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 that fans have with the British quintet is long. Could we add disappointment with this record? Answer below.
Death is not a defeat
The tone is set from the very first notes of the album with the softness of the violins and the voice coming from the depths of Sam Carter’s guts: “And I Will Know That Death Is Not Defeat”. This first track gives us two essential indications for the continuation: on the one hand, the band unsurprisingly uses music to express their grief and mourning via lyrics that speak volumes about what they’ve been through these past 2 years; on the other hand, contrary to some of the criticisms heard after the first singles were released online, the band didn’t just use compositions written by Tom to make a pale copy of “All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us” but rather to continue his work while bringing new things without upsetting what Architects has become since 2014.
The first of these three singles, HereAfter, comes second on this eighth record and is a perfect ambassador and link between “AOGHAU” and “Holy Hell”: 2/3 of the song is indeed very similar to what the band was already doing but the 1/3 of novelties – sometimes very subtle – is enough to understand that they continue to see further. And what’s the point of completely changing a recipe that works and has already proven itself?
However, as we go on with this new opus, we realise that it is not as predictable and that the extracts released before the release are not the most representative. Perhaps the aim was to highlight the work we knew of Tom before really moving on to Architects 2.0 under Josh Middleton’s leadership? Only those interested will know the answer to this question.
Between sweetness and pain
The eponymous track is full of melancholy which is felt as much in the melody as in the lyrics shouted by Sam Carter. It’s also one of the most innovative tracks: what about this final apotheosis mixing double pedal, cries of despair and this sparkling violin? We’ll let you do the talking.
The presence of Dan Searle’s double pedal in compressor-roller mode, the only founding member still present, will find a more imposing echo on The Seventh Circle, the most surprising track of the album and the one that makes the internet users react the most after only a few listens. And for good reason: as short as it is devastating with its 109 seconds, we discover the darkest part of the band through the most devastating track of this album. Nostalgic fans of the first opus, especially of “Hollow Crown”, will certainly find themselves here.
Far from the more ambient tracks to which Architects have now become accustomed, we are treated here to a no-frills, no-holds-barred, no-rest track. All that’s missing is a bit of blast-beat. Is this just a one-shot or a hint of what the band could offer us next? Or at least, on what the band still knows how to do to reassure the fans of the first hour? Or simply a way of taking one last look at everything the band has done with Tom? Questions and sub-questions that may be answered as the band discovers itself.
Clues to the future
An album like this could only end in a climax. And in order to close the loop, the last track is launched again by violins that are omnipresent on this “Holy Hell”: very present but never too present. If the long crescendo reminds us of the structure of Gone With The Wind, A Wasted Hymn shines like a light on this record because of its unique musical and lyrical side. A guitar a little less present, samples sometimes replacing the instruments, again those violins, a less jerky structure. All clues for the sequel.
Because there will be a sequel as long as the 5 guys have the courage. The last words are quite clear on this subject: “Now it’s time to sink or swim. I’ve got nothing but this lost hymn. Holy Spirit, nothing lasts forever. You either pull your head out of the water, or you let the sadness overwhelm you somehow. And music is definitely the way they have chosen to survive and, in the process, allow Tom Searle’s work to survive through them. Through us.
Architects could have stopped their career in 2016 but they decided to continue and we can only thank them but also congratulate them for releasing a new album of such high level! Respect. Admiration. Passion. The list of names surrounding the relationship fans have with the British quintet is long. Could we add disappointment with this record? Certainly not. Because to speak of love, there is only one step.