An architect is a creator, artist, revolutionary–a champion of new ideas being breathed into existence. Apologies, I meant Architects, the UK-based metalcore group. Over their previous eight studio albums, the band has made a name for itself through intricate messages, powerful melodies, and inspirational lyrics. While the last album Holy Hell was a love letter outlining the pain, loss and appreciation of the late founding guitarist Tom Searle, the latest installment serves as a warning to humanity’s destructive nature and a plea to change its ways for the better of planet earth.
For Those That Wish to Exist acts as a major departure from the familiar breakdowns and ‘blegh’s while managing to hone in on the other notable keystones of the band’s signature sound. Architect’s drummer and songwriter Dan Searle states “I wanted to look in the mirror and ask ourselves the question of what are <we> going to do” going on to say “…the world has developed a culture of wanting someone else to deal with it when we need to take our own responsibility. It has to start there”. There is a clear agenda with this release, much as there is a clear agenda to this article I am writing–to review the album. Let’s begin.
Any concert-goer can attest to the anticipation leading up to the headliner’s entrance. The stage is empty, the instruments are waiting patiently for their owners and the lights are prepped to silhouette the incoming members as they take their positions. ‘Do You Dream of Armageddon’ serves as the perfect setlist opener we hope for. The introductory song inspires thoughts of the lights going up and the audience crushing forward in excitement–a perfect palette cleanser for our ears leading into a fresh, unexpected breath of fresh air that is the rest of the album.
Second on the list and second released single comes ‘Black Lungs’. This release brings the familiar instrumental weight we expect from the Architects–threatening the standard rhythm of our heart palpitations by introducing, for lack of a better word, chunky riffs from the start that culminates in a surprising finisher sure to knock listeners off their feet.
‘Giving Blood’ is the first major departure we hear on the album, bringing sounds to the table that we haven’t experienced before through previous releases. While some fans may be turned off by the more pop-inspired moments and slowly delivered cleans, I feel it brings an incredible amount of emotion and will serve as a radio-friendly introduction to new fans who otherwise wouldn’t have exposure to the band.
Full disclosure regarding the next song ‘Discourse is Dead’–my husband and I had the pleasure of hearing this during the Royal Albert Hall live event and I cannot express how heightened my excitement for the album became when it came on. It’s possibly the most familiar sounding Architects song on the list but brings a bone-chilling choir coupled with minor notes to the final moments of the song that floored me. It’s in league with select others for my favorite song on the release.
Dead Butterflies is another interesting departure from the expected. Introducing horns where we might expect a strong backing of string instruments, the song brings raw emotion to the table with its haunting chorus and lyrics calling back to ‘‘Memento Mori’ off the album ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’.
Next comes my favorite song on the album–An Ordinary Extinction. Coupling the familiar sing-screaming Sam Carter brings to the table with a nu-metal merger of instrumentals with electronic backing, there are endless moments to pick out and love individually. The introductory moments are unique, the chorus is familiar, the bridge is melodic and the finisher is bound to give you whiplash from the former. If I had this on cassette then this song would have been worn out by now.
Winston, oh Winston. Seeing the name of the Parkway Drive frontman was enough to get me excited before hitting play, but the song stands on its own without the inclusion of one of my favorite singers in the scene. The catchy chorus was more than enough to carry my anticipation to McCall’s acting role as usher into a phenomenal lung-vacuum of a breakdown that left me breathless.
If, like myself, the last song leaves you looking for air then track eight ‘Flight Without Feathers’ acts as an instruction manual for keeping the breath in your lungs by chanting “Don’t forget to breathe.” Jokes aside, the song has a quiet, enchanting sound that keeps me engaged throughout and serves as a bit of respite before the next on the list.
I try to be as optimistic as possible going into any new song I’m reviewing, but full disclosure is that ‘Little Wonder’ left much to be desired until some of its final moments. Throughout we are given the repeating line ‘I want to sing you a different song’ and the breakdown moments are a testament to the phrase by subverting my expectations for a finisher and hammering down an incredible instrumental breakdown that had me changing my tune as much as they have changed their own.
‘Animals’ serves as the next track, but also serves as the first-released single for the album. This was a smart move on the band’s part, as the song highlights the artists’ abilities to combine an incredibly catchy hook with radio-friendly cleans, a unique and powerful breakdown and a strange-but-welcome foghorn that sets the song apart from any of the others.
‘Libertine’ is a solid song with little negatives that leaves equally little to talk about. There are some turntable backings that harken back to thoughts of Linkin Park, but otherwise there isn’t much to say other than I enjoyed the song and can’t imagine skipping it on repeat listens.
Simon Neil lends vocals to ‘Goliath’, a fast-paced banger that kept me on my toes from start to finish, changing the pace often enough to leave you wondering what the next portion will bring–and the next portion brings a lot with the ‘Biffy Clyro’ singer adding screams that, from my research, seem to be a massive departure from his current sound and, if I may–it’s extremely good. I have high hopes for more from you, Mr. Neil.
‘Demi God’ opens with a small peek behind the curtain in the form of some background chatter leading into the recording that hits every checkmark to earn the categorization of an ‘epic’ track. The song has what sounds to be the backing of an entire orchestra before a neck-snapping drop into solemn lyrics accompanied by a piano that crescendos back into the chorus to seal off the tracks ending.
Next up is the latest released single ‘Meteor’. Separating the song from the rest of the tracks, it brings a sound that inspires thoughts of Warped Tour circa 2008, keeping an upbeat, almost positive presentation of instrumentals and lyrics that directly combat the dark subject matter regarding the apocalypse and firestorms–pulling us back to a more familiar feel toward the finisher that ends in a moment reminding us that it was, in fact, an Architects song.
In classic Architects fashion, the band leaves us with a somber bookend to the collection of songs with ‘Dying Is Absolutely Safe’. It is a song that, even in its title, seems to attempt to console the listener after introducing endless dark, upsetting subject matter throughout the album–and it works. It’s quiet, it’s haunting, and it left me completely satisfied at the end of an incredible journey of an album.
Reader, I want to address this at the end in reaction to reviews I’m already beginning to see. I am seeing comments referencing Bring Me the Horizon and their style, their releases and their tone. As a huge fan of both artists, I want to weigh in by stating that I do not believe this album bears any resemblance to the other UK natives. I believe any connections being made are happening because there is a similar trend in the band’s direction–niche to wide-reaching. BMTH managed to pull themselves away from Deathcore and cast a net that made them a household name, acquiring fans of all types. I firmly believe that Architects are on a path leading them to the same status. They are introducing new sounds, bringing in unique and unexpected talent, and executing the transition expertly. Any fan that can’t accept the change simply can’t accept a positive and inspiring growth of the members–I for one cannot wait for what comes next.
|1.||“Do You Dream of Armageddon?”||1:38|
|4.||“Discourse Is Dead”||3:46|
|6.||“An Ordinary Extinction”||4:07|
|7.||“Impermanence” (featuring Winston McCall of Parkway Drive)||4:02|
|8.||“Flight Without Feathers”||3:48|
|9.||“Little Wonder” (featuring Mike Kerr of Royal Blood)||3:47|
|12.||“Goliath” (featuring Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro)||4:17|
|15.||“Dying Is Absolutely Safe”||4:59|