Most power metal bands will stay within that genre, rely on huge, catchy choruses and musicianship that will make them stand out. Musically, a lot of power metal is very similar. Not Unleash The Archers. Canada’s best metal band have proven with Phantoma that power metal can branch out to other genres, such as prog, to give the listener a vastly different experience. Phantoma is a science fiction themed album, and in more ways than one, that is made very clear.

The album begins with a song which builds up over the course of nearly six minutes. ‘Human Era’ starts off slow, but by the end of the track, because of the build-up in speed and instrumentation, it turned into an anthem.

It is the second song and title track which blew me away in a way that no other song on Phantoma did. Lead vocalist Brittney Slayes is unbelievable on this song. Her vocals truly stand out, and it was most evident on this song. The chorus is catchy, and the guitar solo is not overwhelming yet fits the song perfectly. This song feels as if it is towering over the others on this album.

‘The Collective’ is a song packed with rhythmical changes and introduces the harsh vocals of guitarists Grant Truesdell and Andrew Kingsley. This is a stroke of genius for this specific song.  The bridge  features both the clean and harsh vocals on top of each other into a face melting guitar solo. One of the best examples of the song writing which this band is capable of.  The beginning of the song is full of synths reminding the listener that we are not in 2024, but in a time far beyond human beings.

This is when the singles come in. There are three of them, and on an album with 10 tracks on it, that is quite a risky move. The first single, ‘Green & Glass’ is really underwhelming compared to the rest of the album. For a single, it makes for a fantastic listen, but the songs that have appeared up until now have been on a league of their own. The biggest miss on this album though, is track number 7, ‘Give It Up Or Give It All.’ It is a seven-and-a-half-minute long ballad, which is highly ambitious because it has more tempo changes than any other song on this album. This makes the song feel very progressive and loses its own identity because of it. The intro and outro however, are absolutely gorgeous.

The next couple of songs that follow are the other two singles from the album. Both ‘Ghost In The Mist’ and ‘Seeking Vengeance’ also underwhelm in the same way that ‘Green And Glass’ does. These are both great songs, but listening to the album, these do not feel as unique or powerful as songs like the title track.

‘Blood Empress’ is a fantastic choice to end the album with. The intro is a little bit too sci-fi like, but this is shortly outlived as Brittney once again delivers a top-notch vocal delivery in the verse whilst the chorus is extremely atmospheric for a power metal song. This song is truly elevated when drummer Scott Buchanan starts blasting which leads into the fadeout of the song and the end of the album.

Overall, Unleash The Archers are a band filled with world class musicians. AI was used in the writing and recording processes of this album, and I could not tell, but the use of the synths and autotune at the beginning of ‘Blood Empress’ did not make much sense on this album. No album is ever perfect, and neither is this one, but this is an album filled with songs that are made for concerts. With massive and catchy choruses, and prog metal tempo changes, Unleash The Archers have shown their musical capabilities, and their songwriting ambitions. Ambitions that could elevate their music to the status of Canadian music legends.

Unleash The Archers: Phantoma – Out 10th May 2024 (Napalm Records)

THE ARCHERS – Ghosts In The Mist (Official Performance Video) | Napalm Records (