Unleash The Archers have arguably released their strongest album to date with Abyss, which arrived on August 21st via Napalm Records. To celebrate their latest effort, the Canadian power/melodic metal outfit held a virtual livestream record release event (read our review here) on August 22nd. We recently praised the group’s new album in this week’s Metal By Numbers as we can’t stop listening to this fantastic album. With that being said, we caught up with vocalist Brittney Slayes to learn more about their latest effort, what the pandemic has been like for the group, the uncertainty of music venues, and more.
What has the overall experience been like for you releasing a new album during a pandemic?
So far it has been pretty positive, actually. People seem hungry for new music these days, so our fans have been super hyped about it ever since we announced Abyss back in May. We figured it was either going to go really well, because we all have nothing else to do, or it was going to go very poorly. Luckily it seems to be working out thus far!
Can you talk more about your decision on the virtual album release show?
Touring is definitely not happening, so we did what we could to celebrate the release of the album just like we normally would. We filmed it at one of the local metal venues and treated it just like a real show, the only difference was that instead of a crowd there were a bunch of cameras. We split the profits with the venue as well, we know they’ve been hit pretty hard by the pandemic, and it’s really important to us that they are around when this thing is over. I read a statistic that 80% of venues are going to close if this doesn’t end soon, so hopefully more bands will do live streams and use their favourite venues as well.
Are there any particular songs on Abyss that was more challenging to write?
Absolutely. I definitely saved the worst for last; The Wind That Shapes The Land is the longest song on the record and has the most vocal parts. There was a lot of story to cover lyrically as well, so the writing process couldn’t really be rushed. Some parts came easily but others I really struggled with. I wanted so badly to make sure it was catchy but also conveyed the story articulately and in a way that made sense without complicating things. Needless to say, that one took a few nights of banging my head against the wall.
What was the experience like making the videos for “Abyss” and “Soulbound?”
Both videos were pretty stressful actually, the lockdown and regulations on gatherings meant we only had two weeks to get Abyss done, and we could only have a crew of two aside from the band during production. Soulbound we had a bit more time, but again the pandemic put a bunch of wrenches in our wheels, and we ended up having to film most of the scenes separate from one another. Not to mention Grant straight up couldn’t be in the story parts because he would have had to quarantine away from his family for two weeks afterwards due to the travel required. Our last video “Faster Than Light” was probably the easiest shoot we’ve ever had, and no one cared that we were running around a public track with a (fake) firearm at all. Hooray for Canada 😉
With tours being a huge question mark for this year and possibly next, what additional plans do you have to promote the album?
We have plans for more music videos, plus probably a playthrough or two, and some fun content like vocals-only videos and track-by-tracks. Other than that, I think we will mostly just hang out on Twitch. The band has a channel and Andrew, Grant, and myself all have personal channels as well. It’s an awesome platform for hanging out with fans and keeping in touch and top of mind. Plus, I don’t have time to game otherwise 😉
What did you do during the time of quarantine and how have things reopened near you?
Unfortunately, I have been working on prep and promo for the new album pretty much the entire time, plus working a full-time job that never slowed down, so down time was non-existent. That being said, I did discover Twitch, which is amazing and such a rad community, so when I did have free time it was usually spent there. More and more musicians are streaming there and music is slowly starting to make a dent in the gamer rep of the platform, but there is tons of content on there so I’m sure everyone can find something they enjoy if they aren’t necessarily into gaming. As for opening, it’s still happening slowly; restaurants are open but at half capacity, kids are going back to school in September but they have to wear masks, and movie theatres are open albeit with limited seating. It seems the only things not open to the public are venues and sports arenas so shows are probably not going to happen anytime soon. Lame.
Is there anything you’d like to say or add to your fans?
Thank you so much for listening to the album and thank you so much for your continued support! This release has been amazing and it totally would have sucked without our amazing fans. Screw Facebook, come hang out on Twitch and Discord!