Architects have had a pretty rough couple of years, coping with sad loss of chief song writer Tom Searle who was taken by cancer at the age of 28, but here they manage to come back with a very strong statement for their continuation in the wake of tragedy.
Tackling the elephant in the room straight away, the album opens mournfully with ‘Death is Not Defeat’ that builds in its intensity into heavy metalcore. This continues with ‘Hereafter’ and ‘Mortal After All’ as Architects continue to explore the stages of grief. The openers seem to push the anger and disbelief stages with ‘Mortal After All’ being the beginning of the acceptance phase that comes after the loss of a loved one.
The title track ratchets up the anger and intensity again as vocalist Sam Carter begins to sound unhinged and angry about the curve that life has thrown the band. But the lyrics also feel positive, and the music continues to get more uplifting as strings and electronic elements weave behind and through the band’s metalcore/djent/tech metal hybrid that they have gotten so adept at creating. It’s a credit to drummer Dan Searle (Tom’s twin) who has stepped into the vacuum created by his brother’s passing as the chief writer for the band.
This writing is best heard on what are more standard for Architects, ‘Royal Beggars’ and ‘Modern Misery’, where the music is a little less of the razzle dazzle strings and electronica and more meat and potatoes mixed with the djenty breakdowns the band has made their stock in trade.
As the album winds towards its ultimate end with the acceptance phase of their loss ‘A Wasted Hymn’ ends on a positive although emotionally heavy note, making it clear that they do not intend on going anywhere despite their loss. Driven by a string section that adds some weight, the band say their last goodbye to this chapter of their life and begin to write a new one.
This album, much like Parkway Drive’s Reverence, is a group sharing the pain of their loss both with each other and the world at large. Something that feels like a gutsy move, and the band need a pat on the back for putting themselves out there like this. Even if it doesn’t always feel as strong as other similar releases this year, Architects have put their five stages of grief on public display for better or worse, as much a statement of intent as being sentimental.
- Death is Not Defeat
- Mortal After All
- Holy Hell
- Royal Beggars
- Modern Misery
- Dying to Heal
- The Seventh Circle
- A Wasted Hymn