Unleash the Archers
Live at 1720
Los Angeles, CA
September 22nd, 2021
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
Unleash the Archers are an amazing power metal band coming to us from Vancouver B.C.. Led by the ultra-talented Britiney Slayes on vocals, and supported by a quartet of stalwart ruffians including; band-founder Scott Buchanan on drums, the nefarious Grant Truesdell on six string assault, the equally maniacal Andrew Kingsley with even more guitar attack, and Mr. Nick Miller on bass.
Epic delivery of complex and weaving narratives is their specialty. The impeccable qualities of this group are immediately felt from the first song. "Abyss" is their latest album, which came out last year, 2020: "The year of Tribulations", and as dark as the album title may be, it proves to be an awesome piece of uplifting and provocative power metal that epitomizes what I love about music.
They opened with the title track "Abyss", flexing an absolutely sensational live mix that sounded as good as the album and with even more energy. Britiniey was on-point, every note perfect. A power-house of talent, her refrains have strength beyond the use of the word impressive.
The set list just led from there, with a large focus on the new album, including; "Through Stars", "Legacy", and "Soulbound" before hitting a crescendo with "Faster Than Light".
Britiney took a moment to address the audience, and while doing so led us back in time to their "Apex" release. For many, this was their entry into the band and so the crowd responded emphatically to her lead-in.
She started with a tale of a powerful and dark woman, "The Matriarch". This is easily a top song for me. Since it's release in 2017, this song has worm-bored its way deep into my psyche, and I love it. I find myself just singing it out loud at random moments where it floods back into my brain (even more-so after seeing it live)
My absolute favorite song of theirs is "Cleanse the Bloodlines". When I first scanned the set list taped to the stage, I did not notice it, so had prepared myself for not seeing it live. I was super stoked when they played the first notes!
This is the epitome of "EPIC" ,and she did it more justice than I thought was possible in this venue. It was fantastic! Completely blew me away. This is my first time seeing these guys live despite being an avid fan. She hits every note. I cannot emphasize enough how stellar actually seeing them perform this was.
Lucky for all of us present, it wasn't done yet. They went back an album further for "Tonight We Ride", a song they gained a lot of notoriety within the metal genre for, due in part to the "Mad Max" inspired video (definitely worth a watch).
Power Metal as a sub-genre is known for two things: empowering and invigorating - both musically and lyrically. This includes some level of dramatic and fateful narrative that often involves fantastic realms, sorcery, and dark magic and is expressed through driving rhythms, shredding guitars, and soaring vocals.
"Awakening" is a sensational introduction to this style of music. It presents all of these qualities and you could feel the audience feed off the intensity.
They blasted into another of my all-time favorite songs with "Apex". The chorus "Can you Follow Me? Follow Me to Apex!" is forever embedded in my head. It was so awesome live, I joined the entire venue in singing along.
They returned to the "Abyss" album for the remainder of the set, this last portion kicking off with "The Wind That Shapes the Land". They followed with "Afterlife" and the band was loving the energy from the crowd; equally the assembled masses were enthralled.
Doing away with the necessity of going away to get called back out for an encore, Britiney just asked "Do you want another?" which received a unanimous (and tumultuous) "Yes!".
They finished off the set with "Carry the Flame", a fitting send-off for all present. A message of perseverance and camaraderie that is more poignant than ever. One of the things that continues to draw me to power metal is the ability to lift the spirit and bring people to a greater place. I think the refrain of "Can you follow me to Apex?" says it all. Apex is the highest you can get.... the peak. They nailed it.
Intelligent. Epic. Empowering. These guys were truly remarkable. This was my first show back in over a year and half and it really brought home how much I missed live music.
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