Place your sword back in that scabbard as I am friend, not foe. I bring thee greetings from the land of Canada where upon a mighty musical gathering known as Scythia have unleashed a seven song collection called For The Bear. This title is most appropriate as Scythia came by their name thanks to band member Dave Khan. He of the vocal ability and talented guitar contributions, stumbled across a Russian/Nordic painting which showcased warriors fearlessly riding bears with their swords held high.
For those of you reading this parchment on which I have scribed these humble words, you may already be aware that the sound of folk metal is notoriously associated with Scandinavia thanks to bands like Týr, Crimfall and Finntroll. Naturally there are exceptions like the Swiss based Eluveitie, but no matter where they hail from the scene is both colorful and dramatic. Thankfully, Scythia have really established their craft after unleashing two studio albums previous to For The Bear.
Despite various lineup changes the band of folklore followers have settled down, and what becomes obvious after repetitive listens to this collection is how solid they sound and how much fun they are having. The warrior in us all should rejoice as Scythia relent in rapid deliveries from the opening song Sailor’s Accolade to the re-visited and remixed Fierce Riders From Scythia, to the adapted Québécois folk song Mattawa Reel and the clever Video Game Medley. The latter incorporates excerpts from Skyrim, Final Fantasy VI and many other video game music scores and retains the folk metal identity throughout.
On initial inspection, one might suspect this to be some sort of throwaway collection of re-recorded material, novelty nonsense and leftovers. You’d be sorely mistaken as these seven tracks entertain and yet embrace the character of folk metal with a genuine heart.