Record Reviews

Unleash The Archers “Phantoma”

Canadian power metal band Unleash The Archers keeps evolving musically.

When I heard the epic song “General of the Dark Army” for the very first time, I instantly knew that Unleash The Archers were not your average band. This was something special. The combination of Brittney Slayes’ powerful voice and the fast and melodic power metal of early Unleash The Archers was mesmerising.

In 2015, the band came to Japan and I got to experience them live and got even more hooked. Since then, the band has evolved. They are now a more diverse-sounding act. They have matured. With each new album, they have shown us new sides to its creativity, combining its power metal and heavy metal roots with modern prog metal and pop. In 2020, they even included a Corey Hart cover as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of the “Abyss”.

On “Phantoma”, the band’s sixth full-length album, they run in and out of various musical genres. Overall, the album is a bit darker and heavier than its predecessor. They are still largely a power metal band but have incorporated electronic and synthwave bits into their compositions. They are less immediate to the casual listener, but still bloody good. Brittney’s voice is still spellbinding. “Phantoma” is a conceptual AI-inspired sci-fi album. It is a brave move by the band. AI is all the rage now, but will this theme stand the test of time? Well (pardon the pun), time will tell. The band utilised AI during the writing, filming and production of “Phantoma”.

The album is solid and varied. A highlight is the power metal excellence performed on the tracks “Ph4/NT0mA” and “Buried in Code”. “Give It Up of Give It All” is an AOR-ish pop ballad while we get prog metal on “Green & Glass”, modern metal on “The Collective” and catchy rock on “Gods in Decay”. “Blood Empress” is the album’s best track driven by powerful vocals and excellent guitars. Most of the tracks mix the styles. It makes this album interesting as well as hard to define. It is a dynamic melting pot of excellent music.

Founding members Brittney Slayes and drummer Scott Buchanan are joined in the current line-up of the band by Grant Truesdell and Andrew Kingsley on guitars and Nick Miller on bass.

Unleash The Archers’ new album “Phantoma” is out today via Napalm Records.