Archer Nation - Beneath the Dream

Archer Nation Beneath the Dream cover
Archer Nation
Beneath the Dream
EMP Label Group
Archer Nation return with a sophomore album – after some touring with the likes of Queensryche and Annihilator. Whether you like what they peddle is a matter of choice I guess. While the Californian trio has a lot of things going on for them, the same things that make them endearing also seem to act as an Achilles heel for them.
Let me put what I said above in perspective, think of a better Trivium, with much smoother vocals, which come from the sole guitarist, thus resulting in somewhat bizarre arrangements that tend to remind at times of better bands, but not quite reaching the heights of those “influences”.
Case and point, opener “I Am the Dawn” sounds like Trivium and solo Dickinson, with a guy that sounds more Heafy than Dickinson and not even that. He definitely has a good voice, but is range limited.
“Division” is slower, less technical Annihilator/Megadeth. Also more melodic.
“Beneath the Dream” feels like more melodic Metalli-deth, but not, you know, as good.
“Acedia” is begging to become… (to quote the lyrics) or wishes it were Megadeth… a little more rhythmic than their normal fare, but nowhere as tight, this feels like an alternative band doing a Megadeth cover. Better vocals, worse chops.
“Not My Own” has some interesting guitar ideas, but overall having those flashy extended solos, as they are, because songs need to be arranged in a certain way, so as to allow the vocalist/lead guitarist to perform them, causes the song to suffer.
“Matricide” feels like something ‘Deth would have done in their decline years, although its chorus, is unlikely inspired and has a short of early Diamond-headesque character. I suppose it’s not the worse track on offer.
“Shackled” tries to mimic Megadave’s dayjob band, as close as it can, managing to ape the more rock ‘n rollish looser moments, but it’s got a slightly better main idea, than the over-saturated latest ‘deth albums that seemed more focused on parts rather than songs’ flow with few exceptions.
On “Severed” someone called in and he wants some parts back. Too derivative… sorry.
The band sounds like Megadeth’s thrice removed and less accomplished cousins, or Annihilator’s next door neighbors, until Waters moved to the UK. They are aping the influences capably, but probably are missing a second guitarist and a vocalist that would really help their material to take flight. Neither terrible nor great, they could surprise us in the future, or implode without making a mark. I think it is interesting to see if they could develop their own identity. Copying is the sincerest form of flattery and everyone starts out by doing covers and such, but it’s good to develop one’s own style and Archer Nation are some way off that mark.