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Melodic death metal has become ever a more important genre for me, both because I continuously find themes more applicable to my life, and because I grow to appreciate and tolerate the musical style more. In recent times, Unleash The Archers has become a prime example of my newfound enjoyment of the genre, as well as being home to one of my favorite female lead singers in metal, the unabashedly fun-loving and talented Brittney Hayes. The brazenly titled Demons Of The AstroWaste may sound like an adventure in science fiction whimsy (and ok, maybe some of it is), but the musicianship here is extremely capable, and better than the casual glance at the cover and title would indicate.
In some places, I see Unleash The Archers described as power metal, and I suppose that some may see this as true. The lead vocals of Hayes are primarily clean, but there are frequent breaks for harsh vocals, as well as harsh doubling the cleans on many occasions. On top of having a bold voice that is consistently tuneful (and at its best when she’s high or rough) and a great fit for the band’s fairly aggressive style, Hayes does some excellent self-harmonizing on multiple tracks (most notably “City Of Iron” and “Daughters Of Winterstone”). The harsh vocals are not my favorite, but I’ve heard much worse. The combination of black shrieks, death growling, and harsh yells is fairly unexceptional, but despite some occasional metalcore leanings (slight, at that), they do not detract overly much from the music
Demons Of The AstroWaste is a combination sci-fi/fantasy concept album, but since I’ve purchased the album digitally and have yet to get a hardcopy, I can’t really comment on the effectiveness of the lyrics just yet. Musically, however, this runs the gamut from decent melo-death to some of the hookiest tunes I’ve ever heard. Opener “Dawn Of Ages”, aside from setting the stage for the story, lets loose with one of 2011’s favorite power metal singles (as far as I’m concerned, at least). No harsh vocals here, just sheer power of melody, a chorus that slays, and a frenzied pace to set it all afire. Some of the other strongest tracks include “The Realm Of Tomorrow”, “Daughters Of Winterstone”, and “Ripping Through Time”, but the crowning glory of this album is “City Of Iron” in my eyes: boasting a fantastic high harmonized vocal hook to launch the whole bit, and a sweeping chorus that I can’t get out of my head no matter how I try.
What’s bad about this album can be summed up as mostly nitpicking. I don’t like the slight –core leanings, but I forgive them, since this is rather entertaining on the whole. The band has a notion of being very “epic” (read: sci fi theme and longer songs), and whether or not the band intentionally elongates their songs or not, they do get a little bit old after a while (well, some of them, anyways). By and large, however, that’s the extent of my negative comments, and by all accounts, this is a highly entertaining album.
Unleash The Archers could well be a gateway band for many people (and probably is for those who have seen them live in Canada), but they’re quite a good item in their own right. For fans of melodic death and power metal alike, I suggest Demons Of The AstroWaste, wherein lies great enthusiasm and tons of splendidly catchy tunes.
Original review written for Black Wind Metal