Unleash The Archers – Phantoma

Unleash the Archers have unleashed their sixth studio album, “Phantoma,” one of my most anticipated of the year. True to form, the album is a narrative concept piece. This time the setting is a desolate sci-fi future, exploring the nature of robotkind and humanity’s role in that post apocalypse.

Most of the unmistakable hallmarks of the Unleash the Archers sound are present.
Titular trackPh4/NT0mA” opens with a classic Brittney Slayes power scream that makes one feel they can punch through mountains, and there are plentiful “wooooah”s throughout the album, accenting her signature storytelling vocals. On top of Slayes’ iconic voice, I continue to be impressed with her ability to enunciate densely packed lyrics in combination with smooth and catchy delivery. Everything sounds very sing-alongable until you actually try! Though there is plenty to look forward to joining in with live.
Scott Buchanan’s drumming drives the listener inexorably forward through the album, and the guitar work from Grant Truesdell and Andrew Kingsley is standout as always, whether intricate riffs or engaging solos. Glueing it all together is Nick Miller on bass. I sometimes feel discussion of Unleash the Archers focuses solely on the vocals, for obvious reasons. However, they truly are one of those bands where you can tune in to any of the musicians at any time and find virtuosity, and I would hate for any of them to go unrecognised.

Phantoma” also takes us in some new directions. Tying into the themes of the album, the soundscape is liberally sprinkled with synthwave, stylistically and lyrically putting me in mind of Scandroid’s self titled 2016 album in particular. Present throughout the album, this influence is most prominent on “Ph4/NT0mA” and the danceable “Gods in Decay.”
While the majority of the sound is still the heavy power metal we love, they’ve also reinforced the synthwave 80s motif with more classic heavy metal sensibilities than we’ve seen on previous releases. Album opener “Human Era” is where I first noticed this, but it reappears particularly on “Buried in Code,” the album’s power ballad “Give It Up Or Give It All,” and on the very groovy closer “Blood Empress.”

If I had to quibble with anything, it would be that I miss the heavier days of Unleash the Archers. This isn’t to say I don’t love the catchy songs or the beautiful moments, I very much do, but the heavier parts of “The Collective,” “Ghosts in the Mist,” and especially “Seeking Vengance” were, by far, my biggest “heck yeah” moments of the album. Clearly we are still getting a few songs with this aspect of their sound, so I just want to voice that I hope that continues going forward!

I tried to make a “standout tracks” section and found myself listing almost all of them, so instead I will leave you with some which I feel are a good indication of the album overall. Lead single “Green & Glass” was very well chosen as a representative, “Ph4/NT0mA” is high energy, melding the synthwave aspects into Unleash the Archers’ sound brilliantly, while “Buried in Code” and “Gods in Decay” are, like all good Sci-Fi, both engaging and topical.

Rating such an album from such a band is a challenge. For most other bands an album of this calibre would be a slam dunk, five stars, no notes. But The Archers have given me previous albums I count among my all time favourites. I think I would rank this third among their discography, although it is already growing on me, so ask me again in a year and the answer could be different. Are all their albums a ten, but some of them are more ten than others? A question for the mathematicians.

Screw it, it’s a ten, who am I kidding.

Rating: 10/10

Release Date: 10th May 2024
Label: Napalm Records

Writer: Astrid

1. Human Era
2. Ph4/NT0mA
3. Buried In Code
4. The Collective
5. Green & Glass
6. Gods In Decay
7. Give It Up Or Give It All
8. Ghosts In The Mist
9. Seeking Vengeance
10. Blood Empress


Astrid has been having opinions on the internet since 2004, and started listening to metal sometime between 2000 and 2006, depending on how you count it. She was raised on classical music and Celtic folk, which has led to most of her favourite genres including “folk,” “melodic,” or “symphonic” somewhere in the descriptor alongside heavier elements. Astrid’s interests include archaeology, history, mythology, and all forms of storytelling. She enjoys singing, dancing, and being in the forest. She is a seamstress and designer by trade, based on the west coast of Canada. Capable of 347 tangential thoughts per minute.

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