For Those That Wish To Exist, Architects’ 9th album, is finally out! After 4 months of teasing, 4 singles and 1 other track discovered during a live stream of the band in London, we can finally put our hands on this long awaited record! With these first singles (Animals, Dead Butterflies, etc), these announced guests (Winston from Parkway Drive, Mike from Royal Blood, etc) as well as the quality of the previous albums, it sounds great on paper. Confirmed when you listen to it? We tell you everything in this review!
A first important information to note about this record: it is the first one entirely composed without Tom Searle, who passed away in 2016. On the album “Holy Hell”, released 2 years after his death, several tracks and/or riffs had been composed during his lifetime. This partly explained the musical similarity with ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’, released in 2016. At the time we talked about the emergence of Architects 2.0 but we were wrong. It is only with this new opus that this new version of the band is us again.
Architects 2.0: Life without Tom Searle
This leaves drummer Dan Searle as the only remaining founding member of the quintet founded in 2004. From an official point of view, however, because Alex Dean (2006) and Sam Carter (2007) have been around almost forever and very few people remember the band without them in the line-up. Even so, they had to reinvent themselves in some ways because the brain of the band was Tom Searle. The vast majority of Architects’ identity, even beyond the musical writing, came from him. So it’s easy to imagine the heavy legacy that Josh Middleton has accepted to take on his shoulders. His contribution on “Holy Hell”? A success. His contribution on stage? Nothing to complain about. What about “For Those That Wish To Exist”? He’s not the only one responsible for it, but eyes and ears are obviously turned towards him because he represents, wrongly or not, this new chapter of the band. But the man behind Architects’ current music, including the lyrics, is Dan.
We started our review of “Holy Hell” with these words: When an internationally successful band releases a new album, there is always a lot of noise, excitement, sometimes fear and often hope. But the hype around Architects is out of all proportion to what is usually done in the metal scene. And even beyond! Respect. Admiration. Passion. The list of names surrounding the relationship fans have with the British quintet is long. Has it changed in 3 years? Not at all. The passion is still the same. The hype too. And there was a lot of hope, as well as fear, surrounding the release of this album which was teased to us in October. In the gloom of this unusual autumn, when we were spending evenings behind Netflix at home instead of traveling hundreds of kilometers for our usual marathon of concerts, Architects had brought us out of this gloom, at least for a moment, thanks to this glimmer of hope. Yes, there was still good news in the music world in 2020. Yes, there was hope as 2021 approached. And who better than Architects to give us that little twinge of hope?
One third of the album known before its release
Since the release of the first single Animals and the announcement of the new album on October 20th, 2020, we have been treated to 3 other singles as well as the discovery of a fifth track live during the band’s streaming concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. A five star performance of 1h20 where we heard Discourse Is Dead and Dead Butterflies (since released as a single) for the first time as well as Animals for its live premiere. And if there’s one track that eclipsed all the others, it’s Dead Butterflies. A real gem that even prevented us from noticing that the cult classic These Colours Don’t Run (“Daybreaker”, 2012) was not on the set list.
With Black Lungs and Meteor released only a week before the album, we already knew a third of the record. This was surprising on several levels: firstly, the number of singles is impressive and uncommon; secondly, none of the singles presented contain the tracks with the band’s selected luxury guests (Winston from Parkway Drive, Mike from Royal Blood and Simon from Biffy Clyro); thirdly, are these 5 singles the best tracks on the album and/or the most representative of the British band’s musical evolution?
Honestly, we were hoping that these singles weren’t the best tracks on the Architects album. If Animals, the first single, surprised everyone with its rhythmic, Rammstein-like vibe, Sam Carter’s vocals and the overall atmosphere, the reviews were mostly positive. The band changes, the band evolves but still keeps a very high level of performance. If Dead Butterflies was even more surprising but so bewitching. If Black Lungs was a subtle mix between the heavy riffs of Animals and the melodies discovered in Dead Butterflies. The other two songs, Discourse Is Dead and Meteor, dampened the hype. It clearly lacked punch!
A more refined and often slower rhythmic, much less breakdowns, much more clear voice, more backings vocals: without being radical either, the turn taken by Architects is more than striking. A more rock and less metal vision which is reminiscent of another mastodon of the British scene with whom the connection was quickly made: Bring Me The Horizon.
Listening to the three tracks with a guest, one almost wonders if one is listening to an Architects track with a guest or if it isn’t rather Sam Carter from Architects who is guesting on a track of the bands in question. With one chorus, Little Wonder could have been a problem on a Royal Blood album. Given the evolution of Parkway Drive, who also see further than the metalcore of their origins, Impermanence could also have been on an album of the Australians. On paper, it sounded like a dream. But the soufflé fell back on the first listen. These tracks with two of the biggest names in UK rock today and an Australian behemoth will, potentially, be useful in boosting their fanbase but will not raise the esteem for their musical talent.
Apart from the 5 tracks presented above and these 3 rather mixed guest tracks, what is left? Well, 7 tracks: 6 songs and the intro of the album, Do You Dream Of A Armageddon? Because of the current situation related to Covid-19, one would be tempted to answer naturally yes. A soft, atmospheric and rather pleasant intro that asks us a big question: will we get the song sung live (in 2022, maybe) or will we get a sample? We’re thinking of the second possibility but we’re crossing our fingers for the first.
A stepping stone to fame
Libertine and Demi God are rather pleasant but carry like a ball and chain a cruel impression of déjà-vu. These two tracks don’t really bring anything new compared to what we’ve heard so far on this album. The big surprise comes from An Ordinary Extinction with its more electro passages and an atmosphere that some have compared to Enter Shikari. Architects break the codes and this is only the beginning. With Flights Without Feathers, the band goes even further by not offering any acoustic instruments. Only Sam Carter’s voice accompanied by samples and some rhythms probably played on the pad is there to transport us to Architects 2.0. A track that’s a bit long but that we’d be very curious to discover in its live version anyway.
There’s no doubt that Architects continues to evolve. And that’s not surprising. Like us, they are above all music fans who don’t always listen to the same thing. To blame them for changing and not releasing a metalcore album every 2-3 years would be hypocritical. The metalcore fans of the 2010s have evolved, the musicians have grown as well. And, more than other musical styles, metal is more hybrid than ever. Like BMTH, Architects want to break the codes, break the narrow boundaries of metal and not put barriers around their music. And what better way to close this record than with the splendid ballad Dying Is Absolutely Safe, sending yet another strong message to the rock world. Dying is absolutely safe? Emancipating oneself and assuming one’s strong choices in broad daylight is just as safe!
Many criticized their lack of innovation in the previous album? They responded in the best possible way by making a serious musical shift. Many wondered if they had not reached the peak of their popularity? They answered in the best possible way by looking beyond the metalcore scene. Definitely, Architects have taken their destiny into their own hands, not resting on their already successful career and projecting themselves further and further ahead. This album “For Those That Wish To Exist” contains a few wonders (Animals, Dead Butterflies) but is also a full-scale test of Architects’ new musical approach. And this trial will surely result in an imperial tenth album.