"One of the world’s most exciting, vital bands."
Back in 2014, ‘Lost Forever // Lost Together’ turned Architects world upside-down. After struggling against the odds for a decade, hitting creative peaks (the revolutionary ‘Hollow Crown’) and plumbing the depths (calamitous follow-up, ‘The Here And Now’), Brighton’s finest finally won the recognition they deserved.
From festival main stages to world tours, the last two years have been among the best of their lives – though you wouldn’t know it from ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’.
This time, the five-piece are staring straight into the abyss. Confronting the greed, ignorance and self-destructive violence of 21st century life, they’ve returned with 11 songs of astonishing intensity. From the opening seconds of ‘Nihilist’ it’s clear that they’ve learned from past missteps, lunging straight for the throat and keeping blistering, technical riffs at the forefront. This is a refinement, not a reinvention, and it hits like a tonne of bricks. Everything that made their last album a triumph is present and correct, but appears in darker shades this time.
Sam Carter has rarely sounded as desperate as he does here, shredding his larynx as he rages that “The writing is on the wall / It’s hard to accept that it was all for nothing.” He succinctly conveys the frustration and anger that all five of these men feel, whether that’s meeting God and finding that he’s as disenchanted as the rest of us (‘Nihilist’) or railing against the corruption of the British political system (‘Downfall’).
His voice cracks with emotion on ‘All Love Is Lost’; likely the bleakest song that Architects have committed to record, and a real curveball to boot. A haunting death march, the sludgy tempos and ambient touches are reminiscent of post-metal titans Cult Of Luna. It’s a testament to how far Sam’s come – how far the whole band have come – that they pull it off.
Led by guitarist and key songwriter Tom Searle (joined, for the first time, by new six-stringer Adam Christianson) they expand on the ambient and melodic elements of ‘Lost Forever // Lost Together’. ‘Gone With The Wind’ pairs confessional lyrics and those signature fretboard-melting guitars with a backdrop of melancholy synths, while eight-minute behemoth ‘Momento Mori’ employs glitchy electronics and samples of philosopher Alan Watts.
At one point they even combine blastbeats with classical orchestration, which sounds terrible on paper but not on record. It’s thrilling to hear them exploring unknown territory, while still nailing the more familiar, circle-pitting carnage we’ve come to expect.
So, ‘All Our Gods…’ is a wake-up call in more ways than one. Though shrouded in apocalyptic imagery, this is no advert for defeatism: songs like ‘Phantom Fear’ underlining that, even in the darkest of times, we can rage against the dying of the light. And within an increasingly staid, predictable metalcore scene, Architects’ sheer adventurousness could hardly be more inspiring.
This cements their position as one of the world’s most exciting, vital bands, and it’s unlikely you’ll hear many (if any) more impactful records in 2016.
This review originally appeared in issue 214 of Rock Sound magazine, which is available worldwide now.