“Faster Than Light” by Unleash the Archers

I’d call the Canadian power metal band’s epic, soaring music a “guilty pleasure,” but it’s just too bitchin.

I’ve come to realize that I prefer my heavy metal in a handful of forms: for example, as atmospheric “blackgaze” or as epic, triumphant power metal. For the former, I strongly recommend ISON’s Inner — Space (arguably my favorite album of 2019). But for the latter, look no further than Unleash the Archers’ Abyss, which was released earlier this month. But what, pray tell, is power metal? I love Zoe Camp’s description on Bandcamp Daily:

Whereas most metal bands prop up blackened, gloom-and-doom-ridden backdrops, instilling dread in the listener through blunt force or slow torture, power metal groups trade in uplifting spectacle, high fantasy reinforced with teutonic discipline. This is arena-sized music for galloping across battlefields on a unicorn’s back, for trading blows with intergalactic adversaries while humanity’s soul hangs in the balance — and if that makes it cheesy, then maybe you’re just allergic to fun.

In other words, if you can listen to a song like “Faster Than Light,” with its explosive drumming, intricate and fiery riffage, and Brittney Slayes’ operatic vocals crying out “Fly ’til the stars collide/‘Til we live or die,” and not want to, say, gallop across a battlefield on a unicorn’s back… well, then what are you even doing on this site?

Yes, “Faster Than Light” is silly and overwrought, but that’s entirely the point, and Unleash the Archers does it so well. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some intergalactic adversaries to battle. Humanity’s soul does hang in the balance, after all.

Read more about Unleash the Archers.