Unleash the Archers Time Stands Still 02If it was a bunch of one-man black metal bands before, now it’s a bunch of cheez whiz coming Count Grier’s way. Previously it was in the form of the slick The Valiant/Valiant’s/Variant/Variant’s Fire release by Damnation Angels and now it’s Time Stands Still from Canadian-based Unleash the Archers. Debut Beyond the Devastation was a straightforward combination of Dragonforce-esque whipping guitar work (that is, thankfully, not full-on wanking), fist-pumping power anthems, and an equal mix of mic time from the male-female vocal duo of siren Brittney “Slayes” Hayes and the mixed rasps and death growls of guitarist Brayden Dyczkowski. Sophomore release Demons of the AstroWaste kicks around a power-metal concept and simultaneously cranks out some of their best material (“Dawn of Ages” and “General of the Dark Army”) and ups the cringe factor from the debut with dumbass titles, a weak storyline, and moments of narrative spoken-word that are enough to cause internal bleeding. However, Unleash the Archers gave more air time to Hayes, which not only makes Dyczowski’s growls more impactful but gives Archers a true character. Demons of the AstroWaste had some missteps but Time Stands Still capitalizes on the positives and delivers a slab of fun-ness that coats the skin like a toddler with a grilled cheese.

After honing their skills a bit with 2012’s Defy the Skies EP, Time Stands Still brings Hayes to the front of the line and builds the music more around her voice than ever (Defy the Skies‘ “Soulstorm” being a perfect foreshadowing of what is to be found on 2015’s new release). Still incorporating the shrieks and throat-shredding gutturals from new growling duet (guitarists Grant Truesdell and Andrew Saunders), Time Stands Still brings more catchiness, delivers some great riffs, and hammers down some fist-pumping, lighter-flicking melodies.

The standout track from Time Stands Still has to be “Tonight We Ride.” Its got kickass riffs, solos that dance across every fret and string, belting vox, some thumbing bass work, and guttural shredding to please even the most hateful patrons of the cheese platter. As an added topping, check out the Mad Max inspired video below. It’s so stupid, it’s awesome. Opener “Frozen Steel” (following the short instrumental “Northern Passage”) is another killer slab of power metal. It offers up more twirling guitar work, a notable warrior-themed chorus, and some very crunchy licks. Other highlights are the Manowar-meets-Dream Evil absurdity of “Test Your Metal” and the melodic beauty of “No More Heroes.” Hayes shines in completely different ways on these two tracks. “Test Your Metal,” with it’s over-the-top crowd-pleasing chorus and high-pitched beltings, and “No More Heroes” with her heart-wrenching melodies. And I can’t forget about her Dio-like mastery on the title track. She’s upped her game here and the band sounds better than ever.

Unleash the Archers Time Stands Still 01

Though Time Stand Still is a fun outing that has my head abanging and my feet atapping, it’s pretty standard stuff. Additionally, many of the songs lack memorability and feel out of place in the track listing. “Going Down Fighting” fits the latter description like a metal glove. I very much enjoy this song but it’s a real oddball next to the rest of the material. Also, its placement toward the end of the record kills the momentum Time Stands Still had created. “Crypt” is a very confused tune that drives hard with some fast-picking Iced Earth chugs before swinging around Dethklok-esque soloing and slowing down before calling it quits. While none of this ruins the album, it’s not completely original nor keeps its foothold in the long-term memory.

As expected, this baby is all about the “loudness.” Screaming out of the speakers, the compression may be meant to distract you from turning this off and listening instead to Dream Evil‘s Dragonslayer. But it’s a good time and definitely more precise and well-honed outing than their sophomore outing. So pop this in, sharpen your sword collection, and see if you can ever watch the new Mad Max with a straight face again.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Napalm Records
Websites: UnleashetheArchersOfficial | Facebook.com/UnleashtheArchers
Release Dates: EU: 2015.06.26 | NA: 07.10.2015

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  • Wilhelm

    I don’t know if it’s the mood I’m in but I got through two minutes, it’s all I could stand – terrible, plastic, paint by numbers “power” metal.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Just think happy thoughts.

      • basenjibrian

        POWERFULLLLLLL THOUGHHHHHHHHTTTTTTS GRRRRR!

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Right?! They make you fly.

  • Martin Knap

    Since when are three word band names around (like Falling Backwards Frontally and stuff like that)?

    • Grymm

      I thought three-word band nanes were relegated to metalcore bands myself.

      • Martin Knap

        I thought of an older band’s name with three words: Blue Oyster Cult. But I don’t think there was a band name that was a full sentence before 2000s.

  • That chick can scream! Terrible song though.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Terribly wonderful…

  • ronin1572

    I did not know there was such a thing as Mad Max LARPing, songs kinda meh.

    • basenjibrian

      Humungouscore!

  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    You’re right, this is definitely cheesy…dangerously cheesy. Shame they couldn’t get Tom Hardy to feature in the video.

    • Alestormcore.

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        It can’t be! I don’t like it nearly enough!

  • El Lado Oscuro

    Generally can agree with you, not this time. The record is extremely boring, plastic and cliche.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Ah bummer. Seems like I’m the minority here. I still like it though :)

      • brutal_sushi

        Im with you Doc! This shit is great!

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          I knew you were my favorite commenter for a reason.

          • brutal_sushi

            Unapologetic power metal gives me the best listening experiences. I love jamming mind bending prog, crushing death metal, misanthropic black metal… but a smattering of breakneck cheese power metal is too much damn fun.

          • CarvedInStone

            Agreed. I love cheesy, over-the-top, unapologetic Power Metal as well. What’s the point of making Power Metal songs if you’re not going to pull out all the stops and be as awesomely ridiculous as you can be? I feel especially the european variation of the genre was made just for this purpose.

            Which is also why I hate it when Power Metal bands change their sound to somehow sound more serious or sophisticated. Sonata Artica come to mind as the prime example of that. But fortunately their are enough other bands to hold the cheese flag high!

          • Celaeno

            Cheese is fun. #sorrynotsorry

      • brutal_sushi

        Also, totally listening to Dragonslayer later. HEAVY METAL JESUS!!!

      • CarvedInStone

        No your’re not! I love me some cheesy Power Metal as well. This is great and Dream Evil are great as well.

        They’re working on a new album by the way. I’m stoked!

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Fuck. Yes!

          • CarvedInStone

            According to their facebook page it seems like the album has been written and “only” needs to be recorded. But Nordström is a busy man and the last comment regarding the new album (not posted by them on their page but in a response to another comment) which stated that they were hoping record the album asap was posted on May 13th so I don’t know when the album will drop.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Sweet!

          • CarvedInStone

            Don’t know if you still care but according to their facebook page they’re recording the new album right now.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Oh, I do!!! Thanks for the info!! Fucking stoked.

    • basenjibrian

      “Tonight We Ride” has to be the most creative and unique song title in ALL HISTORY 11!!!111
      This is the subgenre of metal I have just never gotten into. But then, I have never in my multiple decades owned a pair of leather pants or swung a sword, so I am not their market niche.

  • And who promoted you to “Count Grier”??

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I think it was Martin Knap. He’s a swell fellow.

      • If you’re a count, I must be a goddamn Steward King.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Perhaps…

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          I felt it was only fair with all these self-promoting “doctors” around here.

        • Martin Knap

          the only titles now available are Dauphin, Khan and Elector

          • Hulksteraus

            Don’t forgeet Caesar, Chairman, Shah…

  • Tentacles

    Helluva set of pipes on that lass.

    I quite like a nice chunk o’ cheddar from time to time and this certainly fits that description. They can certainly play too, but I just feel like the actual song could be stronger…I shall definitely check out the rest of the record though.

    • Celaeno

      i *wish* i had her voice. yeesh.

  • Oh dear… This is extremely difficult to listen to in the worst way possible. I like stuff that’s kind of in this ballpark – hugely into Crystal Viper! – but this is just awful. 1/10 >:(

  • Tivac

    I’ve really liked previous albums by Unleash the Archers, playing more toward Hayes’ vocals is a plus in my book.

    Also it seriously warms my power-metal heart to see someone name drop Dream Evil. Wish Fredrik Nordstrom would make a new DE album here someday :(

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Seriously!!! I need more Dream Evil in my life. Snowy needs to come back too.

      • Celaeno

        Agreed on all accounts.

  • sickbroski

    DR5 whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Canada? :(

  • Noobhammer

    I’ve been listening to that single nonstop since I first heard it. It’s one of those songs that when you pop into your car, you just can’t help but begin to speed, raising your invisible grapefruit of metal out the window as the world passes you by.

    I don’t care if it’s cheesy or deemed generic, it’s as fun as power metal should be, and isn’t that the reason for the genre? Nothing like the feeling of riding on a chaotic good gold dragon with your +5 Broadsword of Vorpal Ice in your hand as you see your foes driven before you.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Yes!!!!! Exactly!!!!

    • Well said!

      Those who truly enjoy Power Metal embrace the cheese. It’s pulp Conan stories wrapped in Solomon Kane and dipped in Kull the Conqueror. And that’s awesome.

      People who thumb their noses at the genre are secretly fans…. just unwilling to embrace the music… and like you said… the fun.

    • Toshiro Miphony

      I had the honor of seeing this band live and after speaking to them I assure you the Dio-esque presentation is very intentional. I fucking love it. “ELECTRIFYYYY!”

  • itsmydamnation

    if you where going to review some Canadian power metal why didn’t you review Borealis, Purgatory!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Fine……… Let me see if we got the promo. But no more complaints after this!!! :)

      • itsmydamnation

        WIN :)

  • Oberon

    Tonight we Ride makes Fury Road even more amusing than when Dies Irea starts playing…

  • michael rodrigues

    i cant stand in power metal when they over sing the vocals soo damn much.