Architects made their way to my Spotify Wrapped Top 5 in 2017 and have stayed firmly there since.
I can say with all my heart that though I may have been late to the party, my love and amazement at all the band’s discography is unmatched. The British metalcore band Architects have shaped the modern face of metal with their last 3 records, the sound of songs such as ‘Doomsday’ finding itself replicated by most new metalcore bands in the years that followed. So when I heard that they had recorded an entire album over lockdown, the 9th in their discography, I could not contain my excitement.
For Those That Wish To Exist comes directly after a previous album marred with grief. Holy Hell (2018) was the first release since the sudden death of guitarist and primary lyricist Tom Searle. The record opened the Architects sound from their innovative and explosive brand of metalcore to a more symphonic and quite frankly triumphant twist on the genre. With an impeccable 3 album streak – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us and Lost Forever // Lost Together finding their way to both fan and critical success, it goes without saying that many remained optimistic for what innovative style they would continue to bring to the scene.
The subject of a world destroyed and devastated by corrupt politicians, the album does not shy away from its relentless theme of a climate ravaged Earth. Instead of opening their album with blistering tracks like ‘Nihilist’ and ‘Death is not Defeat’ as they had previously done, ‘Do You Dream of Armageddon’ sees Architects dabble in the art that is a good album intro. Written in a similar key to the second track and third single ‘Black Lungs’, the opener acts as a powerful musical introduction – an overture even – to what the album would entail.
‘Black Lungs’ gives all their fans the taste of old Architects that they might have been looking for, resting as the heaviest single released before the album. Nevertheless, the track does see the band lean hard into their metalcore sound with the almost formulaic heavy verse vs. sung chorus that had previously divided fans. ‘Giving Blood’ carries this sound along, with lead singer Sam Carter showing off his vocal techniques and singing voice instead of relying on the vocal fry that had become the Architects’ signature sound over the years. While track two and three may not have been the heaviest in their discography, the themes written within them are some of the darkest, and more pessimistic of the last few years.
‘Discourse is Dead’ has garnered quite a lot of hype over the last few months, with band members dropping hints about this being one of their favourite tracks off the album. Furthermore, this was one of the songs performed at the Architects Royal Albert Hall live stream in which fans had expressed their excitement over hearing it streamed into their bedrooms early. And it delivered. Not only showcasing Sam Carter’s ruthless vocals on the verses but also showcasing the old trustworthy breakdown which can only be deemed as overwhelmingly exciting to see played in a live setting.
Next, the album plays the third single release, giving fans two of the three singles within the first four tracks. ‘Dead Butterflies’ being the song, sees the band take their symphonic sound explored in Holy Hell a whole lot further with Sam’s vocals being accompanied by an entire brass section. The catchy chorus and heart wrenching lyrics don’t hold back either, the repetition of ‘lost myself’ ripping the audience from their objective pessimism of the world around them set up by the previous three tracks to a powerful sense of self-introspection.
‘An Ordinary Extinction’ is one of my favorites on the album, utilizing the jumpy sound and ride-snare relationship to cause an inescapable need to headbang and move your body along with the rhythm of the track. Without forgoing the heavy sound the Architects brings along with them, the song’s bright colours and motivational sound comes as a contrast to their wider discography. Having delivered on this blasting track which will surely have fans divided on its accessibility, the band bleeds straight into ‘Impermanence’ which starts out fast and heavy, and ends as such. The guitar tones a particular highlight of the track, the breakdowns – distinctly Architects in sound – are sure to have crowds ripping from their seats to crowd kill the nearest thing sat next to them. This is not made any less impressive by Winston McCall of Parkway Drive delivering his signature guttural vocals on the latter part of the track.
Halfway through the album is where we truly get to hear some of the most melodic of the band’s music since The Hear and Now. With a fully sung Sam Carter vocal, symphonic instrumentals with little of the rest of the band, and a thematically eerie tone, ‘Flight Without Feathers’ acts as a well-written interlude to the rest of the album to come.
The second of the guest features comes with the next track ‘Little Wonders’, in which Mike Kerr from Royal Blood shows his heavier vocal tendencies. The song also serves its purpose of kicking back up the tempo for the second half of the album, while still rooting itself a little more in the ‘hard rock’ camp than their signature metalcore sound.
‘Animals’, the 10th track on the album and first single released, offers listeners the metal anthem that begs to be screamed at the top of your lungs. The song’s slower tempo and easy dancing rhythm do make it rather more accessible than perhaps die-hard Architects fans would have wanted, but without question, the musicianship and songwriting on this arena blasting song are second to none. Track 11 and 12, ‘Libertine’ and ‘Goliath’, act as a quick one-two of searing guitars and Sam Carter’s signature screamed vocals. Both can be seen as effective bridges from the more easy-listening tracks such as ‘Animals’ and ‘Flight Without Feathers’ which work to garner more fans to the rest of the band’s discography. Which can only be said to be a brilliant way of bringing more audiences into the genre. ‘Goliath’, track 12, also sees Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro going insane to the tune of some powerful instrumentals, a sight for all to see and enjoy. The industrial metal influences are also perfectly weaved in and are stunningly abrasive.
My favourite thing about the response is how everyone seems to have a different fave track 🙂 I love that so much and I think that shows how creative the record really is 🙂 F.T.T.W.T.E 🧑🚀 https://t.co/l79HFLaCzQ— Sam Carter (@samarchitects) February 27, 2021
‘Demi God’ solidifies the new Architect’s sound of melodic verse and chorus interspersed with some screamed intervals. By this time in the album, it’s clear that Architects haven’t just done a bit of experimentation and hoped to make a poppy album. Every song has a very comprehensive structure and sound which unifies the tracklist thematically and musically. This band has once again changed the sound of metalcore and delivered a masterpiece in the process. ‘Meteor’, the penultimate track of the album and last single to have been released shows musicians and audiences alike what to watch out for in the coming years in the scene. Lots of bands will be riding this wave of popularity that Architects have carved out for the genre, and this album will be remembered as a major player in that change.
The last track being an acoustic one is the perfect conclusion of the point of the album. A more melodic and yet still completely dark turn for the metal giants will see fans divided as they were when the band released The Hear and Now in 2012. Nevertheless, the boys in Architects have not strayed from the quality of their music, and For Those That Wish to Exist is a phenomenal example of the bravery they exhibit. Overall, this album had me pumped from start to finish and asked some well-needed questions about both the state of the scene and metalcore as a whole. Absolutely brilliant.
For Those That Wish to Exist by Architects is out now on all streaming platforms. Enjoy the first single ‘Animals’ below.