Unleash The Archers is a power metal band from Canada’s West coast that infuses death metal elements into their sound. I’ve known about these guys for a lot time, but for some reason never checked them out until their newest album, “Time Stands Still” (even though I saw them in 2009). Evidently, that was a mistake because this album rages. The band is led by frontwoman Brittney Slayes, who has an incredible voice. Her singing has a ton of power, and she lets you know that with the opening scream of “Frozen Steel”, the first full-length track on the record. This track also displays her wicked range, as she hits some seriously high notes in the chorus.
Complementing Slayes’ singing is some much harsher growling. I’m of the opinion that mixing growling and clean singing is a dangerous proposition. For 90% of bands, it does work. Usually this is because either the growling sounds like metalcore screamers, or because the singing sounds like metalcore whining. Fortunately, Unleash The Archers fits into the 10% that does this well. As mentioned, Slayes is definitely an archetypical power metal singer, and the growling is likewise right in line with its death and black metal heritage. Unleash The Archers also makes extensive use of gang and backing vocals. Often times this is done to amp up the intensity of the music, but it is also done to make things even more epic, such as on the title track.
The band’s music typically stays in the power/heavy metal range. The guitar playing is both virtuosic and melodic, often times harmonizing for greater effect (best exemplified in the beginning of “Tonight We Ride”). Occasionally the group gets more experimental, such as on “Crypt”, which opens as a full-on death metal song, complete with blastbeats and riffs of pure evil. On the whole though, this album is most likely to appeal to power metal fans. The rhythm section gets the job done, as the drumming is up to par with any of the elite drumming out there, and the bass is easy to hear.
From a songwriting perspective, “Time Stands Still” does a great job maintaining the listener’s interest. Put simply, 55 minutes is too long for this style and this album, but the really good tracks are spread all throughout the album, meaning that there are few, if any, dull moments. Unfortunately the 9-minute song “Dreamcrusher” is really not all that special, and could easily be cut, as both “No More Heroes” and “Time Stands Still” surpass it in grandiosity. The best song on this record, however, is “Test Your Metal”. While the stereotypical metal track has been done by an uncountable number of bands before, it doesn’t matter so long as it’s good, and Unleash The Archers have made a fantastic metal anthem. This song is definitely the best display of Slayes’ vocal prowess, but it is also an excellent example of the band’s general sound and talent.
On the whole, “Time Stands Still” is an impressive record. This is definitely one band I was wrong about; I was incredibly concerned they’d be a boring modern metal band, and while there are certainly modernisms present on this record, it is ultimately a solid power metal album. As long as you still enjoy some fun in your metal, “Time Stands Still” is going to appeal to you.
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"Test Your Metal"
"No More Heroes"
"Time Stands Still"
4.4/5 or 88%.
Written by Scott