UNLEASH THE ARCHERS — Time Stands Still (review)

UNLEASH THE ARCHERS — Time Stands Still album cover Album · 2015 · Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
adg211288
Time Stands Still (2015) is the third full-length album by Canadian power metal act Unleash the Archers. It is their first full-length album in four years, following up Demons of the AstroWaste (2011), though they did also release the EP Defy the Skies (2012) since then.

Apparently Unleash the Archers started life as more of a melodic death metal act with their debut album Behold the Devastation (2009) but they've since moved onto a more pure power metal based sound with an extreme metal edge, mostly through their use growling vocals. We're talking a guitar driven brand of power metal here, though still very much in line with the European power metal sound as much as the US version. The music itself does sometimes veer into other territories than power metal, such as in Crypt where the start of the song in particular draws more on the band's death metal roots with a heavier guitar sound and playing style. There are also a couple of places in the album where it sounds like the band is pushing towards progressive metal. But mostly Time Stands Still is about as pure a power metal record as you're likely to find.

Time Stands Still is a damn good power metal album too, standing up to several repeat spins before I got this review together and I know I'll be giving it many more yet. With that said I have been of two minds about one aspect of Unleash the Archers since the first listen, and that's their use of growling. Power metal isn't normally associated with having extreme metal elements although bands using them, in some cases even making a completely extreme form of power metal, are not unheard of. On Time Stands Still the growls are integrated into the power metal sound seamlessly and I can't say they don't work to give the music the edge the band seem to have been going for, but I also can't shake the impression that the growls may in fact be the album's weak link that holds it back from a masterpiece status.

And there's one reason for that: her name is Brittney Slayes and she's the band's lead singer. And basically, she's bloody fantastic. Just listen to those early notes at the start of a track like Tonight We Ride. That's some serious vocal power there. The growls, done by the guitarists, while they get their job done and never directly harm the album, do seem to be used in a supportive role, sometimes seemingly little more than backing vocals, and there's just something about them which feels unnecessary. I mean when your lead is that good why make her share the singing time? With Brittney Slayes' vocal power and classic metal style of singing (not too rough or bringing operatics into the mix) it's obvious that as a singer she can hold her own against anyone. I understand that maybe the band really want their music to have an edge from outside the power metal spectrum, but there are other ways I think they could do what without using growls. Given the album's sound I think some thrash metal could work.

Despite some fixed feelings, Time Stands Still is easily one of the best albums I've heard so far from 2015. Tracks such as the title track, Tonight We Ride and Dreamcrusher stand out as a few personal favourites but the level of song writing is on a high throughout. 4.5 stars.
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adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I thought you'd like this one. :)
666sharon666 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Found it on Spotify early. Awesome album!

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