A couple of years back, Annihilator toured these shores and brought a bunch of young upstarts with them. These young upstarts were Archer Nation, and we were impressed with their metal display as a support act. In 2019, Annihilator returned and brought the same band back with them for a second assault. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it to the Glasgow date this time around but we wanted to remind ourselves of how good the band were, so got hold of a copy of their recent, sophomore, album Beneath The Dream…
Produced by Mike Clink, you know it’s going to sound good and it does. There are no rough edges, and there are little influences in the sound here and there that remind you of other bands. The guitar coming in part way during the intro to the title track does ring Rust In Peace shaped bells, for instance. Archer Nation are a slower, more mainstream metal band than a thrash one so that’s where the similarity ends but there’s definitely that Clink thumbprint right there.
What Archer Nation seem to have gone for is the “upbeat Iron Maiden” niche, at least in terms of tempo and attitude. Even with somewhat downbeat subject matter, such as in “Not My Own”, the music has a huge amount of melody, catchy riffage and air-guitar worthy solos.
It’s the noiser/heavier stuff that I prefer, though, with “Shackled” and “Division” probably being my picks.
For a three-piece they have a good sound, almost as if they were a four-piece. Dylan Rose covers all 6-string duties, but doesn’t stretch himself across too much in the studio that he’d not be able to do the songs justice live. He’s helped in this by bassist David DeSilva, whose chugging rhythms are very apparent and help carry the guitar as well as partner up with Keyhan Moini’s drumming. Archer Nation are a solid unit with some good songs, but who know their limits. There are some 3-piece acts who go wild in the studio and then get found out on stage when one guitar just won’t cut it. Having seen them (albeit four years ago), Archer Nation aren’t one of these.
If you saw them live then you really should be checking out the album. If you missed them, then here’s a chance to warm up for the next time they come round!