Best of 2016 Playlist

May 29, 2016

Architects - "All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us" Review

It's hard to believe Architects are already on album #7. Seems like only yesterday we were excited for "Hollow Crown". And this new album delivers big on the band's reputation. If you're looking for a 45 minute onslaught of metalcore perfection, then here it is. "All Out Gods Have Abandoned Us" are Architects in top form. 

Fair warning, review is pretty long. To buy the album on iTunes please click the following (link). 

Writing for Exclaim!, in his review Griffin J. Elliot said, "The record is so goddamn heavy and fast it sounds like what one could only assume smoking crack cocaine with Northlane sounds like." Well we agree. It took a few years, but Architects are at peak form. They've found their niche in atmospheric metalcore. Following up "Lost Forever//Lost Together" there couldn't be a more natural progress from one album to another. "All Our Gods..." does a brilliant job of building on the sound Architects crafted on their 6th album. 

The album's overall sound is due in part to their technical prowess. Whether it be the bombardment of bass and drums, or the frenetic melodies from Tom Searle's guitar, Architects always manage to infuse a little sludge metal into their songs. Adam Christianson has more than proved he's the perfect fit for the gap in Architects' lineup. Like a subtle nod to their earlier music, they once in a while revert to their blast beats and guttural sound. The perfect accompaniment to Sam Carter's gritty voice, and his signature "Bleh!". 

The album's over all sound is significantly more atmospheric than "Lost Forever...". It's an underlying detail and effect that bonds each track with a singular theme. There's not much variation in the effects, (the same airy choir sounds), but it's little things like that which help ground the album's sound. And this record couldn't have a more cohesive sound. And, in addition to being complex and diffusive, is about as heavy as you could want a metalcore album to be amidst the all too frequent genre shifts from bands. 

Track by Track -
1) Nihilist - 7.5 to 8
The album opens with "Nihilist", only 2:51 seconds long. But in that time, Architects go through most of their bag of tricks. Opening with a driving opening (albeit chugged) guitar riff backed by some urgent drumming as Sam Carter screams the title line, "Well we're all dying to meet our maker. But all our gods have abandoned us". Throughout the first two minutes of the song, you can clearly hear the hardcore punk influences in "Nihilist". When the bridge comes around the song dips back into ambient metal. The song sums up the band in less than 3 minutes. 

2) Deathwish - 8.5 to 9
It gives way for the album's 2nd track, "Deathwish". The smooth transition into "Deathwish" is perfect. The track keeps the hype and energy as it works its way into the first verse and chorus. "Deathwish"s intro and bridge highlight the effects, and show the band are capable of more than just metal hooks. If Bring Me the Horizon drew out the intro to "Sleepwalking" or "Seen It All Before" during the duration of the song, this would be what it sounded like. Combined with a chorus that echoes the anthemic quality of "Gravedigger". 

3) Phantom Fear - 8
Searle's and Christianson's guitar work is the highlight of the song. The groove to the main riff is massive. As Carter screams, "No love, no empathy" the guitars and bass pound out a palm muted riff that is just begging for chaos. Gang vocals would have just been icing on the cake, but we suppose that during live shows the entire crowd will be chanting along with Carter. The ferocity on this song alone has yet to be matched by another band. 

4) Downfall - 8.5 to 9
The record's 3rd single and overall 4th track, "Downfall" is the perfect companion to "A Match Made In Heaven". Both open with Carter's urgent vocals, and then transition into a wonderfully eclectic intro. The verse is rhythmic and an instant headbanger, but the chorus is what really gets you. Larger than life, and a tad anthemic, it just gives "Downfall" that little something extra. The lyrics confront corruption and greed, and get your blood pumping. "But there are non so blind as those who will not see. What's it going to take to get us to stand up? Cause you can see it in their eyes, they don't give a fuck. About what matters to us.

5) Gone With the Wind - 8 to 8.5 (Click link to read full review)

6) The Empty Hourglass - 8.5
The first time we've heard "Whoas" from the band, it's a nice surprise. But don't worry, the band haven't abandoned their metal. The song's first minute may be a bit toned down, however the chorus ramps the volume back up to a 10. A frantic electronic opening backed by Carter's vocals allows listeners a chance to breath before being taken for the next ride. The song is notably slower and more melodic than previous tracks. In the verses, Carter's harsh screams are accompanied by Dan Searle's extremely quick drum beats and those ever familiar airy effects. When the chorus comes to around, Carter's vocals elevate to a new level. In terms of his vocals, this is the album highlight. 

7) A Match Made in Heaven - 8.5 to 9 (Click link to read full review) 

8) Gravity - 7.5 
The melodic chorus of "Gravity" shows the band drifting into a more melodic hardcore style. While the song isn't as "grand" as others on the record, Architects should be very proud of the work they've done on this track. Particularly on the lyrics. It's arguably the most accessible song. Sure it won't be crossing over into mainstream radio anytime soon, but if you're looking for an "easier" listen to transition into the band's music, this is our recommendation. Otherwise, this is the closest thing to a "filler" track you'll find on the album. 

9) All Love is Lost - 8 
The most adventurous song on the album, it shows the band stepping a little out of their comfort zone. "All Love is Lost" deviates enough to allow for some experimentation, but stays close enough to the source material fans won't feel alienated. It finds a careful balance between the band's signature brutality, and their new found prowess with effects and synths. The almost grunge feel to the beginning guitar riff is simple but effective. The bass guitar work of Alex is given a chance to shine during the bridge and verses. While guitar and synths carry the atmospheric quality. Searle's drumming is toned down a bit for this track. But remains ever present and powerful. 

10) From the Wilderness - 7.5 to 8
The quieter opening allows for a breath of fresh air before the first verse starts. At this point, however, you might find yourself tired of the same old-same old. The band's deep guitar riffs, quick drumming and ambient effects are strong as ever. But after "All Love is Lost", we can't help but wish the band had continued their experimentation. The spoken word part of the song is a bit unneccessary, but it leads into an honest and emotion bridge from Carter. And on this track, Carter's voice is just overflowing with urgency and anguish. And those vocal points are what keep the song from becoming a "filler" track. 

11) Memento Mori - 8 to 8.5
Album closer, "Memento Mori" is about 8 minutes long. If you're lucky enough to have a good attention span, you'll be treated to a culmination of all the band's hard work. Contemporary metal meets dynamics and electronics. Carter's clean vocals are always a treat to hear. The extremely electronic "Memento Mori" polarizes itself with the harsh jumps from electronics to metal. There's another "spoken word" verse. Maybe it's just us, but we're not that big a fan of the "spoken word" parts. Had the band limited them to a brief intro or interlude, then maybe they wouldn't be so bad. But they stick out like a sore thumb amidst Architect's most expansive song. 

Architects have entered a league of their own, and undoubtedly taken Bring Me the Horizon's crown as the best of British born metal outfit. On their new album, "All Our Gods...", the band doesn't drift further into mainstream music like their peers. They offer up their heaviest (albeit predictable) release yet. They layer everything into a perfect metalcore sandwich.  Recommended for fans of the aforementioned BMTH, circa 2012 The Word Alive, and fellow British metalheads While She Sleeps and Bury Tomorrow. 

Recommended Tracks
"A Match Made in Heaven" takes the cake. Close  runners up include: "Deathwish", "Downfall", "Phantom Fear", and (for those willing to listen to the entire track) "Memento Mori"

Total Average Rating - 8.2/10