In the Canadian heavy metal world, sometimes west coast bands are overlooked, according to Brittney Hayes, leader of power-metal four-piece Unleash the Archers.
"People just don't really take notice if you're from Vancouver. They think you're just a bunch of west coast hippies chilling in the sunshine," she says.
But it's hard to blame the average person for assuming that, especially while chatting with the extremely chill Hayes, whose west-coast-surfer drawl and affable demeanour fail to conjure up the image of a brooding metalhead---until you hear her sing, that is.
Sounding like a female Bruce Dickinson, Hayes is another breed of iron maiden, delivering punishing wails in Unleash the Archers, a group that is best described as a combo of all the catchy elements of power-metal, thrash and fantasy-rock.
The band formed in Victoria when Hayes approached the rest of the boys in hopes of creating a new metal act that would carve out its own unique niche on the west coast. After performing for a few years and releasing its first album, Behold the Devastation in 2009, the band decided to start fresh and move to Vancouver to record its new album.
Practicing for five months in a warehouse-turned-jam-space, the group came to the studio to record the fantasy-driven Demons of the Astrowaste, which Hayes describes as a more melodic and catchy album than the band's first effort.
"It's more of a put-your-fist-in-the-air-and-sing-along kind of thing," she says. "It was definitely a more cohesive writing process."
But that doesn't mean some west coast stereotypes didn't shine through this time around. One of the band's most popular t-shirts features a Sasquatch playing a guitar fashioned out of branches, an image so emblematic for the group that they even used it in the video for lead single "Dawn of Ages."
"We definitely go for the epic, that's for sure," Hayes says of the band's image and partnership with the furry beast. "We just wanted people to think the west was coming to conquer you."