I’ve been listening to Scythian Fate’s debut album “Matrimony in Madness” for close to two weeks now, and only now do I feel qualified to analyse and review it, such is the depth of the music on offer here. Even after countless listens, sometimes something new jumps out. At first it may seem like a very difficult listen, but if you persevere, you’ll come to realise it’s nothing short of spectacular. Big call when it’s the debut album from a relatively unknown band from a country that always has something on display.
What this album has that sets it apart from the majority of ‘brutal’ and ‘technical’ progressive metal these days is the atmosphere it conjures up. This is a bleak, vitriolic and ugly album, with a brilliantly dark atmosphere, something which is often missing from death metal these days. Scythian Fate may have the technique and musicianship, but it’s not the primary focus here. The brooding riffs, the hard-edged, suffocating production, acidic vocals, compelling guitar solos and crushing drum barrage combine to produce a sound that’s like no other band.
Speaking of the riffs, there is some amazing guitar work here. Tom Kotsonis and Nino Morano definitely give a performance they can be proud of. It’s not particularly flashy, but it will get stuck in your head. There are a lot of riffs on this album, the songs are very linear and don’t repeat passages very often. You won’t get bored in a hurry. The tend to mix up, harsh, dissonant patterns with passages of eerie dark melodies, the tranquil moments provide a good contrast to the fury that tends to be unleashed shortly after. The best example of this can already be heard in “Crimson Snow” and “Balkan Ghosts,” but there are other less obvious instances all the way through the album. Toby Heal’s vocal performance is nothing short of outstanding. His frenzied howls are the perfect compliment to the savagery of the drumming (which is programmed) and guitar work, and convey a real sense of hatred and anger. He does mix it up too with more typical growls and lower pitches, but in pair with cleans, his voice is a killer combo.
If you are tired of the amount of sterile, clinical technical metal bands and are looking for something with a killer dark atmosphere, full of real passion, how death metal should be, then give Scythian Fate a listen. It may take a while to appreciate, but I guarantee if you stick with it you will not be disappointed.
Get the album from Bandcamp.