I've written about Unleash the Archers a few times - here (2014, when I thought they really should have won the first Vancouver Wacken Metal Battle), here (2015), and here (2018, apropos of the release of their concept album Apex), for example. A Canadian power metal band that hails from Vancouver Island, I first saw them maybe ten years ago, a few blocks away from my former apartment in Maple Ridge, at a bizarre little venue - a tiny evangelical church on the Dewdney Trunk Road, formerly a pool hall, that briefly were open-minded enough to book metal shows (at least until Theocide played there, with Metal Mike being absolutely unable to resist throwing barbs from the stage at organized religion - "You do realize what Theocide MEANS, don't you?" - at the hapless church soundman, which I assume helped kill that venue for gigs; or maybe it was just too weird to have a circle pit in a church?).
And here's the thing - as you may have gathered, the PHO's apparent chair fetish has thrown the Rickshaw for a loop, with proprietor Mo Tarmohamed being told he could start selling to capacity, then being told something very different, which is why certain sold out shows, like Unleash the Archers' gig there on Friday, have not had more tickets announced, and other shows (like Archspire's record release) have had to be moved to two dates, Nov. 25th and 26th. Unleash the Archers ALSO have added a date - this Thursday, the 18th - to accommodate that situation, with the band asking fans on Facebook to consider coming the earlier night.
While I had Brittney's ear - or eye, as this was an email interview - I had to ask what touring the United States under COVID was like - if it was different from Canada, but also different from their past tours. "It was definitely different, yes. We had to be on constant guard. We never went anywhere without wearing our masks, we hand sanitized every time we came back on the bus, we took our temperatures every day to make sure no one was getting that signature fever that precedes all other symptoms. We were extremely careful. It sucked because we really like getting to hang out with our fans and chatting with them and we couldn’t really do that ☹. The shows were great though, and it was nice to be able to get back on stage regardless!"Abyss, meanwhile, is a continuation of that same, ambitious Apex storyline, Slayes explains. "In Apex we were introduced to our main characters, The Matriarch and The Immortal. The Immortal is a powerful being that is cursed to serve whoever awakens him from his thousand-year slumbers, and in Apex he is awakened by The Matriarch – a power-hungry sorceress with a thirst for immortality. Needless to say, The Matriarch betrays The Immortal at the end of Apex, and in Abyss we see The Immortal finally taking his revenge with the help of a few other important characters..."