Working from a solid DIY work ethic, Canada's Unleash The Archers has been churning out tunes and doing shows in North America and Europe since 2007. They've got two full length albums and an EP under their bullet belts, all independently produced and promoted. Now they arrive with their third album, Time Stands Still, now signed to Napalm Records for international distribution.
Unleash The Archers basically stands in the tradition of classic heavy metal, from the NWoBHM to contemporary European power metal. And they do it with vocalist Brittney Sayles at the forefront. She's definitely a heavy metal vocalist, not one of those screeching operatic divas. She sings clean with melody and range, but can throw out some true metal screams as necessary. She may remind some of Benedictum's Veronica Freeman or Crystal Viper's Marta Gabriel. It should be noted that one of male members does some dirty/death vocals in the background, which sucks. But generally, the vocal harmonies across this album are notable, even exceptional, with band members offering everything to gang shouts to a choral feeling.
After these things, UtA offers twin guitar harmony throughout with sizzling lead guitar work. Most arrangements move at a swift pace and the rhythm section rumbles along with precision. Sometimes the band gives a more forward taste of the bass and drum as within Tonight We Ride about two thirds. Listen carefully, because it's brief. When I put the guitar riffs and leads together with the speed of the power metal Unleash The Archers begins to remind me of dialed back Dragonforce, with female vocals. Like 90 mph to Dragonforce's 120 mph intensity. Nevertheless, UTA can sound rather epic and bombastic all the same.
Having said these things, and while this album consists of ambitious power metal, here's some comments on a few songs. Test Your Metal, one of the shortest songs here, has this nice rock groove underneath and some really catchy riffage making it quite accessible. Crypt is an example of the band's fine vocal harmonies, especially on the choral side just after the half way point. Dreamcrusher falls into the category of "beware of songs that start on softly." Moments of acoustic guitar quickly move bombastic riffage, a tempos that sway between moderation and speed. And you've got to dig Scott Buchanan's drum work at the beginning of Going Down Fighting; it's set the tone and groove the entire song. Later, after the four minute mark, you get another taste of rhythm section once more. Overall, Unleash The Archers is a classy heavy power metal act and Time Stands Still is, excepting the use of death vocals in the background, a solid and entertaining example of the best of the genre. Recommended.
Unleash The Archers is a classy heavy power metal act and Time Stands Still is, excepting the use of death vocals in the background, a solid and entertaining example of the best of the genre. Recommended.
How does a Hollywood band end up on a Swedish record label with Swedish distribution and then have promotion from a German public relations joint? Beats me. But LA's Warner Drive may be the best band I've never heard of this year. Maybe for you too ... [ Read More ]