Tales from the Jugular

Guest Column: "My Influences" w/ Unleash the Archers vocalist Brittney Slayes
A Look at Her Top 10 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Influences

By: Frank Hill
Published: Friday, April 3, 2015
Brittney Slayes

People like to ask artists and performers, "Where do you get your ideas from?" to try and get a grasp on a form or to determine if there is a cosmic mental place they can tap into and pull out substance. They wonder if Alice Cooper has a real connection to the occult. They're curious if death and black bands are personally into necrotic and evil subjects. Acclaimed author Stephen King simply says, "I get my ideas from everywhere."[1]

With a name that evokes medieval imagery and a sense of urgency, Unleash The Archers formed as a band in Victoria, Canada in 2007 and have subsequently been developing a fanbase with the release of three full-lengths and one EP (Behold the Devastation--2009, Demons of the AstroWaste--2011, Defy the Skies--2012, Time Stands Still--2015) and by playing shows throughout North America. The band created a campaign on IndieGoGo to help cover the costs of their pro-shot video for "General of the Dark Army" which is approaching a million views on YouTube. The band's combination of mythic subjects, melodic power metal guitars, Brittney's traditional lead vocals and harsh, male backing vocals are the staple of their genre-defying brand of music. With the success of their sophomore album, the band have been slowly infiltrating worldwide markets. Their increased global presence and talent led to the band signing with metal label Napalm Records this year.

Brittney has mentioned in interviews[2][3] that she is heavy into sci-fi and fantasy and that they were an influence on her writings. We decided to explore that a little deeper and asked her to come up with 10 items within those genres and how they may have tied into the band's material.

I have always been a huge fan of any kind of sci-fi, fantasy and historical fiction; whether it be a book, a movie or a comic. The things I see and read definitely have a huge influence on what I write for UTA, so I thought I might give a list of my top ten, all-time favorites. Its got a little bit of everything, and if you are a reader, a gamer, or a cinephile, I strongly recommend you check out the titles you don't recognize ;)  --Brittney

1. Willow (Movie - Lucasfilm - 1988)
This is just one of the best fantasy films of all time really, it's old but it stands the test of time for sure. It's LOTR before there were the LOTR films. This movie raised me; I know that sounds weird but it was my babysitter for a long time. Whenever my parents weren't home I'd pop Willow or The Princess Bride into the VCR and go nuts ;) The character from Willow called 'General Kael' was actually the inspiration for the General from 'General of the Dark Army'. That guy was just so badass, and his helmet! What a killer villain.
Associated Links:
[Youtube: Unleash the Archers - "General of the Dark Army"]

2. Black Company (Books - Glen Cook - 1984)
This series is not for everyone. Glen Cook has a very particular way of speaking that some find off-putting. He is very familiar, not the traditional fantasy style at all but so good. I mean I ripped through these books and there are seven (omnibuses) of them and they are not small. The main influence taken from these books is the imagery for 'Four In Hand' on our first record Behold The Devastation; the thought of evil personified was drawn from the 'Widowmaker' character in the Books of the South.
Associated Links:
[Youtube: Unleash the Archers - "Four in Hand"]

3. Dune (Books - Frank Herbert - 1965)
So good! I still recite the Bene Gesserit 'Litany Against Fear' to myself sometimes. This series was my first foray into sci-fi many years ago and I haven't looked back since. The song 'Destroyer' was based on Maud'dib (Paul Atreides) mainly from 'Children of Dune' but pulling from all throughout the books. The tale was so engrossing; this is the only series I have ever considered re-reading!
Associated Links:
[Youtube: Unleash the Archers - "Destroyer"]

4. Revelation Space (Books - Alastair Reynolds - 2000)
This is a series by Alastair Reynolds; he is an actual practicing astro-physicist so his concepts of space travel and what humanity will look like in the future are all so very realistic. The stories are very much fact-based but also incredibly intriguing; the initial trilogy is the best. These books were the reason Demons Of The AstroWaste was set in space, and I took from it lightly for the song 'The Fall of the Galactic Guard'.
Associated Links:
[Youtube: Unleash the Archers - "The Fall of the Galactic Guard"]

5. The Lies of Locke Lamora (Books - Scott Lynch - 2006)
The cover of the first book of this series caught my eye big time, (yes I judge all books by the cover, how horrible!) mostly because it was the author's first novel. I love that! You know he's been stewing on it forever ;) And it was well worth it. The second novel in the series was the inspiration for the track 'Hail Of The Tide' on our new album, in conjunction with that feeling we get when we're heading to Vancouver Island to play to our hometown crowd in Victoria!
Associated Links:
[Youtube: Unleash the Archers]

6. Saga (Comic Book - Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples - Image Comics - 2012)
This wasn't inspiration for any of our songs (yet) but I am just enjoying it so much! Waiting for each subsequent volume is almost as bad as waiting for the next season of The Walking Dead!
Associated Links:

7. A Song of Ice and Fire/Game Of Thrones (Books - George R. R. Martin - 1991)
Just for the record the books are way better than the TV series, really if you are only watching the TV version then you are doing yourself a great disservice. I mean the show is following the storyline pretty closely but there are so many little nuances missing and smaller side plots being skipped that it's just not the same. These books were a part of the inspiration for the track 'Frozen Steel' from our new record; I felt that the metalheads of Canada could be compared to the boys on the wall. Warriors of the frozen north unite!
Associated Links:
[Youtube: Unleash the Archers]

8. Dead Space (Video Games - Visceral Games - 2008)
This game was awesome; the second one was awesome too. Scared the crap out of me and yet you just can't stop playing! Never got to the third one because I have not had much time for gaming these last couple years (its seriously sucks really hard) but once I have spare time again I will pick it up. This game was the inspiration behind the track 'The Worthy and the Weak' on Behold The Devastation. As well as typical zombie culture in general ;)
Associated Links:
[Youtube: Unleash the Archers - "The Worthy and the Weak"]

9. Star Wars (Movies - George Lucas - 1977)
Well, there is no doubt that Star Wars (as well as ESB and the Return) is some of the best sci-fi out there, still to this day. I mean you have to ask yourself how a movie could look so good at that time and still be believable now…1977! Seriously, google other sci-fi movies that came out that year, even later, and look at the graphics and the concepts of what our future will look and like and tell me its not amazing what George Lucas was able to do… Blows my mind ;) When I wrote the song 'City Of Iron' I really had the Death Star in my mind, or a slightly revised version of it… a mechanized planet nonetheless!
Associated Links:
[Youtube: Unleash the Archers - "City of Iron"]

10. The Passage (Book - Justin Cronin - 2010)
This one wasn't an inspiration for anything either but I haven't read a book as quickly as I read this one in a long time. It was a great spin on your typical zombie apocalypse/vampire genre and it had me completely hooked within the very first paragraph. In the book store, I always read the first page to see if I like the voice the author has chosen to write with, to see if I like the pacing and the general ambience. Needless to say, I was turning to chapter two by the time I realized I was still standing in front of the display at the front of the store and was able to pull myself out of the story. All I could think was 'Woah, well I gotta buy this one' hahaha. The sequel just came out, but I always wait for the trade paperback version so haven't picked it up yet… Straight up torture!
Associated Links:

Hope you enjoyed my list! I always love talking movies, books, gaming and comics at shows so next time we play your town please feel free to come and share your favorites! I always love suggestions on new stuff too so don’t hold back! \m/ --Brittney

Brittney Slayes:

Unleash the Archers Links:
[Message Board]

Supporting Links:
UtA artwork by JP Fournier
[1] stephenking.com
[2] themetalpit.net
[3] sarkophag-rocks.com
(Age to Brittney)
Dune 1965 50 20
Star Wars 1977 38 8
Black Company 1984 31 1
Willow 1988 27 -3
A Song of Ice and Fire 1991 24 -6
Revelation Space 2000 15 -15
The Lies of Locke Lamora 2006 9 -21
Dead Space 2008 7 -23
The Passage 2010 5 -25
Saga 2012 3 -27






Year Span


Influence Count: Books - 6, Films - 2, Comics - 1, Games - 1

New Unleash the Archers album 'Time Stands Still' available June 26th in Europe and July 7th in North America!

[Other Maximum Metal Columns]

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