By Sarah Kitteringham
CALGARY — “We play fun, fist-pumping, fast-paced anthemic melodies that take you away from the monotonous everyday into far off worlds of science fiction and fantasy. It’s never about politics or opinion, we tell stories and fans can interpret them however they like.”
Such is how vocalist Brittney Slayes describes her soaring power metal/melodic death band Unleash the Archers. Formed in Victoria in 2007, the quintet unleashed one driving full-length before “we all moved over to Vancouver together in 2010 to pursue music more seriously. We all lived in this hilarious apartment that was actually supposed to be an office space.”
Fast forward four years and they released another full-length and EP, and they are now primed to release their third album in “early 2015” given that “a couple of labels that have shown some interest in us.” Longtime fans of the band will lament, given that it has been in the works for years.
“It’s true that we have been working on this new record for quite a while, and a couple of member changes have pushed the release back much later that we had originally hoped,” explains Slayes. Unleash the Archers is now rounded out by drummer Scott Buchanan, guitarist and death metal growler Grant Truesdell, bassist Kyle Sheppard, and new addition, guitarist and vocalist Andrew Kingsley.
“I can tell you that the sound has changed a bit, when [Kingsley] joined the band he brought with him some stuff he was working on and we incorporated it into the album. With [former vocalist and guitarist Brayden Dyczkowski] gone some key writing elements will be missing, but we are so stoked on these new tracks!”
She continues, “We did release a pre-production demo that was recorded last summer of one track, ‘Dreamcrusher,’ which can be found on our YouTube channel. It is the longest song on the album by far, and is definitely the most epic song of them all, but it embodies the emotion of the record well.”
As for the present, the band is gearing up for yet another tour across the United States and Canada, and preparing yet another music video. Their previous include the gleefully ridiculous “Dawn of Ages” video featuring the band getting kidnapped by a metal loving Sasquatch, alongside the crowdfunded and grandiose “General of the Dark Army” video that tells the story of a cruel ancient general murdering a man and his partner. Both songs are from their Demons of the AstroWaste (2011) album, a record with numerous fantasy stories that is a fine addition to the grandiose genre. Like all their music, the lyrics are informed by real life and coupled with fantasy, and penned by Slayes.
“One of my favourite all-time authors is Glen Cook, his The Black Company series completely redefined fantasy for me, and set me on the path of loving books that went well beyond the trilogy standard that confines so many. Also loved Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon The Deep and can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel,” she writes. “There is a killer sci-fi author named Alastair Reynolds that is an actual astro-physicist and he writes some ground-breaking stuff, definitely start with his first novel Revelation Space.”
So, despite the next album being “about an aspect of being in a metal band in Canada; one is about the night before tour, another is the feeling of anticipation we experience when we take the ferry back to our hometown of Victoria to play a show; things like that,” one can expect a similar epic and metaphorical approach as on previous works. Therefore, dragons and firestorms and evil armies and fantastical creatures are afoot, set to the soundtrack of fist pumping heavy metal.
Watch Unleash the Archers on Friday, November 28 at Dickens Pub with The Order of Chaos, Throne of Vengeance, Riot City, and Hazzerd.AB, Alberta, Dickens Pub, Unleash the Archers