Apex is the new concept album from Canadian power metal outfit Unleash The Archers which was released on 2nd June through Napalm records. The album tells the story of the Immortal having been woken up from his mountain home and feeling excited to see the world again after a thousand years. But who has raised him from his sleep and why is answered over the 10 songs of the album.
Unleash The Archers come from Vancouver and are: Brittney Slayes – Vocals, Scott Buchanan – Drums, Grant Truesdell – Guitar & Vocals, Andrew Kingsley – Guitar & Vocals, Nikko Whitworth – Bass.
With Apex, we have Canadian power metal at its glorious finest. Classic heavy metal if you will. Great guitars chords and riffs, rumbling bass and driving drums and above all vocals from Brittney Slayes that are a match for anyone currently singing metal.
The album starts with Awakening, a quiet introduction followed by breakneck drums and bass and then Brittney yelling her lungs out. Wonderful. This is metal pure and simple. This is also the start of the albums story with the Immortal having been raised from his sleep. Now this storytelling over the course of an album may or may not be your thing. If it is I will not spoil it any further for you. If not, then don’t let this distract from what is a modern heavy metal album that ticks all the right boxes for riffs, choruses and vocals to die for.
After Awakening we get a succession of different styles of modern metal. Shadow Guide is short and sharp and full of neat guitar changes. The Matriarch leans more on the groovy side of things (yes, I did say groovy). Cleanse The Bloodlines is much more dramatic, very gig friendly and also has a dramatic video to match. For me this is one of the three stand out tracks from the album.
The Coward’s Way has those sharp guitar riffs which are a staple of the Unleash The Archers armoury. False Walls is the next stand out track and relies more on a traditional metal rhythm and chorus. Definitely a sing along contender.
Ten Thousand Against One proves how one repetitive guitar chord when used correctly can be the catalyst to kick off another dramatic introduction of double bass drums and bass. The contrasting vocals playing off against each other definitely give the impression of the fight that is being described.
Earth And Ashes has a subtler acoustic introduction with some intricate guitar work over the top. But not for long as we are off again into familiar territory with one metal riff after another. By this point we are eight songs in and it becomes apparent to me that the quality of the musicianship and production compared to the last album Time Stands Still has gone up a notch. Where Time Stands Still was more of a raw album with what could have been a selection of tribute songs to Iron Maiden, Judas Priest etc. Don’t believe me? Then just listen to the song Test Your Metal from that album. Apex is a more mature work and is definitely all Unleash The Archers.
Song nine is Call Me Immortal. For me this is the third of the stand out tracks from the album. I can’t help thinking how a duet between Brittney and Bruce Dickinson would sound. This would be perfect.
The last song Apex is a fitting end. Another eight minutes of epic metal showing off the full range of Britney and how the band expertly change pace throughout the song to book end the album and complete the story.
Unleash The Archers have announced a European tour as support for Orden Ogan throughout October and November. A few UK headline gigs are sure to be thrown in to the mix so look out.
Apex is the finest achievement by Unleash The Archers to date. Let’s hope there is another Apex over the horizon soon.
- Awakening 7:17
- Shad0w Guide 3:57
- The Matriarch 4:02
- Cleanse The Bloodlines 5:55
- The Coward’s Way 5:06
- False Walls 8:06
- Ten Thousand Against One 5:38
- Earth And Ashes 6:35
- Call Me Immortal 5:47
- Apex 8:20
Label: Napalm Records