ALBUM REVIEW: Apex – Unleash The Archers

Marking their 10 year anniversary, UNLEASH THE ARCHERS are back with their fourth studio album, Apex. The new record comes out just two years after Time Stands Still, and the Canadian heavy metal group have had a change of bassist between the two records, with Nikko Whitworth replacing Kyle Sheppard.

Quite aptly, the album kicks off with Awakening. The track begins pretty slowly, picking up pace gradually in the opening seconds, to give that sense of something awakening, before the guitar of Andrew Kingsley interjects with hard hitting solo riffs, quickly backed up by Whitworth’s bass and Scott Buchanan on the drums. The gentle progression swiftly changes to a classic heavy metal track, and Brittney Slayes’ powerful vocals really set the tone for the record, and gives you that sense of what to expect throughout.

While the band have dipped their toe in genres such as power metal and speed metal throughout their career over the last decade, there is no doubt that this is very much a heavy metal album through and through, and UNLEASH THE ARCHERS have ensured that sound is consistent in Apex.

One track on the record that really highlights this point is The Matriarch. The intro contains a very brief guitar solo, with the sound echoing the likes of AMON AMARTH or IRON MAIDEN, who have influenced the band over the years. The faint scream from Slayes helps to increase the tempo, and the sound shifts into that classic metal sound. Lasting just over four minutes, this track symbolises everything that UNLEASH THE ARCHERS are about, and no doubt would really get the crowd going at a gig.

While the overall sound of the record is classic heavy metal, the band have experimented in the new record, which works exceptionally well. For example, Cleanse The Bloodlines has a lot more death metal elements. The intro features more crushing and faster riffs, and, while Slayes’ vocal style doesn’t change from the rest of the record, this track features unclean vocals from Grant Truesdell, who appears to have taken a lot of inspiration from INQUISITION frontman Dagon, with the vocal style being very similar to that of black metal.

For a band who are celebrating a decade in the music industry, the new record is a very good way to mark the milestone for UNLEASH THE ARCHERS. The band have got their own distinctive sound nailed down, which is a huge credit to them after having so many member changes over more recent years and Brittney Slayes is one of the strongest vocalists in the metal scene to date, the power in her voice is truly incredible and Apex is an excellent way to showcase her talent as a musician.

The album itself is a good solid record. While the band haven’t done anything completely new or out of the ordinary to what we’ve become accustomed to, UNLEASH THE ARCHERS have delivered another quality record again, and Apex has the potential to be the springboard that takes them to another level.

Rating: 8/10

Apex - Unleash The Archers

Apex is set for release on June 2nd via Napalm Records.