Find out our thoughts on the latest release from Architects…
Architects have had one hell of a ride over the years. They’ve had notable changes in sound from their early mathcore days through to becoming the metalcore icons they are today. Right when it seemed they were at their highest point, the band was rocked by the tragic loss of founder and guitarist, Tom Searle. In spite of this, the band pushed forward, releasing the incredibly powerful and heartfelt Holy Hell, with a tour that culminated in headlining an incredible show at Wembley Arena. With this new album, the band have been quoted as wanting to test their creative limits and not feel too confined by the weight of prior expectations. Tonally, this is still very much an Architects album – it covers the impending threats of climate change, the apathy of the masses and the cynicism in between – just delivered in a different way than before, and I’m ok with that!
The album opens with a beautiful synth and orchestral piece, accompanied by Sam Carter’s softer singing tones. Contrasting this is the brutal Black Lungs, punching out with the familiar hard-hitting guitar tones and slick riffs but also more clean vocals than usually given in an Architects track. Together these two tracks give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from the album. There’s a lot of what could be described as Architects’ ‘signature’’ sound throughout, but there are also plenty of new elements pushing their creative boundaries in new directions. If I had to summarise the overall vibe, I’d say it’s fresh but familiar.
As is often the case, the newer directions are likely going to be polarising amongst long-time fans. Going by the single releases we’ve had so far, which have leaned far heavier into more familiar territory, it seems like the band are well aware of this. Animals hits hard with gut punching guitars and Dead Butterflies is a beautifully powerful track that genuinely had my hair standing on end when I first heard the raw emotion in the lyrics, coupled with the sweeping orchestral strings. Tracks like An Ordinary Extinction and Flight Without Feathers lean much more heavily into experimental ground, with pumping synths, dancy rhythms, cleaner vocals and a couple of surprising guest spots.
Little Wonder (ft Mike Kerr of Royal Blood) is an incredibly dancy track for an Architects album in terms of musical content, but in an astutely self-aware way. The lyrics provide a kind of tongue-in-cheek, borderline satirical commentary: “I wanna sing you a different song, one that’s easier to swallow. We can dance, we can all sing along, we can say how we all wanna be saved but it’s easier to follow…” It’s exactly what you’d come to expect from an Architects track, but in surprisingly different packaging. Another notable but surprising guest appearance is that of Simon Neil. All I can say is give it a listen, I wasn’t expecting that from the Biffy Clyro frontman! Winston McCall of Parkway Drive also lends his vocal talent to a track on the album – while less surprising, it’s still a great performance.
Overall, it’s an incredible album. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to it the whole way through on repeat and can’t wait for the opportunity to see it performed live, however long away that may be. There likely will be many who don’t gel with the new direction and that’s fine, each to their own. But keep an open mind and you’ll find this is up there with some of their greatest work to date.