|Review: Unleash the Archers - Apex|
Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2017
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: June 16, 2017
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Rated 3.88/5 (77.5%) (8 Votes)
Apex celebrates 10 years of Unleash the Archers, and this time around they went full-on Power Metal, almost completely abandoning the Death-ish elements from their previous works. Tracks like "Awakening", "The Matriarch" and "The Coward's Way" offer a more direct and heavier mix, with the drums provided by Scott Buchanan and the prominent bass by newcomer Nikko Whitworth making the tunes sound vivid and powerful; Brittney Slayes does a great job on those, especially in the chorus of "The Matriarch". "Shadow Guide", though, feels a little lackluster and doesn't quite click as a good song nor matches the overall atmosphere of the record.
But it's in the epic portion of the effort where the band truly shines. "Cleanse the Bloodlines" slowly builds itself into a bombastic experience not without a good climax in the chorus, with yet another good performance by Brittney. The second part of the album, actually, is stacked with more opulent songs that manage to keep the blood pumping, in one way or another.
"Call Me Immortal" is decent, albeit not reaching the status of being really good. Virtuous bass lines are evident here and the chugging riffs make up for the not so inspired vocal display by Brittney, which seems tired and more mechanical on this one, maybe because of the vocal mixing. The title-track closes the endeavor and, not by coincidence, is the most grandiose and carefully crafted of the songs here. Melodic, yet imposing, the track showcases a high level of songwriting and one of the best choruses of their career.
Swift melodies, virtuous but objective guitar lines and catchy hooks are plenty on Apex. Despite showing an almost pathological need to be dramatic, the Canadians fare well on balancing the magical with the mundane, on an album that is satisfying and, despite trying to be epic almost on a cartoonish level, is easy to digest. Heavy Metal purists will have some sort of resistance to the band's modern way of playing, but if you look at it closely you'll see that this album is nothing more than Power Metal played with a twist.
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