Unleash The Archers – Time Stands Still

593_UTA_RGBThese days, there’s a bunch of new bands that make some sort of music that comes close to power metal, but with some added grunts and screams. Apparently, the worldwide accepted term is “Epic metal”, which sort of sums it up nicely. One of those bands are the Canadian Unleash The Archers, with their epic battle hymns. With ‘Time Stands Still’, they are up for their first Napalm Records release, third overall.

Something that struck me almost immediately after listening to this new record, is how production values are slightly better than with their first, independently released albums and videos. Songs such as Frozen Steel and Hail Of The Tide really get the adrenaline going.

Tonight We Ride was actually the first song I heard from the band, because of the Mad Max-styled video clip that was already released. I’m not usually very fond of those female fronted bands, but singer Brittney Hayes definitely doesn’t sound like most female metal vocalists. Think of bands like Nightwish or Epica, with those ultra clear opera-like vocals. Women usually tend to confuse more powerful with higher-pitched. No, Brittney sounds angry and oh so powerful. Yet especially the chorus of Tonight We Ride teaches us that she also has a keen ear for melody.

Keeping the album diverse doesn’t seem to be a problem either. Crypt has a more proggy feel with its riffing that sometimes reminds of Avenged Sevenfold and others of Symphony X and Rusty Cooley’s Outworld. No More Heroes, with a great heavily distorted yet very restrained intro, has its more badass moments I had been looking for through  the entire album. I’ll explain some more in a minute. “One of the better songs on the album”, I tend to think just before the solo kicks in. When the band starts playing one more chorus after the fake fade-out, the opinion has already changed to “Yeah, definitely”.

UTA_bridges hiresDuring the epic Dreamcrusher, Hayes displays once more what I pretty much knew already. That she’s probably in no way inferior to the usual opera voices of Simons or Sharon Van Den Adel. Her powerful vocals together with the screams and grunts make for a true vocal hurricane, the solo guitar interrupts, before a slow and steady bass rhythm takes you beyond. Beyond what? No idea, but I really don’t mind staying there a while longer. Once more, great outro by the way!

Yes, they definitely have found a nice sound of their own that sticks with you throughout the album. Though I’ve already complimented them on the better production values, I still have some related problems. Although their songs have a high Manowar-esque fight-for-metal-attitude, some of them still do sound pretty goody-goody. Although guitarists Grant Truesdell and Andrew Kingsley do add some nice grunting an screaming to most of the songs, the more compact songs (although most still run over five minutes) still have a high PG all audiences vibe to me where a PG rated R would definitely fit the themes way better.

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