Review Summary: Architects sophomore effort is an impressive release. The band retain all the qualities that made their debut so entertaining and incorporate new elements into their sound, such as clean vocals. Well worth checking out if you like technical metal.
Transitions from one record label to another produce on of two outcomes so it seems; a band benefits greatly and reaps the rewards of a bigger budget and more exposure. Or they self destruct, essentially sell out and release something sub-par and 'dug' predominantly by scene kids.
Fortunately, in the case of Brighton based technical hardcore/metal quintet Architects
, the latter doesn't apply. After their debut album Nightmares
was released the band kicked up a storm in the local UK metal scene and received largely critical acclaim. The band's tight live shows further solidified their success - precision riffing coupled with the ability to juxtapose brutality and epic melody was reason enough for avid metal and hardcore fans alike to rave about the band.
Their sophomore effort, Ruin
certainly delivers all the aforementioned qualities. In abundance I might add. New crooner Sam has a starkly different approach to vocals compared to the band's previous singer Matt. He possesses more of a hardcore shout as opposed to a typical metalcore scream. Throughout the whole album his yell will protrude from your speakers; for better or for worse. One of the downfalls of Ruin
is that after a while, the vocal style may begin to get annoying. Sam is a minimalist when it comes to variation; besides a few lower register vocal lines and the odd scream, it's all pretty much the same. However, tracks such as You'll Find Safety
boast a new side to the band, incorporating clean vocals. Whilst nothing particularly astounding, it sounds fresh and interesting (albeit there will be some who complain that they are whiny). But overall on the vocal front, whilst variation is not the best word to use, solid is a good adjective to use.
Talent is all often exempt in many of today's metal bands. But Architects
make up for countless bands who lack talent; their instrumental prowess is undeniable. Dan is a monster behind his drum kit, battering the skins and beating your ears to a pulp. Never overly-complex but always tasteful, he is the vertebrae of the band and a damn solid backbone at that. The guitars are the main focus of the band; Tim and Tom are a marvelous
guitar duo. Insane time signatures, tight riffing, melodic leads and flashy virtuoso sections are in plentiful supply. Ali is a fine bassist too; the high production values of the album (as well as a level headed producer no doubt) mean that his lines do in fact shine through occasionally. For the most part, he plays along with the guitar parts and provides a low end capable of making the album that much heavier. The decision to tune to drop B is also a godsend (bands who rely on drop C always seem to fall into the trap of being lame and samey in the riff department after a while). Album opener Buried At Sea
is a colossal track in that there are so many notes in the track your brain will have trouble coping. It is also a perfect example of how to blend heaviness and melody.
Standout tracks aside, the album can become a little tiresome after a few listens. At first, it is hard to digest all at once (well it was for me) but once you're accustomed to this style of technical hardcore (it's metal influenced, but at heart it's hardcore) it's a refreshing listen. Just so long as you don't listen incessantly.
Buried At Sea
Hunt Them Down
You'll Find Safety