Scimitar - Shadows Of Man

It has been quite a while since these sword brandishing Canadians rocked into battle since their debut back in 2011, so pagan metal fans should be quite excited with the second offering from Scimitar. Changing a few things the group seems to stick with their melodic death metal roots while adding in the folk/ pagan elements to try and keep the album from seeming like ‘just another melo death effort.’ The use of banjo/hurdy gurdy is sparse but used to tasteful effect such as on ‘State Of Nature’ and ‘Wandering At The Moon,’ showcasing the softer side of the group versus the harder, yet still very fun sounding tracks like ‘Flayed On The Birth Rack.’ The melo death elements are more akin to Amon Amarth with the riffing with hints of Ensiferum, and with the way the group structures their guitar work, sometimes it feels more like fantasy keyboard as opposed to actual guitar; just check out the solo on ‘State Of Nature.’

Scimitar brings out a lot of the pagan elements with their vocal work. Every member contributes some sort of vocal tone, and it shines more on the more pagan rock like tracks such as ‘Knights Collapse,’ which feels like the anthem to ride into battle and crush your opponents on horseback or a giant wolf if one is so lucky. The fast pace of the music really gets one’s blood going so it is very hard to be bored with these tracks as the album progresses. Here and there the band slows down a bit such as during the solo on ‘Shadows Of Man II: Cataclysm’ or on the introduction to other tracks, but it is pretty much a non stop ride all the way through. The closing epic- and the only epic on the album- ‘Mysterium, Tremendum Et Fascinans’ feels like a very different side of Scimitar as it drags along to more doomier proportions, shedding the more fun side for something that feels a bit more serious. It is still epic and fun though.

The one downside is that some fans who have heard this group’s work before might miss the more epic pieces. On the past album, Scimitar felt like they created long stories with their music. On “Shadows Of Man” the album feels to go by a bit faster even though there are more tracks present. Thankfully there are enough varied pieces that no track feels the same, so one will certainly have to feel the need to skip around until they find a song they like. The whole album is cohesive and keeps one gripped, whether it be the clean soaring choruses, or the harsh, almost rap style barking of the vocals. If one enjoys melo death with pagan/Viking metal incidents, then they will find Scimitar right up their alley.

3.5 / 5 STARS 


1. State Of Nature
2. Knights Collapse
3. Flayed On The Birth Rack
4. Wandering At The Moon
5. To Cultivate With Spears
6. Shadows Of Man I: Imperium
7. Shadows Of Man II: Cataclysm
8. Where Ancient Spectres Lie
9. Mysterium, Tremendum Et Fascinans

Self released
Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Nov 13, 2020
Next review: Luna’s Call - Void

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