has matured significantly. Their sound, their songcraft, their musicianship refined, Scythian have delivered a stellar piece of work. As intricate as it is uncompromising and as impassioned as it is addictive, Hubris In Excelsis is worth your time. And plenty of it.
8 out of 10
- Beyond The Dust
- Hubris In Excelsis
- Apocalyptic Visions
- As Tyrants Feast
- Penultimate Truth Ultimate Deceit
- The Laws…
- Three Stigmata
- War Graves (Dulce Et Decorum Est…)