Release Date: Feb 26, 2021
Record label: Epitaph
Three years after their last album, 'Holy Hell', the Brighton metalcore band have risen from the pain of having laid bare the emotions of losing brother, band member and friend Tom Searle, to discuss the destruction of our planet in the best way they know how. The 15-track creation is a whirlwind of passion mixed in with features from the likes of Mike Kerr, Winston McCall and Simon Neil. Whether it's a track such as 'Little Wonder' that infuses fast paced rhythms of hard-hitting drums and fearless lyricism or if it's 'Meteor' that flows perfectly into the main topic of the album - the future of the planet, it's definitely a rollercoaster of emotions.
Whatever form this ninth record ended up taking, it was always going to find Architects at a cliff-edge. 2018's 'Holy Hell' was a scorched-earth treatise on grief that closed a trilogy of LPs defined by the 2016 loss of founder and guitarist Tom Searle to cancer. The Brighton outfit had resolved to continue in his memory: the question that remained was quite how.
"This album was me looking at our inability to change to a way of life that would sustain the human race and save the planet," explains drummer and songwriter Dan Searle. It's a record which doesn't simply ask people to stop pointing fingers but demands that they look themselves in the eye and examine their own behaviour. "Do You Dream of Armageddon" opens the record with dramatic, building instrumentals befitting a film soundtrack - but instead of setting up the image of a fictional dystopia, it emphasises the dystopian nature of our current reality.
In a world where vocalist Sam Carter wishes he never yelled "BLEGH" before a djent breakdown, British stalwarts Architects have reached a dire strait. They defined a generation of techy metalcore with Linkin Park choruses, but the market they created is now oversaturated. The de facto leaders of post-metalcore can either branch out or tread water as their mountain becomes a plateau.
Where's the goddamn 'BLEGH', man? Serious question time. Is the pursuit for commercial viability a poison to modern heavy metal bands? Is there a middle ground that can appease long-time fans and new ones alike, and can it be done in a way where it doesn't sound dumbed or watered down? I've wrestled with these questions for a few years now, so know that I'm not being facetious when I ask them, nor do I present the questions with an elitist comportment. I'm certainly not one to judge either, after all I grew up on some of the most vapid, easy-listening metal bands around, and I'm not ashamed to admit I loved every damn second of it.