Culling the Weak
Release Date: August 21, 2015
Hailing from Santa Cruz, CA , Archer are a Rock N Roll inspired trio with a heavy metal flare. Culling the Weak is their debut album for Metalville Records, also home to Architects of Chaoz, Chris Caffery, and more.
So, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed the Rock and Roll resurgence of the last few years. In my opinion, Archer is certainly part of that revivalist movement, but with Culling the Weak, they manage to carve out their own niche in the marketplace as they have a distinctly heavier edge than many of the bands. A lot of this comes from the vocals, which lean less towards the bluesy style of bands like Orchid or Rival Sons and more towards the simple, snarky, and straightforward approach of, say, James Hetfield or Dave Mustaine. At first I wasn’t sold, but on repeated listens it really helps separate them from the pack.
Archer certainly has the “power” part of power trio down pat. “World of One” is a dynamite example of this, the lead guitar just takes over the song, sprinkling little bits in between the incredible groove the rhythm section are laying down. The vocals balance out the groove, keeping it sounding heavy when the lead guitar is not doing it’s thing. “Hurl the Cross” has a bluesier overall feel to it, but more like the way Lemmy plays the blues, not like how Keith Richards plays the blues. It’s a tune that will certainly make you bob your head and sing along by midway through. This is another fantastic moment for the lead guitar as well. Meanwhile, “Day That Never Came” has a brighter feel to it. It’s perhaps a little more radio bound than a lot of the other songs but it’s also extremely musical and shows that the band certainly aren’t afraid to stow the vocals/lyrics away and just kick ass.
Overall, this is a solid debut from Archer. There are a few moments here that come off as less fiery than others, maybe even a little bland, at times. While I love that the vocals really help set the band apart, they also lack the dynamics that many of the other bands of the genre have so they can get a bit tedious as well. Culling the Weak is a strong debut overall, but something inside me thinks that we have seen very little of what this band is actually capable of. I look forward to hearing more.
Reviewed by Mark 1340