Unleash the Archers – Demons of the AstroWaste

Let me tell you right off I am picky when it comes to women singing in metal or rock of any kind. However I do like good range and this girl has got that and uses it when necessary but manages to not over do it like some other female vocalists. A few other bands I like with female leads are Madder Mortem (Thanks Corsair) and To-Mera as examples.

Unleash the Archers is a fantasy/sword and board themed power metal band from Vancouver, Canada. As mentioned above the lead singer is a woman and backing “growls” are done by two male band members they aren’t too bad one of them has a certain In Flames sound to him. I can’t say enough about her voice though. Powerful and not piercing, she can hit some notes that make me shiver and she is quite pleasant to look at too. The drumming is good but nothing to write home about same goes for the guitar and bass but what they lack in uniqueness in those areas they make up for in fluidity. This band has a very smooth feel to their music. It takes you along for a ride and you don’t find yourself hitting speed bumps or stop signs that kill your focus.

I have to say I haven’t heard any power metal in a few years that excites me like this, last time was when I first discovered Rhapsody and Sonata Artica I was heavy into it then. Honestly this isn’t really even the same Power Metal, those examples are more flashy and designed to really showcase individual musician’s skills. Unleash the Archers is closer to a metalcore band but without the annoying girlyboy singing in the same way every other band you’ve heard like that (thats another gripe for another time).

Their second full length album “Demons of the AstroWaste” while not quite a theme or single story album (Which are my favoritest. Look out for the Ayreon review I am going to do soon.), is solid. There isn’t a track I don’t enjoy. The song that introduced me was “General of the Dark Army” . Damn good song, cool video. At first listen it was enough for me to post the video on my facebook wall but I walked away at the time and only came back a month later. What the hell was I thinking I could have wrote this review much sooner. That scream at 5:11, holy shit it gives me chills.

Can’t say I have a favorite song yet but notable entries to look for are the above mentioned song, then “Daughters of Winterstone” which contrary to what I said earlier has some pretty good guitar work that I suppose I will write home about, my mom won’t read it though.

“Despair” is a good track with well done tempo changes throughout. The drumming transitions pretty well….shit I really should rewrite that earlier paragraph but I have come to far to turn back. (I feel kinda bad for bassists you guys get no credit. I mean listen to music without bass and you will know something is missing but to the laymans ear it seems to blend in the music with no distinguishable sound. Thank you bass player!)

“The Realm of Tomorrow” I FUCKING LOVE when songs just drop tempo like they saw a cop ahead and speed back up when he is out of sight. Ok it’s not as abrubt in the song as I described but it is still wonderfully executed by this band.

I give this album a big \m/ in the air!

I don’t even know if these guys/girl are signed to any label. Maybe they want to stay independent to which I say more power to them if that’s the case. I wish them all the good fortune in the world and I just hope me spending a bit of my time writing this up gets them some new fans. Also they are working on their third album and that makes me happy!




Severed Savior – Servile Insurrection

What can I say? I love me some death metal.
But this is not a typical death metal album in the slightest as in my mind it’s one of the best examples of the California technical death metal scene, and my personal favorite.

Severed Savior’s 2008 release Servile Insurrection is start to finish brutal, but tastefully done in the sense that is well written, musically challenging and aggressive.
All of these things in my mind are often pretty lacking in one department or another in this particular subgenre. You either have pure wank, or you have something that is musically pleasing but lacking in the overall balls that in mind are absolutely necessary in putting out a solid tech death album.

Severed Savior is not lacking in any of the above departments, in fact they more than deliver given a relatively small production that could have been provided by Willowtip pounding out ten impressively punishing songs, and a jazzy, and entirely instrumental track to boot entertaining the listener from start to finish, that is if this music is your cup of tea.

For one just getting into death metal you might want start with something more easily digestible, but for one who is looking to expand their more extreme cd/digital collection this will make a solid addition.

In particular for me personally Question, Acts of Sedition, and the title track absolutely deliver, and if you get the chance to see them live. Do it.
The show I attended was one of the more enjoyable I have attended in the last few years.

Check back here in the near future, and I think I might have one of those curveballs I mentioned before that might be a rewarding (non-metal) listening experience for those of you who might be interested.

Manilla Road – The Circus Maximus (1992)

Manilla road is one of those bands that has been at it for decades and has manged to avoid any modicum of fame. There are a number of totally valid reasons for this – bad timing, bad labels, bad management, and bad recording quality. However, I think it’s fair to say that few bands quite have the same level of Metal Cred(tm) as they.

I’ve listened to most of their material. I’m not saying this to brag or anything – oh no, listening to too much Manilla Road actively prolongs your virginity (or in my case, makes it grow back.) and makes people not want to be around you (I love the band, but I understand that their music is definitely not for everybody. Or anybody, really.). But a guy that calls himself “The Shark” isn’t exactly what I’d call a pussy magnet.

The reason I bring that up, is because it demonstrates that I’m not just typing out of my ass when I say that The Circus Maximus is a fucking phenomenal album – Nevermind that it is a seriously black sheep in MR’s discography. It sounds nothing like Manilla Road, and in fact, isn’t even technically a Manilla Road album. This might be a good thing for some listeners.

It’s a lot less underground-for-a-reason-but-metal-as-fuck than most of their releases, a lot more experimental, and also takes a lot of influence from bands that are not very popular among their fanbase.

So, the album itself:

Before anything else, the clarity and production are leaps and bounds better than anything else in MR’s catalog – Which isn’t saying much, but the recording quality is *crystal clear*, if somewhat dated.

What makes this such an interesting listen, is that there are two very distinct directions of the songs on the album.

They can be organized thusly:
Type 1:
Throne of Blood
Murder by Degrees
In Gein We Trust
Flesh and Fury
Hack it Off

Type 2:
Lux Aeterna
No Touch

No Sign from Above
Forbidden Zone
She’s Fading


You can even look at the sing titles and tell which they belong to.

I’m making the distinction, because the quality of these songs is entirely dependent on their category.

Type 1 is very much informed by Skin Yard and other “pre-grunge” bands that influenced groups much more popular than they. This isn’t to say that they *rip the style off* or even sound particularly grungy, but th einfluence is obvious and apparent. (Listen to “In Gein We Trust” next to “Skins in my Closet by Skin Yard.”) This represents a small majority of the album, and what makes it worth listening to. Some of the lyrics are a little hammy, but still manage to be pretty clever overall.

Hack it Off is more or less the high point of the album, in terms of displaying what is good about it: Lyrical absurdities, varied song-structure, technical ability on full display…Oh yeah, and by most standards, it’s pretty fucking odd.

The other is a much more poppy and…i’m not sure what the right word is…Glistening, maybe? Much more influenced by Bryan Adams. Well, the early stuff he did. (Check ‘Lux Aeterna’. I’ll call this Type 2)
There really isn’t much to say about it, the Type 2 tracks are mostly plodding, meandering numbers that don’t really go anywhere. I’m not sure what they were trying to accomplish with them to be perfectly honest. The exception to this is “The Forbidden Zone” which I will admit to being conflicted about. It *almost* sounds a modern Iron Maiden, except more upbeat and more prone to progressive interludes.

The more I listen to it, the more I like it. Yeah, I changed my mind a little bit; The Forbidden Zone is pretty damn cool.

And I also Changed my mind about She’s Fading. It starts off pretty weak, but builds up into something really special. I mean that in a good way; not “you’re special because there’s something wrong with you, that isn’t wrong with anyone else”. The buildup and lead climax is actually mountainous. And the production really shines here.

So to sum it up:

“If I made a point it’s just a fly in the ointment
Anoint me, holy Mother of Maggots
For I have sinned against love
What’s love ? I think I love it, but I want to…
Hack, hack”