New Musical Express (NME) - 100 Based on rating 5/5
The Brighton metalcore masters rise from tragedy to produce a modern classic of the genre Grief is a complex, solitary process. Impossible to predict or plan for, the often sudden, jarring nature of death is something we all have to contend with, but are rarely given the tools to do so until the moment it arrives. Grief in the public eye, then, is a contradiction - how are you meant to process something so personal, when a thousand-and-one eyes are on your every move? Brighton metalcore group Architects know this better than most.
In the two years since Architects released the thunderous 'All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us', founding guitarist Tom Searle passed after a lengthy battle with cancer. Although a driving force behind much of the music that came before his untimely death, 'Holy Hell' presents the British metalcore outfit's most overt response to their circumstances, taking the oft-conflicting characteristics of grief head-on. 'Holy Hell' embodies the torturous reality that life continues after a death, opting for powerful candour over emotional restraint.
The British metalcore stalwarts' eighth full-length effort, Holy Hell is the follow-up to 2016's brutal and wildly nihilistic All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us, and the first Architects release to not feature founding member and lead songwriter Tom Searle, who passed away in 2016 after a three-year struggle with cancer. Simultaneously defiant and utterly broken, the 11-track set is spilling over with invective and despondency, but there is a shaky through-line of hope that imbues every down-tuned bend and primal scream with the faintest of glows. Structurally, Holy Hell mirrors its predecessor, with atmospheric chamber-core synths and strings giving way to meaty riffs -- new guitarist Josh Middleton (Sylosis) makes an impressive debut -- and seismic breakdowns -- Dan Searle remains one of the genre's most dynamic drummers.
For Architects, the last two years have brought dizzying heights and crushing lows. Their 2016 album 'All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us' turned them into one of the biggest, if not the biggest, metal band in the UK. In the same period though, band founder, songwriter and guitarist Tom Searle died, aged just 28 after a battle with cancer. Since then, the band have talked openly about the bewildering nature of grief and their struggle to heal, and they've poured every drop of that anger, sorrow and confusion into 8th album 'Holy Hell'.
I n 2016, Brighton metalcore giants Architects were sent reeling when founder guitarist and songwriter, Tom Searle - brother of drummer Dan - died of skin cancer, aged just 28. Two years on, the surviving sibling describes the regrouped band's eighth album (the first since the tragedy) as being "about pain: the way we process, it, cope with it and live with it". However, rather than succumb to understandable despair, the album comes hurtling out of the traps, from defiant opener Death Is Not Defeat onwards, offering what the surviving Searle hopes will be "a light at the end of the tunnel for people who are going through terrible experiences".