Scythia is the musical equivalent of dissociative identity disorder. One minute there is lush instrumentation, showcasing the band members technical prowess, the next minute there is a wild solo and some Maiden-style chugging.
A wide variety of instruments were used on this record. Many of the songs have classical-sounding compositions with pianos, violins, cello and even flutes.
The band is not afraid to experiment, that is for sure. The track lengths vary from 1:32 to over seven minutes. “Dies Irae Pt. 1” is a real standout track beginning with an epic intro solo over some ominous tones before getting into an interesting technical Tool-esque riff. From there it gets into some wild violin parts that just plain rule.
What may be off-putting for some people is the vocals and lyrical theme. It is almost like the soundtrack to Dungeons and Dragons.
What is refreshing about . . . of War is the lack of guttural vocals in the music, setting Scythia apart in its genre. There aren’t very many metal bands that actually sing with clean vocals.
The concept of . . . of War is the ancient war that took place in Scythia, an area in Europe inhabited by the Scythians from the eighth century BC to the second century AD. Very little is known about them.
The concept works with the music, and though it is ridiculous (as concept albums tend to be), you can’t help but respect the ambition of Scythia.
The music is epic and there are many great riffs, but it definitely could be seen as over-the-top. In the end, those who appreciate top-rate musicianship will at the very least respect this band’s creativity.