Metal Chick of the Month – Brittney Slayes

There’s no hiding from her, she sees everything!

In order to properly celebrate nothing more, nothing less than FIVE years of The Headbanging Moose, there’s nothing better than paying a humble tribute to a true Warrior of the North as our metal chick of this month of October, a woman that perfectly represents all the passion, strength and perseverance from the people that make our beloved Canada one of the best places to live in the world. Born in 1985 in Vancouver, one of the most beautiful cities not only in the province of British Columbia but in the entire country, here comes the dauntless vocalist Brittney Slayes, whose real name is Brittney Hayes, frontwoman and founding member of Canadian Heavy Metal band Unleash The Archers, always ready to show you what metal music from the Great White North is all about.

The talented Brittney, who discovered her voice when she was five years old and began singing in her local community choir at the age of eight, traveled with several choirs during her school years, taking part in many musical theater productions and working with some of the best vocal coaches in Western Canada. In university, she attended the UVic School Of Music, but choosing instead to attain her undergraduate degree in History. Furthermore, during her time at the University of Victoria, she traveled the world as a member of the Juno Award-winning ensemble the Uvic Chamber Singers. As a UVic alumna and the lead singer of Victoria-born Unleash the Archers, Brittney gave a keynote talk on July 10, 2018 for UVic’s upcoming conference Boundaries and Ties: The Place of Metal Music in Communities, with her talk, entitled “View from the ‘Apex’: A Metal Musician’s Views on Metal and Community”, drawing on her firsthand experience with local, national, and international metal communities. And do you want to know what our metal warrior thinks about us, metalheads? “People are so open-minded. They’re not going to cast judgement and never give you a chance. From what I’ve seen, metalheads are very kind and caring and open-hearted. I just think that the metal community is uplifting, really,” said our wise vocalist.

Apart from her time singing with different choirs, our Canadian warrior had never been involved in any other bands or music projects before founding Unleash The Archers back in 2007 with her boyfriend and drummer Scott Buchanan, and according to Brittney herself starting the band was the best thing she could have ever done (and we all agree with that, of course), allowing her to use her background in classical music and her four octave range to provide a more dynamic approach to the band’s incendiary fusion of traditional Heavy Metal with Power and Melodic Metal. In late 2008, the band recorded a self-titled four-song demo, which featured two songs (Black Goat of the Woods and Destroyer) they would end up re-recording for their first studio album. In one of her interviews, Brittney explained a little more about the origins of the band, saying it all began when Scott, former guitarist Brayden Dyczkowski (who left the band in 2014) and herself were in university, when Scott and Brayden were playing in a Death Metal band together, and as the drummer’s girlfriend Brittney simply loved to go to their shows and rock out. When the band broke up, she called Brayden and asked him if he wanted to start a band with herself as the vocalist and Scott on drums, and from that day on Unleash The Archers became a reality, leading the band to grow and become a reference in Canadian metal music, winning the Best Metal Band and Best Vocalist awards during the 2015 Vancouver Whammy Awards, as well as being voted number 6 in Exclaim Magazine’s Readers Choice Awards for Best Metal Albums of 2009.

Apart from the aforementioned self-titled debut demo, Unleash The Archers have already released four full-length albums and one EP, those being their 2009 debut album Behold the Devastation (when she was still known as as B. Hayes), the 2011 album Demons of the AstroWaste, the 2012 EP Defy the Skies, the 2015 album Time Stands Still, and last year’s highly acclaimed opus Apex. Currently comprised of our Canadian Valkyrie of metal Brittney on vocals, Grant Truesdell and Andrew Kingsley on the guitars and harsh growls, and Scott Buchanan on drums, as well as Nick Miller taking care of the bass duties during their live performances, Unleash The Archers have a great selection of official videos, lyric videos and unofficial live footage for us to enjoy for hours on YouTube. For instance, you can join Unleash The Archers in their quest for metal with the songs Tonight We Ride, Ten Thousand Against One, Apex, General Of The Dark Army, Time Stands Still, Cleanse The Bloodlines, Awakening, The Matriarch and Dawn Of Ages. And if live concerts and performances are your cup of tea, you can enjoy Brittney and the guys kicking ass with the songs Dreamcrusher and Time Stands Still live in Montreal in 2015; General Of The Dark Army live at the Pont Rouge in Monthey, Switzerland  in 2016; an acoustic version of The Outlander recorded live at CHSR in New Brunswick with Matt Nightingale during the 2011 “Tour Through The AstroWaste”; and their full set during their 2015 appearance at ProgPower USA in 2015. When asked about her favorite Unleash The Archers songs, those she believes a newcomer to their metal world should definitely take a listen at, Brittney said she has always loved Battle In The Shadow (Of The Mountain), from their second album Demons of the AstroWaste, saying she has a strong emotional connection to that song, also including on the list Four In Hand, from their debut album Behold the Devastation, as it’s about sin becoming personified as a cloaked figure riding around in a chariot pulled by the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Interesting, isn’t it?

Brittney has also been featured in several other bands and projects as a guest musician, each one of them being very peculiar and showcasing all the talent and range of our metal warrior. For instance, she provided additional vocals to the song Leather Lord, featured on the 2013 EP Live at Mushroom: Vol. I, by Canadian Power/Heavy Metal band 3 Inches of Blood; guest vocals on the song Queen of the Galaxy, from the 2014 EP Queen of the Galaxy (and also featured on the 2018 album The Extraterrestrial Compendium), by American Power/Thrash Metal band Dire Peril (and you can also check a cool live version of it in 2016 at the Blue Lamp HERE); vocals on the song Lunar Sunrise, from the 2014 album The Age of Ether, by American Power/Progressive Metal band Disforia; vocals for the full 2018 album Terror of the Cybernetic Space Monster, by American Power Metal band Helion Prime, like in the song Spectrum; vocals for the excellent song Burn It Down (With Fire), from the 2018 album Shadows from the Past, by American Heavy Metal band Lords of the Trident; and last but not least, she was also a guest on the song Siren’s Song, from the 2016 album Lawful Evil, by The Dread Crew of Oddwood (an acoustic pirate band from San Diego, California).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Regarding her career and life on the road, Brittney said that living life through music is every musician’s dream, living and breathing music every second of every day while on tour, and she wants to keep playing with Unleash The Archers everywhere, every corner of the globe, every continent and every type of venue, from Japan to Scotland, from Brazil to Antarctica (if they can find metalheads there, of course). When asked about the main difference between festivals and regular shows, she said that in the end they’re not that different, only that there are a lot more bands hanging out backstage waiting for their turn and the atmosphere seems quite a bit more laid back. Having already played with Unleash The Archers all over the world, from North America to China and Japan, Brittney has been collecting a lot of good memories and moments from each and every concert, such as their performance at Hell & Heaven Fest in Mexico City in 2014, where they played a side stage but were able to see the concerts by some of their favorite bands like Angra and KISS. Furthermore, all that passion for heavy music and her family had a very positive impact on her performance on stage. For instance, her brother used to play in a punk band and her father worked as a musician for a long time in the 60’s and 70’s. She used to play with his music equipment when she was a little kid, and there are many pictures of Brittney rocking out with an old SM57 in her hand standing on a table or any other stage-like apparatus. Also, as aforementioned, she was always involved in musical theater, drama, choir or any other sort of performing art, making her feel very comfortable when facing the crowd, it doesn’t matter if at a small venue or at a big renowned festival.

As it happens with any up-and-coming artist in metal music, Brittney has been asked several times through the years about who her biggest idols and influences are in music and in life in general, and her answers couldn’t be more classic, more inspiring and, of course, more metal. She said in one of her interviews that as a vocalist she has always been highly influenced by the one and only Bruce Dickinson, the metal god Rob Halford, Geoff Tate, Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray), Björn “Speed” Strid (Soilwork), Daniel Heiman (Lost Horizon), and Jonas Heidgert (Dragonland), among many others, with bands such as Iron Maiden, As I Lay Dying, All That Remains, Helloween and Septicflesh playing an important role in the development of her taste for music and her singing style. Furthermore, Brittney mentioned that the unparalleled Countdown To Extinction, released by Megadeth in 1992, was the first metal record she’s ever heard in her life, and that was basically the moment that would define her musical preferences for the rest of her life, but she also complemented her thought by saying Best Of The Beast, Iron Maiden’s first “best of” album, released in 1996, was the album that inspired her to use her vocal talents as a singer in a metal band. In addition, when questioned which bands she would choose if she could create her own festival, Brittney simply listed Iron Maiden, Lost Horizon, Iced Earth, Sabaton and Dragonland, all beyond formidable acts, also saying that she would love to tour with Iced Earth, one of her favorite bands of all time, as their music speaks to her on a whole other level.

And last but not least, When Brittney was asked how it feels to be in a Power Metal band from a country like Canada where the Power Metal scene is not as developed as in other places like Scandinavia and Japan, she admitted it’s a bit tough for bands that play metal the likes of Unleash The Archers due to the music culture in Canada being a lot more inclined to Death Metal and other more extreme styles, with Canadian metalheads growing up with bands like Kataklysm and Voivod,  even saying a Power Metal band can feel very “lonely” in the country. However, she also mentioned that even in that not-so-inspiring scenario there are still lots of traditional Power Metal acts all over the country, proving that as long as Power Metal bands keep playing music from their hearts and stay united and strong, the genre has all it takes to grow in popularity among Canadian fans. And there’s no one better than the warrior princess Brittney to lead that metal army and “unleash the archers” upon all of us.

Brittney Slayes’ Official Facebook page
Brittney Slayes’ Official Instagram
Brittney Slayes’ Official Twitter
Unleash The Archers’ Official Facebook page
Unleash The Archers’ Official Instagram
Unleash The Archers’ Official Twitter

“There’s always going to be those faces in the crowd that you have known since the beginning, and that you know will always be there for you; they were fans, and they’ve become friends. I think that there’s very much this foundation of fans that keep you standing. That will never change. The only thing that happens is that it just grows.” – Brittney Slayes

Advertisements

Album Review – Iron Knights / Iron Knights (2014)

Behold the Iron Knights, as they’re ready to rock.

Rating4

coverFinally after almost two years since their debut album, and especially after some huge lineup changes (only bassist Paul “Beam” Robbie and drummer Lawrence “Larry” Paterson remain from the original lineup), British Heavy Metal warriors Iron Knights are back with a new release, the excellent self-titled album Iron Knights, which will surely please all fans of that raw “old school” heavy music from the 80’s.

If someone asks me to summarize the music from the new and invigorated Iron Knights, who by the way ditched their pseudonyms a while ago and have been using their actual names since then, I would say it’s pure Heavy Metal created by the fusion of hot metal blood from New Zealand with an absolute passion for heavy music from the UK. All band members sound totally fired up and excited, which translates into great music full of stamina, and in my opinion the addition of British singer and guitarist Jamie Gibson (ex-Possession) was crucial for their new “formula” to actually work. As Mr. Larry Paterson stated in his interview to this webzine a couple of months ago, “The new stuff coming out is sounding really strong to my ears and I can’t wait to get it on the road.”

We can say Larry was absolutely right in his statement as soon as we hit “play” and the amazing opening track, Transparent, fills our ears with pure Heavy Metal:  a very traditional intro, extremely heavy riffs, pounding drums, some Thrash Metal elements from bands such as Anthrax, and an awesome chorus that will work perfectly live with the fans screaming “I SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOU!” with the band, are the perfect mix for inflaming the listener and making him start headbanging like hell. And the band keeps on rockin’ with Falling from Grace, with its Southern Metal riff, lots of groove and a very pleasant melody, and the 80’s Thrash Metal sonority from Vicious Circle, with highlights to the great vocals by Jamie Gibson on top of all the shredding and fast beats.

The next track, a ballad named A Chapter’s Lesion, might not be bad but it sounds a little generic, maybe showing the band should stick to the heavier and faster music from the first three songs, which is proven in Genocide, with its very traditional heavy sonority full of interesting riffs, guitar solos and especially the breaks halfway through the song. Then we have the good Cry for Help, with its intro and riffs a little similar to Iron Maiden’s classic “Flight of Icarus”, where it’s clear how much the band members put their hearts and souls into this album. Moreover, I could see this song being played a lot at most Rock N’ Roll radios in North America if the band had signed with a major record label.

IronKnightsAlthough the last two original tracks in Iron Knights might be completely different in terms of speed and violence, they are truly awesome and achieve their purpose almost flawlessly: I’m pretty sure Mr. Larry Paterson loves to play what is the best song of the album for me, Blind, a fast, heavy and furious mix of Heavy and Thrash Metal with a magnificent chorus; while Jacob’s Ladder, the second ballad of the album, is a lot better than the first one due to all the emotion in it, and besides, it gets a lot heavier after 3 minutes, ending the album in a very energetic way.

Last but not least, in regards to the bonus tracks (all re-recordings of some songs from their 2012 album New Sound of War), they’re all very powerful and perfect for hitting the road, especially the amazing Jericho. The only thing I didn’t understand in the album is the absence of the awesome single “Destroyer”. What the hell happened to it? I thought it was going to be part of the album for sure. Anyway, I downloaded it a while ago and will simply add it to my album folder as an “additional” bonus track.

And after Iron Knights (which can be purchased at the band’s official online shop) is over, you’ll probably grab another beer, hit “play” again and enjoy this great traditional Heavy Metal album one more time, because that’s how things should be when the music in question is not only good, but also potent and rightful. So behold the Iron Knights, as those guys are ready to rock and keep the fire of Heavy Metal alive, hopefully for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: Transparent, Vicious Circle, Blind and Jacob’s Ladder.

Worst moments of the album: A Chapter’s Lesion.

Released in 2014 Metalbox Recordings

Track listing
1. Transparent 5:05
2. Falling from Grace 3:41
3. Vicious Circle 3:47
4. A Chapter’s Lesion 4:20
5. Genocide 4:00
6. Cry for Help 4:42
7. Blind 3:21
8. Jacob’s Ladder 4:39

Bonus tracks (re-recorded from New Sound of War)
9. Bloodstorm 3:54
10. The Messenger 4:33
11. Jericho 4:21

Band members
Jamie Gibson – vocals, guitars
Wayne Mann – guitars
Paul “Beam” Robbie – bass
Lawrence “Larry” Paterson – drums

Interview – Larry Paterson (Iron Knights)

Heavy Metal drummer and writer Lawrence ‘Larry’ Paterson (Arbitrater, Metalhead, Chokehold, Blaze Bayley, Raven Lord, Iron Knights) talks about his drumming style and career, his passion for World War II, his books, Blaze Bayley, Iron Maiden, his current band Iron Knights, and more.

Larry_PatersonThe Headbanging Moose: You have already played in your career with many different bands such as Chokehold, Blaze Bayley, Iron Knights and Raven Lord. What are the main differences you found playing with each one of those bands? Did you have to adapt your style to their music, or did they accept your ideas in their creative process?

Larry Paterson: Actually, I never really adapted to suit the bands – it’s more you bring what you have into it. You will always alter what you are doing slightly anyway to match the other people’s playing; but the same influences always come into play really, even if you are headed in slightly different directions. From the bands you mentioned above, in three of them I had a lot of creative input into everything; the drumming itself, but also ideas for arrangements and so on. I don’t play guitar well at all, or sing, but I can still hear ideas that may or may not work, in the same way that guitarists have good drum ideas. That way it becomes a real collaboration between everybody and the songs can really evolve into the magic of that band. If there’s no magic – then you haven’t got the right guys 🙂

Raven Lord was one where creative input wasn’t wanted at all, so that didn’t last long for me 😉

Chokehold, Blaze Bayley and Iron Knights all have/had the same buzz for me – particularly on stage. Good straight down the line heavy metal, maybe with a twist here and there. That’s what I like to write and play 🙂

THM: There’s a new Iron Knights song available for download in the band’s official website, called Destroyer, which by the way is really good. Is that exactly what the fans can expect from the new Iron Knights album that you’re planning to release in 2014? How about future tours? Are you planning on touring only the UK and parts of Europe, or are you going to extend the tour to other parts of the world such as Latin America, USA/Canada, Australia and Japan?

LP: Thanks very much; glad you like it. It’s definitely the way things are headed 🙂 Iron Knights really needed to evolve from what it started out as, and it has done so. The new stuff coming out is sounding really strong to my ears and I can’t wait to get it on the road. Ultimately, it’s a new band so will take time to grow, but we want to play anywhere and everywhere that we can. May take a while to get out of the UK – and we still have a TON of work to do here – but we want to play anywhere that wants us!

saxontour4THM: You have just finished a tour with the band/project called James Rivera’s Sabbath Judas Sabbath in the UK. Can you give us more details about this project? Who are the other musicians in the band? I saw the setlist for some of the concerts and it’s an awesome mix of the heaviest Priest classics with the best songs from the Dio years. How were the songs selected for this tour?

LP: It’s good fun this one. Beam (the bassist from Iron Knights and SJS) and I met James when we supported Vicious Rumors in Europe. At the time Iron Knights was the original lineup and falling apart more and more each day. But James already had this thing going in other countries where he would fly in and do the cover set. Beam and I grew up on this stuff, so it’s always a blast to play it and we got our friend Shoi Sengupta and Paul Nazakardeh in on guitars (both EXCELLENT players from the band De Profundis). James had the setlist which we added one or two tracks to and voila…we’re off. Great fun, and of course James can actually hit the notes in stuff like Painkiller and Screaming For Vengeance!

THM: Let’s imagine you had a similar type of project, but with focus on the material from all your previous bands, from your start with Arbitrater until today. If you had to select 15 or 20 songs to play on tour, which songs would you pick and why?

LP: Wow…that’s a hard question. Hmmm…well I can tell you that the reason for all the songs I choose would be because they have a lot of feel to me; either in the vibe of the song or sometimes just the speed (I like a bit of fast drumming every now and then!) Well, in no particular order they would be:

1. Judge And Jury (Arbitrater)
2. Choose Your Weapons (Arbitrater)
3. Life On Loan (Chokehold)
4. Legion (Chokehold)
5. Faith Of Fear (Chokehold)
6. The Man Who Would Not Die (Blaze Bayley)
7. Robot (Blaze Bayley)
8. Smile Back At Death (Blaze Bayley)
9. God Of Speed (Blaze Bayley)
10. City Of Bones (Blaze Bayley)
11. Voices From The Past (Blaze Bayley)
12. Comfortable In Darkness (Blaze Bayley)
13. Ludovico Technique (Metalhead)
14. Crack In The System (Blaze Bayley)
15. Post Work Syndrome (Chokehold)

That should make me sweat a bit 🙂

THM: You have written around 9 non-fiction histories of Germany’s Second World War U-boat service since the year 2000 due to your passion and interest in the Second World War. Could you give us more details about those books and where we can find them for sale? When did your passion for this type of topic start, and why did a Heavy Metal drummer like you suddenly decide to write many books about it? Have you ever turned any of the stories in your books into music, or are you planning to do so?

LP: Actually, I have been interested in WW2 since I was a kid. One of my Grandfathers was in the ANZACs in WW1 and the other in the Royal Navy in WW2 and they taught me that people were people no matter who they fought for. So I started to specialize in the German forces. My main areas of study were actually the Army and Waffen SS but I spent several years as a scuba instructor and was diving on a lot of German wrecks from the Second World War when I lived in France. That led to me writing a book about the U-boat service which became my specialist field. It’s important to me, this kind of history, and it’s a human story, not a political one. I have been lucky enough to meet some amazing people who served in all of the German forces, not to mention the Allied ones, and it’s always very humbling.

I haven’t actually written any songs about it – but there are plenty that feature war as a kind of theme.

THM: As a drummer and at the same time a connoisseur of World Wars, what’s your opinion about the Iron Maiden song Paschendale, which is about the Battle of Passchendaele that took place during the First World War and that had Canada as one of its most important players? Have you ever played this song live, with friends or by yourself?

LP: I think that is one of the best Maiden songs for years! My Grandfather (the ANZAC) was involved in that battle as part of the Australian Army and I have his memories of it that he wrote down before he died. Terrible battle! And Adrian Smith managed to capture all that imagery in the song. It’s brilliant musically and emotionally. I have jammed along with it, but never played it properly.

THM: You have also written a book about the Blaze Bayley band’s history entitled At The End Of The Day, published in 2009 with an update in 2010. Could you give us more details about this book, and where can we find it? How is your relationship today with Blaze and the other guys that played together with you then?

LP: Well, it’s still available through my website and as a Kindle version on Amazon. I had a great time in that band though we definitely didn’t see eye to eye by the time I left. I’m in touch with them all every now and then and hope they’re all moving on okay. I know Jay has Bull-Riff Stampede now which is doing great things here. Haven’t really spoken to Blaze much, but you never know what’ll happen in the future.

?;&????xV4xV4xV4xV4`^+&??????????CALZDFE02Cur.ZDFI02CML018001001THM: Canada is not very famous for generating a lot of heavy music bands, although we have some good ones such as The Agonist, Annihilator, Anvil, and of course one of the best progressive rock bands of all time, Rush. What do you know about the current Heavy Metal scene in Canada, and what are your favorite artists and bands from here (if any)? Are there any new Canadian bands that you would recommend us?

LP: Actually – I don’t know too much about the Canadian metal scene other than the bands you mentioned. I’ve only been to Canada once and loved it. The only band I saw was a covers band that did an amazing version of Sympathy For The Devil (can’t remember much else…..I had a beer or two…). I do remember thinking that the Canadian music scene in general seemed pretty healthy, but that was in the late 90s so no idea how it is now. It can be hard to break out of your home country, so I’m guessing there are lots of good bands that are trying to make that break.

THM: Thanks a lot for your time! Would you like to send a special message to all headbangers in Canada?

LP: Thank you for your interest! A special message? You guys live in a fantastic country – Keep metal alive – Support smaller bands – Don’t let the bastards grind you down!….and buy the new Motorhead album! 😉 Hope to get over there sometime.

Links
Larry Paterson Official Website | Facebook | Twitter YouTube
Iron Knights Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Free ‘Destroyer’ Download