By Jason Wellwood
Although I had seen them pull of the songs from …Of War live, I was a little concerned that the drastic changes in personnel would adversely affect the magic Scythia created on their debut album. Thankfully not even a minute into the first song my fears were laid to rest: The Scythia on …Of Exile is a heavier, more focused band but just as magical. Though I’m sure it is a testament to the vision of vocalist/guitarist Dave Kahn that the epic folk metal of Scythia has not changed from the story-telling adventure begun in ...Of War, the subtle changes in the sound and feel of the album could only be brought about by a band that had spent some time together and shared a vision. No one overplays here, there isn’t too much of any one instrument and I have to say, the inclusion of the ‘Oboe of Death’ into the lineup adds a fantastic element to the music.
The progressive side of Scythia comes out a little more on …Of Exile as well. During ‘Spirit of the Quest’ you can definitely hear the 70’s prog influence both in the vocals and the keyboards, though this is only the most obvious case, you can also hear elements in ‘The Fallen King’ and throughout the entire album. Vocally, Kahn has really grown, the songs sound smoother and a little more comfortable on …Of Exile. The female background and harmony vocals are an excellent companion to his voice as well, and I can’t wait to hear them pull it off. The production on …Of Exile seems a little crisper this time around as well, the songs seem alive and utterly captivating. Song wise, the band swings between anthemic fist pounders, moody slow dances, and heavy head bangers without leaving the listener discombobulated. Transitions are smooth and logical, nothing forced, nothing pieced together. This is an album that will grab your attention and hold it from beginning to end.
Scythia have outdone themselves on this record. One listen to it with your headphones on and you’ll be humming the oboe parts to ‘For The King’ and quite possibly singing it over a pint of mead down at ‘Hobarth’s Inn’. …Of Exile is a fun, rollicking ride and I suggest you strap on your leather armour and your bastard sword put on this album and lose yourself in adventure.