Published Aug 21, 2020Galloping out of the gate with reckless abandon, Vancouver-based metal crew Unleash the Archers, have broken the power metal mould yet again on fifth album Abyss. Championed by the crystalline, four-octave range of mezzo-soprano vocalist Brittney Slayes, and stellar production from legendary Danish producer Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, U.D.O., Amaranthe), the record delivers several high-octane tracks tempered by heartfelt ballads and mid-tempo stompers.
A concept album and sequel to 2017's Apex, Abyss is like that dusty old cassette that slipped out of your old Gamma World game box. Lyrically, it emits a retro metal vibe akin to the classic fantasy releases from the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen, but with a less pretentious approach.
Kicking off with the ethereal "Waking Dream" and combustible "Abyss," Abyss is a true masterclass in technical prowess thanks to Grant Truesdell and Andrew Kingsley's blistering guitar work, with Scott Buchanan's drumming in the pocket throughout. Other standout tracks are pop-dappled "Legacy," anthemic "Return to Me," the speedy, appropriately-titled "Faster Than Light," and "Carry the Flame," which features a vocal duet between Slayes and Kingsley.
With releases like Abyss and Apex, Unleash the Archers continue to lead a new wave of Canadian heavy metal alongside the likes of genre-bending stalwarts like Skull Fist, Kobra and the Lotus, Striker, Diemonds and Cauldron. These acts not only tip their caps to the past but continue to drive the genre to new heights. (Napalm)