By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
It can be hard for bands to continue on when they lose a key member that was integral to their success. Groups like Van Halen, Pantera, Motörhead, Children of Bodom, and Led Zeppelin eventually dissolved, but other bands like AC/DC, All That Remains, Hellyeah, and Slipknot did some recruiting and excelled even further. Another group known as the Architects from the UK went through a big tragedy recently. Their longtime lead guitarist and one of the main songwriters Tom Searle departed to Rock Heaven after an intense battle with cancer. Rather than quit, the progressive metalcore warriors honored him by continuing onward. In 2018, they proved they can still create masterpieces with Holy Hell. Three years later, they look to build on top of that with their ninth album, For Those Who Wish to Exist. The Architects are hungry to spread their progressive nature into 2021, and their fourth release under the Epitaph banner is the main course.
“Do You Dream of Armageddon” is a short, progressive interlude that helps shape the record and what is going to come next. The rage fest kicks into high gear with “Black Lungs.” Frontman Sam Carter engorges the verses with sweet melodic flow while punishing the breakdown with ferocity. The nu metal style riffs of rhythm player Adam Christianson and lead Josh Middleton are pulsating on this tune. Construction has begun as the Architects get off on the right foot. “Giving Blood” has this bombastic and smooth beat that drummer Dan Searle (brother of Tom) produces. I really love the eerie guitar sound Christianson plays while Carter harmonizes his voice beautifully. While progressive, this song has the essence of electronica that helps show new side of the band. “Discourse Is Dead” has the Architects return to their metalcore roots. Carter is vicious on this song, biting and clawing away at the words with such brutality. With the addition of strings and brass horns in the background, I can visualize the metalheads headbanging to this while in sync. In time, this will become a new classic from them. We now approach “Dead Butterflies.” I absolutely love the symphonic feel the Architects were going for. Middleton throws in a razor sharp solo that layers neatly over the crushing riffs of Christianson. Along with Dan’s eclectic drumming, bassist Ali Dean performs a thunderous lick.
“An Ordinary Extinction” has a very bizarre guitar riff that Christianson concocted that goes together perfectly with Middleton’s blasting solo performance. Carter continues to astound me with his dual melodic singing and fierce screams. Dan writes some brilliant lyrics that attacks apathy that is ruling our world today. “Impermanence” is a song I have been looking forward to hearing. Parkway Drive’s resident screamer Winston McCall joins Carter in a melodic scream fest. This song is as epic as any metalcore song put together. Mosh pits will be driven into a frenzy once it is performed live. We are halfway through as we come to “Flight Without Feathers.” Full of haunting melodies and somber singing, the Architects take a left turn with this tune. Carter changes up his singing approach, as it sounds more soothing and alluring. There are times where it sounds too much EDM (a genre I do not always enjoy), but it has a nice balance. “Little Wonder” has Royal Blood’s Mike Kerr joining in on the action. Geared towards being more radio friendly, Kerr and Carter make an impactful duo as they each engage the lyrics about standing together. “Animals” is the first single, and rightfully so. When dropped back in October, it was signal from the Architects of what to expect. Christianson and Middleton roar with tenacity when striking their guitar chords. The vivacious drumbeats mixed with the booming bass lines make it a smash-hit.
“Libertine” has a sonic, alternative riff that is out of this world. Carter is a rising force on the microphone, at first being gentle before throwing out the rulebook to let the monster roam freely. “Goliath” features another stellar team-up, this time with Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil. Progressive metalcore and alternative rock gel together smoothly. Neil can be just as malicious with his torturous screams as Carter can. The chemistry between these two massive vocalists is amazing. “Demi God” is well suited to be a new anthem for the Architects. The string section and programming makes me feel like I am transported to a dream world. A bit poppy here and there, but the melodies are sweet, and the riffs were enthralling. Not their finest work, but still enjoyable. “Meteor” sounds very much like a cry for uprising against ignorance and blind leadership. I feel it is a somewhat a metaphor on the COVID-19 pandemic and the leaders around the world who cannot seem to lead. Architects crank up our senses with passionate hooks and driven emotions as Carter delivers a stellar vocal performance. The album closes out with “Dying is Absolutely Safe.” Stripping down to acoustics, Carter restrains his adoring screams and shows off his mellower side. For most of the tune, the acoustic guitar and piano rule, but towards the end, Dan comes in on the snare along with the string section. This type of songwriting reminds of the Bee Gees when they created “How Deep is Your Love.” This slow down period is the perfect way to bow out.
I believe Tom is smiling down from Heaven as I am smiling right now. The Architects have created another near masterpiece that displays their ever-evolving songwriting skills. Dealing with depression, isolation, and fear of the unknown, fans will relate to these tunes one way or the other. For Those That Wish to Exist is one of this year’s top progressive metal records thus far. They honor Tom with their desire to continue the work he put forth with them. To the Architects, I salute you. Horns up!!!
Do You Dream Of Armageddon?
Discourse Is Dead
An Ordinary Extinction
Impermanence (feat. Winston McCall of Parkway Drive)
Flight Without Feathers
Little Wonder (feat. Mike Kerr of Royal Blood)
Goliath (feat. Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro)
Dying Is Absolutely Safe
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