Toby Heal (Scythian Fate) Blitzkrieg Interview

6 min read

The Aussie dark progressive thrash band Scythian Fate has new vocalist and that’s important enough occasion to invite him for a quick chat. I have Toby Heal with me to answer this Blitz Interview

Hi Toby! Welcome to Blessed Altar Zine and congratulations on your new role with Scythian Fate!
Thank you very much!  I feel very privileged to be a member of Scythian Fate. I was a fan before joining so it’s great to be a part of the band.

– How did happen that you join Tom and Nino?
– Well, like I said I was a fan.  I followed the band on Twitter and found that Tom and I shared very similar tastes in metal.  We would often recommend bands and songs to each other.  I was heading to watch a gig in the city and Tom suggested we meet up and have a few beers before the show.  We met,  chatted about metal and he asked me to audition.  I thought he was mad for asking me but I was very keen to have a crack.  It ended up going really well and once both Tom and Nino gave their approval it was all go!

– How were the first rehearsals so far?
– First rehearsals were really great.  Tom and I clicked straight away and it was so easy to work with him.  Nino gave me some really great advice and encouragement which definitely boosted my confidence going forward.  It’s a steep learning curve for me, and I’m still learning but the guys are solid teachers as well as guitarists.  The new material is great to sing and seeing the songs take shape before our eyes has been a really positive experience. The guys are really open to my suggestions and ideas and that’s made it a really smooth transition.

– What’s your previous experience with vocals or being in a band?
Actually none.  I’ve never done either to be honest.  The closest thing I can compare it to was being a commentator/announcer in a pro wrestling federation in New Zealand a few years back.  I learned how to work a crowd during my time there so hopefully those skills will transition well to the stage.  The recording and rehearsal process is all new to me but I’m really enjoying learning all I can from Tom and Nino.

– What are your main strengths you will contribute to Scythian Fate with?
I think I’ll bring a fresh perspective to the band. We all love metal and all love thrash but we also have different styles of metal that we are fond of. Tom really likes his death metal and Nino is very keen on technical and progressive styles.  For myself, I’m a big fan of styles that have gained prominence in Europe such as Melodeath, Viking and Folk metal.   I think such a wide range of tastes in the one band is going to make the creative process really exciting and will help us to come up with songs that are truly unique

– What are your other occupations besides being a vocalist for Scythian Fate? Why Metal Ranga?
– Well in my day job I manage a team of debt collectors so that keeps me busy during the day.  I also have a young son at home who’s almost one and is pretty good at keeping me on my toes!
Metal Ranga came about due to an idea I had to start a metal focussed podcast.  I wanted a memorable handle.  In Australia a Ranga is slang for someone with ginger hair, since I am a Ranga and I am a metalhead I thought the fit was quite good.  Plus I did a search and nobody else was using the name hahaha!  The podcast idea has been shelved for now but the name has stuck and I’ve grown pretty fond of it.

– What are your favourite bands and main influences? And also – your favourite frontmen?
– Well I grew up with the classic metal voices and styles.  You know, bands like Dio, Priest and Maiden.  And I still love those bands.  But over the last few years I’ve almost been rabid in seeking out new and different styles to try.  I’ve discovered bands that, to be honest, I should have heard years ago.  Amon Amath is a prime example of that.  I’ve only known about them for about 4 years even though they’ve been around for much longer than that.  Johan Hegg is a massive influence on me as a vocalist.  He has such power and stage presence.  He’s larger than life up on stage and commands attention.  Another vocalist who really inspires me is Fernanda Lira from Nervosa.  The aggression and anger she puts into her singing is incredible.  Listening to her you’re surprised she’s not flaying the skin from your face with her voice! Also I have to mention Jari Maenpaa from Wintersun.  His ability to switch from sinister sounding harsh vocals to soaring clean is magical.  Not many singers anywhere can do what he does. As you can see, I could talk about this all day haha!

– How hard is to be a vocalist in a metal band nowadays?
– If you have a good set of bandmates around you it can be both fun and rewarding.  It’s not easy by any means but you put the work in and the rewards will come.  I’m just beginning my journey with Fate but it’s an exciting journey and I’m looking forward to that hard work.  It may sound a bit corny but I think if you are going into a band trying to be the next Halford or Dio you’re doing it wrong.  Be you and only you because then you’ll bring elements to that band that nobody else can.

– What to expect from the new record by Scythian Fate – music wise and vocal wise?
The new record is certainly heavier than the EP for a start.  The band has moved away from the slightly progressive thrash sound and into a bit more of a traditional thrash arena.  But it’s dark too man.  I like to think of it as “Dark Thrash”. There’s the power and aggression of thrash with just a little something sinister lurking beneath.  I don’t want to give too much away but we’re all really excited about this record and we feel that our fans area really going to be happy with it.  Vocally, I really like that sinister edge to the aggression so I’m looking to own that malevolent sound.

– Describe yourself in 3 song titles.
– Oh wow that’s tough!
I would say:
Wanderer (Ensiferum) because I’ve travelled around a lot and would like to travel more.
Man With A Plan (Korpiklaani) because I have a plan to give my best effort to Scythian Fate and hopefully contribute to music that people are going to love.
And finally, The Science of Noise (Dark Tranquility) because I love to study metal and learn as much as I can about it.

– Thank you very much for this Blitz interview. Looking forward to the new material by you guys! Keep it heavy!

– Thank you so much!  Stay Metal! \m/

Interview by Count Vlad

If you missed our big interview with Scythian Fate back in February, please check it out here