Mouth of the Architect
Quietly


4.5
superb

Review

by EndlessClockwork USER (14 Reviews)
August 29th, 2008 | 169 replies | 18,518 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Excellent and haunting post-metal for the cynic.

11 of 11 thought this review was well written

The five members that comprise the sludgy and atmospheric post-metal band that is Mouth of the Architect are some pretty misanthropic people, cynics in the least. This is their most depressing release to date, and also their best. Guitarist and vocalist Gregory Lahm left the group, causing them to announce that they were to break up after their release of The Ties That Blind in 2006. But former member Alex Vernon was called upon and rejoined the band, resulting in “Quietly.”

Of course with me slapping the genre of post-metal onto the album will garner comparisons to Neurosis, Cult of Luna, and most of all ISIS. And in some ways, it is appropriate. However, at the same time, they somewhat transgress the standard formulas of the aforementioned bands, not to say they are generic or anything like that. Mouth of the Architect manifests much improvement not only amongst themselves but within the post-rock community for its slight abandonment of conventional song formulas, primarily the quiet and calm buildup into intensely epic and resounding climaxes. The band also has some doom elements accentuated by their down tempo and sludgy aspects; but nevertheless, the overall package is rather experimental.

The title track commences the album with a very subdued melody on the piano, easing into the first vocal attack by Vernon and Watkins to be heard. The spacey keys behind the heavy instrumentals create a perfect atmosphere to be repeated throughout. As the longest track on the album, it serves greatly as a (rather deceptively subdued) prelude for what is to come.

The next track, “Hate and Heartache” is one of the best on the album. The album starts off with the famous “Mad as Hell” speech delivered by Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch) in Sidney Lumet’s 1976 classic Network. I normally do not like audio samples incorporated into music, especially from movies, because it usually just never seems to be necessary or fitting. This, not only being the exception in that it sounds perfectly fitting, it even almost sounds as if the speech was made solely for the purpose of the construction of this song. As Finch continues in increasing frustration and anger, a single guitar starts with a somber and swooning tune that starts a very gradual crescendo, creating a leeway for Finch’s steadfast voice to coalesce with Vernon’s growls. The grave tempo stays constant, with Vernon’s furious growls reciting some of the most pessimistic lyrics of the album. The mood of desperation and hopelessness is perfectly constructed.

Beginning with an unsettling white noise ambience, another great track is the epic “Generation of Ghosts.” Two minutes of such and enter the guest vocals of Julie Christmas, the frontwoman for two other great bands, Made Out of Babies and Battle of Mice. Her hauntingly beautiful voice excellently compliments the atmospheric instrumentals. Vernon and Watkins pick up with their dualing screams, and some raspy singing reminiscent of Baroness and Mastodon (fitting for Brent Hinds had contributed guest vocals for a track on their second album, The Ties That Blind). The three continue their vocal onslaught as the rest of the band continues their resounding chugging. Tracks such as this create such a glorious and enthralling vigor layered only in the disconsolate and devastatingly brutal of emotions.

Also included are brief interludes, more tranquil and quiet tracks such as “Pine Boxes” and “Medicine.” They provide a nice break from the unremitting heaviness that ensues throughout. But these tracks still never fail to maintain the hauntingly ethereal and beautiful atmosphere that is the foundation of the album. Just here, you’re swimming in the very small eye of the hurricane.

The albums closes with “A Beautiful Corpse,” what I thought to be a sufficient closer. The track is consistently bombarding and unmerciful but I would have liked the album to end probably with “Generation of Ghosts.” This conclusion is nevertheless appropriate, with “sweeter than honey and lies” being repeatedly and brutally screamed for the final (near) two brutal minutes. It is devastating and a hellish fitting finale that is sure to leave you suffocatingly breathless.

“Quietly” is brilliantly executed, deeply magnetic and ultimately entrancing, layered with subtleties and complexities that are sure to be appreciated with multiple listens. This is definitely the best effort of Mouth of the Architect to date. You can easily feel and embrace the projecting discontent and anger the band members feel. An effect that will surely have you rising, like Beale, to your feet and vociferate in raging uproar: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”



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user ratings (216)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
SnackaryBinx
August 29th 2008



2309 Comments


The fact that you call it post-metal but say it's different than Isis or Neurosis makes me want to check this out. I'll have to give this a listen soon.

fireaboveicebelow
August 29th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this sounds really cool, good review

Kage
August 29th 2008



1173 Comments


thanks for reminding me to give this a listen

Abaddon2005
August 29th 2008



684 Comments


Good review. I think The Ties That Bind is better, though I haven't yet listened to this as much.

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
August 29th 2008



862 Comments


I found this one really boring to listen right through, ok in short bursts. Good review.

joshuatree
Emeritus
August 29th 2008



3743 Comments


this is a really good album, i was planning on reviewing this but yours more than does the trick. good job.

Kage
August 31st 2008



1173 Comments


definitely not a 4.5, but im enjoying this.

Crimson
August 31st 2008



1935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is really enjoyable stuff.

PatchworkNeurology
September 5th 2008



352 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow. This is fucking epic as hell.

I can see the Neurosis/ISIS stuff, but like you said it's in it's own playing field.

Great album from start to finish

Zebra
Moderator
October 1st 2008



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i wouldn't consider this a 4.5 but it's a great album. this is much more atmospheric then their earlier stuff.

rasputin
October 23rd 2008



14538 Comments


This is really good.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
October 23rd 2008



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haven't listened to this in a while but good stuff back when I heard it.

Mendigo
December 22nd 2008



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

eeeeepic.

willfellmarsy
January 5th 2009



3849 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Guilt and the Like is a really cool song...

Slimjim367
April 24th 2009



512 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hate and heartachew ftw

FistfulOfSteel
May 2nd 2009



894 Comments


where should i start with these guys?

Burn2Burn
July 1st 2009



2378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is really fucking good.

MilkLizard305
July 10th 2009



13 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah generation of ghosts is superb

YouAreMySilence
August 16th 2009



3727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

One of, if not my favorite post metal record.

ManRunsOverBus
September 8th 2009



45 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really liking this album.



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