Release Review: Scythe – Beware the Scythe

There are A LOT of bands named Scythe. I even know of a Scythe that hails from Wichita. I love his work, but we’re not talking about that Scythe. The Scythe we’re talking about today is a black/thrash band from Chicago who released their debut album, Beware The Scythe, earlier this year.

Scythe takes a thrash metal engine and they pump it full of black metal diesel. What my awkward metaphor is trying to say is that the riffs are based in thrash metal but they’re played in a black metal fashion. Aside from the standard tremolo riffs, we also get some sweet chugging (“Mastermind”, “Tyrannical Stranglehold”) and crazy duel guitar leads (“Opus Dei of the Dead”).

The songwriting, although not original, is pretty solid. The riffs are pretty catchy, and the rhythms seamlessly switch between furious charges and groovy interludes. No complaints about the drums, but they’re really at their best when they’re pummeling you with the double bass. The vocalist mainly performs a black metal rasp along with a few growls, but there are certain points where he performs low clean vocals that are very reminiscent of early Morbid Angel (first listen to “God of Emptiness” then listen to “Mastermind” and you’ll get what I mean).

However, I didn’t like the part on “Beware The Scythe” where the band channeled Black Label Society. If you ask me, it seems really out of place. The song started off well with a blazing rhythm and some catchy tremolo riffs, but then they switch to this odd mid-paced tempo with upbeat riffs and the vocalist sings in this clean voice that had a bit of a drawl. Other people might like this, but I didn’t like it. Luckily, I was able to look past it and enjoy the rest of the album as is, which is good because the rest of the album was packed full of great riffs.

I was quite surprised by this album. I went into it thinking it would be utterly generic, and I found out it was pretty damn sweet. Killer riffs, killer riffs everywhere. Highly recommended for any thrash aficionado.


1. The Iron Witch
2. Mastermind
3. Beware The Scythe
4. Tyrannical Stranglehold
5. Tunguska Death Ray
6. Opus Dei of the Dead
7. Talons of Steel
8. Eye of the Crow
9. Planet of the Humans

Scythe are:
Dan Geist – Bass
Tim Pearson – Drums
Rick Scythe – Vocals, Guitars

More Scythe:
Official Website

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