Published Apr 20, 2014There is something metallic coursing through the water in Calgary. As a result, over a hundred bands call the Stampede city home; more are relocating, finding multiple local festivals, screaming crowds that appreciate every obscure and commercially viable subgenre and fans willing to depart with fistfuls of money. Power/folk metal band Scythia is one such act, a promising independent quintet who relocated then unveiled their third full-length on a warm April night to an appreciative crowd, despite the fact that multiple metal, rock and punk shows raged elsewhere across the city.
The "black metal cowboys" Skymir kicked off the evening. Better branded as extreme metal, their sound navigates a bizarre combination of Cradle of Filth and Calgary's historically inaccurate "frontier" past. It was tight, but not for snotty elitists. Enemyus occupied a sonic space reminiscent of 2004 metalcore complete with soaring, clean vocals and the occasional pig squeal. Like the openers, they were tight but unappealing.
Viathyn offered up tunes more aligned with the headliners, performing epic heavy metal that was tinged with progressive deviations and amplified by odd, yet fitting, warbling vocals. The crowd was salivating and a sweaty mosh pit broke out frequently in the tiny venue, as the band hadn't graced the stage in nearly a year since their appearance at Calgary Metal Fest.
Swashbuckling headliners Scythia were undoubtedly the tightest of the night, a choreographed folk and power metal band with matching leather armor and warrior paint. Despite the unnecessary flair, every member was an incredibly accomplished musician, although the diverse keyboards, rollicking drums and soaring vocals shone brightest. Irony be damned; as the notes rang out on "Bear Claw Tavern" it was evident from the couple swinging wildly in do-si-do amidst the moshing revelers that power metal will forever inspire the warriors to pump their fists unapologetically to the sky.