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Failed Concept Album - 67%

Altair 4, November 12th, 2013

Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, Unleash the Archers brings a new flavor to the standard European power metal sound. Infusing newer elements such as breakdown, poppy sections, and a combination between female singing and death metal vocals that actually works well (however, the aforementioned poppy sections do not work so well).

'Demons of the AstroWaste' combines these elements into what I can only guess is a concept album, albeit a poorly done one. The music itself is oftentimes moving and wonderful, but the cut/paste feeling the interweaving interludes and soundscapes gives does not compliment the music. Had they cut out these pointless and trying intros & outros I would have given this album a much higher score, but they constantly pull you out of the listening experience with messy sound effects and poorly done voice acting. I wouldn't give this problem so much credit, but these passages are so prevalent throughout the album that they practically demand to be given attention (for better or for worse). These interludes come at the intro, and ends of tracks 3, 4, 6, and 9.

Concerning the actual music, however, everything seems quite well done. Each song offers a hook, something by which to be remembered. The album may be a little front-loaded, as the first five tracks are certainly the most memorable. After a pointless intro we get into "Dawn of Ages" which sets the overall tone for the album: catchy choruses, singing and screaming complimenting each other well, and pleasant, dancing guitar leads. The drums are nothing great, but they do the job. Aside from a rather poppy passage (4:01) this is a great track and opener.

Easily the highlight of this album is "General of the Dark Army", the intro is haunting and beautiful and the progression of the song is natural and powerful. Here we see death metal vocals and singing used to their fullest potential to convey maximum emotion. This song is the tipping point on the album, as from this point on the rest of the album is well done but not as verse, chorus, verse, chorus driven as the first five songs. Tracks like "Despair" and "City of Iron" really shine musically.

'Demons of the AstroWaste' drags on a little too long and is a failed attempt at connecting all the songs together in a cohesive, believable concept album. All these detractors aside, this is a solid album with a lot of enjoyable new power metal. Let's hope that their third outing will prove a little more mature and focused. Much potential here, and I'd recommend it to anyone with a taste for catchy power metal.

Album highlights: "General of the Dark Army", "Realm of Tomorrow", "Despair", and "City of Iron"