Review Summary: Great album by a promising band that is a MUST for all metalcore/hardcore buffs
Architects are an English hardcore/metalcore band from Brighton, England, formed in 2000. The band went through several name changes before they decided upon Architects. Their first name was Inharmonic, which was swiftly changed to Counting the Days. After a couple of years this was in turn changed to Architects. "Ruin" is the sophomore album released by the band and the first to feature new vocalist, Sam Carter. His vocal style differed greatly from that of their previous vocalist, Matt Johnson. While Matt used dry screams pushed from the throat and the occasional clean vocal here and there, Sam exhibited a hardcore yell and occasional singing passages.
The album begins with the sound of rain for a few seconds, before the listener is met with a relentless scream. "Buried at Sea" is a perfect start to the album as it pummels the listener with crushing riffs and double bass pedal, which can be expected throughout the whole album. "Hunt Them Down" starts right after the first songs conclusion and is again, placed in the perfect spot. The song is frequently requested at live shows but isn't played often anymore, since the release of "Hollow Crown." The gang vocals fit nicely as well as the bass drops. At this point the album may be sounding like another generic metalcore album filled with bass drops, gang vocals and breakdowns. The breakdowns however are much less obvious than with other bands and are actually used properly. Breakdowns that are ever so common in most music today go as follows:
1. Build up with some chugging
2. Yell something "bad ass"
3. Senseless Open Chord chugging and double bass pedal
4. And of course no, or very little vocals
-For more on generic breakdowns, see Emmure.
It seems that Architects have found the appropriate amount to use breakdowns, and the right way to do it so they sound somewhat original. I couldn't help myself from giving a brief section on breakdowns.
"You'll Find Safety" is the first major showcase of the bands melodic song writing abilities. The beautifully sung, clean chorus nearing the end of the song is instantly catchy to any fans of any genre. It kind of makes you wonder why Sam Carter doesn’t sing more often on the album. The lyrics are actually hopeful as well, which is a rare find in metal. “Always” is a fan favourite for the band and along with “You’ll Find Safety,” is one of their better songs. For some reason, for me, the bass stands out the most in this song. The instrumental work nearing the end of the song is a perfect fit to the chaos present in the beginning and creates an ambient, atmospheric effect which impacts not just the song, but the whole album itself. Afterwards, the listener hears a perfectly placed interlude, which is a necessary break to recuperate from the songs before it. It is also a well fitting end to the first half of the album.
“Heartless” kicks off the albums second half with a crushing double bass pedal beat that’s fast, but not so fast that it overwhelms the listener with the all too typical, wall of sound present in most modern day metal songs. This is so far the most noticeable example that Sam’s lyrics are somewhat closed minded and unoriginal. The majority of the albums lyrics seem to focus on a past relationship gone wrong, but in a more metaphoric sense as exhibited in the line “you pushed me overboard.” The vocal style however makes up for the lacking lyrics, forcing the listener to bob their head and tap their feet. “North Lane” begins with a riff very much like that of their song “Early Grave” or seeing as this album came first, it’s the other way around. The song is very technical and features the lyrical highlights of the album, shown when Sam screams “I don’t feel homesick, I’m just so sick of home.” A great line in my opinion. The song also features another rare clean vocal break where Sam again shows us that his singing voice is superb. The highlight in this song if not the vocals, is definitely the drum work. The beats are very technical but not so technical that the listener can’t follow. “I Can’t See the Light” is probably the worst song on the album. It features a cleanly sung chorus which is actually very catchy but I just can’t get past the terrible lyrical content in the song. “And you just walk out of my life, and you expect me to let you back in with open arms.” That line pretty much sums up the whole song.
-Fun fact, pop singer Lights also covered this song, which might just be a sign that the song was a little too feminine.
“Low” then begins and is one of the best tracks the band has ever recorded. All instrumentals are well up to par and the vocal style changes from a scream to a frantic yell at the end. “Can you hear me screaming” is yelled so loud and passionately that it sends chills up the listener’s spine. The song is a slower one but that doesn’t take away from the brilliance of it. “Running From the Sun” includes the most obvious breakdown on the album which will cause many to skip the track before they hear it but the breakdown itself is well placed and necessary for the song to all fit together. Again, the drumming is spot on, not too fancy but not so simple that we forget its there.
“Save Me” concludes the album and is a perfect way to end it. Partway through takes what could be seen as a deathcore approach and the bass drops just add to that description. The end of the song features great melodic guitar work before fading out to conclude the bands sophomore effort.
Sam Carter proves to be a great addition to the band and seems that of the missing piece that the band needed. All instruments are very well done as well as the vocal work. The only downside I found in the album would have to be the lyrics. Just the fact that it seems that every song is about the same thing. "Architects" seem to get better on every album they release and if the trend continues, expect to get your mind blown by the band in years to come.