Exclusive: UNLEASH THE ARCHERS Vocalist BRITTNEY SLAYES Talks Recording STAR ONE's "Fate Of Man", Performing With AYREON - "One Of The Most Incredible Experiences I've Ever Had"

May 19, 2024, a month ago

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Exclusive: UNLEASH THE ARCHERS Vocalist BRITTNEY SLAYES Talks Recording STAR ONE's "Fate Of Man", Performing With AYREON - "One Of The Most Incredible Experiences I've Ever Had"

In 2021, Ayreon mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen released a new Star One album, titled Revel In Time, which surfaced more than 10 years since the previous record. The album opener, "Fate Of Man", featured Unleash The Archers vocalist Brittney Slayes, and during a new interview with BraveWords she looked back on the experience.

Brittney also performed the song at 013 in Tilburg, Holland during Ayreon's September 2023 week-long stand, bringing the Ayreon album 01011001 to the stage. 

Brittney: "It was awesome," she says of recording "Fate Of Man". "My response was immediate. As soon as I saw Arjen's name in my inbox, I was like 'Yep. I don't care what it is, the answer is yes...' (laughs). He said he had a song for me on the new Star One album, and that he wrote it specifically for my voice. He found me on YouTube and wanted to know if I was interested. I said 'Absolutely, let's do this.' It was a lot of fun and it was really cool because I practiced the song a lot, and I asked Arjen if he would be okay with me changing things here and there. I made a couple changes and at first he was saying 'I don't know. Does that make sense?' I told him I would do things his way, but I could perform it better my way. In the end he told me to do whatever I wanted, and once I recorded it he thought it was great. Maybe I was pushing it a little at the beginning (laughs)."

"Playing with Ayreon live, performing the song, was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had. Hands down. It was the coolest thing ever. So many great people, and it was such an amazing show."

Watch for the complete Unleash The Archers interview with Bravewords, coming soon, and check out Brittney's performance below.

Unleash The Archers, recently announced the upcoming release of their massive sixth studio album, Phantoma, out this Friday, May 10 via Napalm Records. Following theirlatest singles "Green & Glass", “Ghosts In The Mist” and “Seeking Vengeance”, today, the band ushers in release week with epic album closer anthem "Blood Empress". The track tells a bittersweet tale with spine-tingling, grooving choruses before closing with a grandiose blastbeat attack amid a sea of voices.

On the new concept album, listeners join protagonist Phantoma, a Phase 4 / Network Tier 0 unit - model A, on an inspiring yet harrowing journey as she discovers the brutal truths behind the manufactured sheen of social media posturing on a dystopian, near-future planet earth. With the band’s one-of-a-kind blend of power metal, traditional heavy metal, modern prog and pop sensibilities, Phantoma spins a web of sharp musicality, high sci-fi concept and important social commentary.

Brittney Slayes of Unleash The Archers says about “Blood Empress”: "This was the last song that we wrote for the album and we wrote it together in our Airbnb while we were recording. We always like to save one song to write together in the studio to give a kind of snapshot of the headspace we were in while recording, and this one was a ton of fun. We wanted to do a bit more of a radio rock track and have it be something simple that would be a blast to play live and potentially end the set with. The album story ends with Phantoma having destroyed both The Collective and the Human Council that once stood against her, but now she had all of robotkind and humankind looking to her for where to go next. We wanted the song to feel dark but also triumphant, and to hopefully be catchy enough to make the listener want to start the album all over again. The video was filmed once again by RuneGate Studio and they did an awesome job with finding a set that could parry between both the synthetic and the human sides of the story. We all love this track in UTA and hope that you all can bang your heads to it too!"

Watch the official music video for “Blood Empress”:

Intertwining reality with imagination, Unleash The Archers were inspired to utilize elements of AI during the creation of Phantoma, in keeping with its innovative theme. Frontwoman and lyricist Brittney Slayes conjured the album's concept in 2021; before the swarm of pressing commentary surrounding AI began to reach an all-time high.

The band weaved electronic and synthwave elements throughout the album’s 10 colossal anthems, which - in line with its theme - prove much darker and heavier in comparison to the bright positivity of Abyss. Album opener “Human Era” sets the tone with imagery of a bleak, windswept futurescape that crescendos headlong into the breakneck pace of power metal bastion “Ph4/NT0mA” - a masterwork of dueling guitar solos and vocal acrobatics. Trad-metal influenced “Buried In Code” lights the way with pummeling rhythms before the album’s path turns dark on heavy metal hardened “The Collective”, with Brittney Slayes’ warm tones inviting the listener to ‘join or stand aside’! Hair-raising first single “Green & Glass” unveils the truth before the upbeat 80s flavored “Gods In Decay” and the extraordinary balladic anthem “Give It Up Or Give It All” showcase the varied song writing prowess of Unleash The Archers’ modern era. A trifecta of concept closers begins with the moody “Ghosts In The Mist”, leading into the soaring yet menacing “Seeking Vengeance” before closing with the bittersweet tale of “Blood Empress”.

Mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen, and with lead guitarist Andrew Kingsley at the helm as both principal songwriter and producer, Phantoma is an exciting advancement in Unleash The Archers’ songwriting and storytelling mastery, and a giant leap forward in their towering musical trajectory.

Phantoma will be available in the following formats:      

- Earbook Edition with 2CD (2 Bonus Tracks and instrumental version of the album), 7" Single (2 bonus tracks on Black vinyl), 60 pp booklet (Napalm Mail Order only - limited to 1000)
- -2LP Gatefold in Phantoma Cristallo Multicolored Splatter (Napalm Mail Order only - limited to 300) - NEW!
- 2LP Gatefold in Marbled Orange Red with 24 page vinyl booklet and artprint (Napalm Mail Order only - limited to 300) - SOLD OUT!
- 2LP Gatefold in Glow In the Dark (Napalm Mail Order only - limited to 300)
- 2LP Gatefold in Splatter Aquamarine Orange (Napalm International Mail Order only - limited to 300)
- 2LP Gatefold in Transparent Lime Green (Napalm North American Mail Order only - limited to 300)
- 2LP Gatefold in Silver (North American indie retail only - limited to 700)
- 2LP Gatefold in Black      
- Cassette Tape Edition in Fluorescent Green with White Print (Napalm Mail Order only - limited to 200)
- Jewel Case CD Edition
- Digital Album

Pre-order here.

Phantoma tracklisting:

"Human Era"
"Buried In Code"
"The Collective"
"Green & Glass"
"Gods In Decay"
"Give It Up Or Give It All"
"Ghosts In The Mist"
"Seeking Vengeance"
"Blood Empress"

“Seeking Vengeance” video:

“Ghosts In The Mist” video:

"Green & Glass" video:

Unleash The Archers will tour across the globe in 2024, with dates already announced in North America, Europe, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. See below for all currently booked tour dates.

European Festivals:

5 - Ballenstedt, Germany - Rock Harz
6 - Knislinge, Sweden - Time To Rock
12 - Visovice, Czech Republic - Masters Of Rock
19 - Laukaa, Finland - John Smith Fest
21 - Baile Figa, RO @ Celtic Transylvania

2 - Wacken, Germany - Wacken Open Air
9 - Villena, Spain - Leyendas Del Rock
10 - Walton-On-Trent, UK - Bloodstock

Supporting Powerwolf in North America:

29 - Los Angeles, CA - The Hollywood Palladium
31 - Denver, CO - The Ogden Theatre

3 - Chicago, IL - The Riviera Theatre
4 - Cleveland, OH - The Agora Theatre
5 - Silver Spring, MD - The Fillmore
7 - Tampa, FL - Jannus Landing
8 - Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade
9 - Charlotte, NC - The Fillmore
12 - Philadelphia, PA - The Fillmore
13 - Worcester, MA - The Palladium
14 - New York City, NY - Brooklyn Paramount
15 - Laval, QC - Place Bell

Unleash The Archers lineup:

Brittney Slayes - Vocals
Scott Buchanan - Drums
Grant Truesdell - Guitar, Vocals
Andrew Kingsley - Guitar, Vocals
Nick Miller - Bass

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