Unleash The Archers are a Canadian heavy metal group with a classic feel from Victoria, B.C. Starting in 2007 by vocalist Brittney Slayes and drummer Scott Buchanan with guitarist Brayden Dyczkowski, and soon to be joined by Mike Selman (Guitar), Zahk Hedstrom (Bass) to round out the group. They released two albums with this lineup ‘Behold the Devastation’ (2009) & ‘Demons of the Astrowaste’ (2011), both of which were released independently. ‘Demons’ marked the departure of Mike Selman and introduced Grant Truesdell into the fold, who had previously recorded two solos for ‘Demons’ prior to joining the band. In 2012, they released a three song EP, solely on 7” vinyl, titled ‘Defy The Skies’. This release also marked the departure of original bassist Zahk Hedstrom. In 2015, Unleash The Archers was signed to Napalm Records and released ‘Time Stands Still’. This was the first album without guitarist/songwriter Brayden Dyczkowski, who left in 2013, and is said to have altered the band’s sound into a more traditional heavy metal direction with the addition of new guitarist Andrew Kingsley. In 2016 they began work on their 2nd effort under Napalm Records with their current lineup of Brittney, Scott, Grant, Andrew and introducing new bassist Nikko Whitworth. Their new album is called ‘Apex’ and will be released on June 2nd via Napalm.
Unleash The Archers have released two songs prior to the release of ‘Apex’ with them being “Cleanse The Bloodlines” and “The Matriarch” with corresponding videos to each with the latter being a lyric video. “The Matriarch” opens with the heart melting scream of Miss Slayes and continues to ooze what you want from a classic sounding heavy metal group. The clean screams, relentless guitar riffs, and those ever pounding bass kicks coming from Scott behind the kit are on full display here throughout. The tale of running from the horrors that are the matriarch are highlighted by the lyrics “Oh she brings nightmares to life, the foul most twisted kind, and when you beg to die, she glorifies”, those lines really stand out during the perils of the song. “Ten Thousand Against One” is the anthem track off the album. From the very start it has you invested with those thunderous riffs coming from Grant and Andrew. The story told here is about a leader who is using his men to fight his own battles and the revolt that ensues are themes that could fall onto some of the struggles and protests of today’s world. The commanding, belting voice of Brittney right into her more angelic style is a highlight most will enjoy, while done on other tracks as well, it’s a more standout here. The title and closing track of the album “Apex” is a fitting end after the journey they have taken us on throughout the rest of the album. It’s as if the battles have finally commenced with Brittney’s soulful voice against the acoustic sounds of the guitar are a welcomed change of pace compared to the ferocity shown during the rest of the album. This quickly explodes back into those ripping guitars we have come to know and love, riding this tone until the final moments when we see the return of the acoustic and have Brittney sooth us into the close of the album. A solid finish to a solid album from the Vancouver five-piece.
‘Apex’ is a great album that heavy/power/classic metal fans are sure to enjoy. Brittney Slayes just shines throughout this album with hitting tones that make you say “female Halford?” And I don’t think it’s out of line to make this comparison. The powerful riffs combined with the heavy hitting solos from the men on guitar invoke the thoughts of metals past. The writing is solid and tells tales that not all bands can do while painting a mental picture that grows with each song. After 10 years, Unleash The Archers show no signs of slowing down and that’s something we can all be happy about. Once again, ‘Apex’ is out June 2nd from Napalm Records.