Archer’s Dylan Rose is describing how his veteran heavy thrash band hooked up to tour with some of his metal heroes. As he talks, it’s evident he’s still as humbled—and possibly in disbelief—now as when it first happened.
“Touring with [Zakk Wylde] is like trying to hold on for dear life,” says the 29-year-old guitarist and singer. “Nothing bad, he just blows up the room whenever he enters.”
Then again, after 13 years of playing and recording, it’s no surprise to see Archer (which also features David DeSilva on bass and newest member, Alex Rivas, on drums) touring with international acts like Hell Yeah and Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society.
“My thing is about progress,” says Rose. “You have to look at this year and say, ‘OK, that was better than last year.’”
If that’s how they measure progress, then 2015 has been pretty damn successful for Archer. Not only did the metal trio tour with Hell Yeah in February and recently play Ride For Dime, the Dimebag Darrell tribute benefit concert in Texas, but they’ll also be hooking up with Canadian thrash metal legends Annihilator in Europe for two months starting in October. They’ll also join up with German metal queen Doro for another month to end the year.
If that wasn’t enough, Archer just released its first CD in four years, Culling the Weak, with legendary producer Mike Clink (Guns N’ Roses, Megadeth) behind the soundboard.
“Working with Clink was like hanging out with Yoda,” Rose explains. “You feel like you’re in the presence of brilliance. You’re trying to fully comprehend [him], but maybe you can’t. It was just so awesome.”
Archer must have understood more than they realized, however, because Culling the Weak finds them with a tighter and more mature sound than ever. This album takes a brash, hardline look at where Archer has been and where they want to go, with much of the theme—including the title track—focusing on reaping the weak and negative out of their lives.
“Over the last several years, we’ve been constantly evolving to get a little bit heavier, a little bit faster,” Rose says. “So it’s very rewarding to finally have a united effort to capture and show people.”
Along with being Archer’s CD release show, this Thursday’s concert will also feature a raffle to win a custom Epiphone Les Paul Junior guitar with Culling the Weak album artwork. Each ticket holder will receive one raffle ticket, although extras can be purchased.
“As soon as we saw [the guitars] in person I said, ‘We are saving one for Santa Cruz,’” remembers Rose. “Why not give back by tossing one out where it all began?”
INFO: 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3. Catalyst Atrium. 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $7. 429-4135.