Review Summary: Now on their fourth album, Architects prove that change isn't always a good thing.
Change can be good. In the case of metalcore, changes that bands are implementing in their sounds are both recommended and welcome; after all, who wants to be part of a ‘dead’ genre? But outside of the general mediocrity and blasé attitude that stems from being a part of said genre, metalcore still finds ways to breath fresh air into its rusted lungs. The UK metalcore band, Architects, is all too familiar with the many changes that the genre can bring about on a band. From their humble, albeit intense, beginnings as a chaotic, dissonant influenced band, they have seen both changes in lineup and, as if this accompanied the band hand in hand, changes in their overall sound as well. In terms of levels of publicity, this has made Architects quite the success both in the nation they call home and in the states as well, riding the wave of popularity along with their friends in Bring Me the Horizon as one of the top leaders in the modern metal community. As much as elitists and hipsters would not like to admit, Architects have proven one thing and that is change can be a good thing, anyone who would have thought that Architects could have reached the level of popularity they have now had they had kept to their mathcore roots is fooling themselves. Now, almost into their seventh year as a band, Architects come back to the masses and offer up their fourth full length album, The Here and Now. It becomes clear right from the opening seconds of ‘Day In Day Out’ that Architects are either still trying to find their sound, which at this point would be tragic indeed, or still changing as a band and this, unfortunately, has negative ramifications.
Since adding on vocalist Sam Carter after the departure of original vocalist Matt Johnson, Architects have been streamlining their sound that coincides with the trend that most bands in the genre are taking. While Bring Me the Horizon and The Dillinger Escape Plan seem to have finally found their niches in their respective places, The Here and Now proves that Architects are still trying to find it. The biggest shock that The Here and Now presents is the drastic change that Architects have done to their sound. As if the sonic differences felt between their sophomore album Ruin and follow-up album, Hollow Crown, weren’t enough, Architects have deigned it necessary further refine their sound in The Here and Now and we now see them teetering on the verge of hard rock and post hardcore. While there is nothing inherently bad or abhorrent in this switch, the problem lies in that Architects fail to make any lasting statement about this drastic change in sound. Nearly every song on The Here and Now has its fair share of catchy riffs, sing-along choruses and enough respectable breakdowns to bang your head to, but it fails in creating something lasting to hold your attention. ‘Learn To Live’ opens competently enough, with a catchy hard rock style riff, yet quickly becomes boring and generic within under a minute of play. The same thing is felt throughout the entire album with limited exceptions, ‘Delete/Rewind’ and ‘Open Letter to Myself’, tend to be the highlights of the album with all the right mixtures of infectious riffage, coupled with memorable song delivery. By the time final track 'Year In/Year Out' rolls around, featuring guest vocals by Greg Puciato, the album has already tired out its welcome, becoming unoriginal and repetitive.
In the end, Architects are no strangers to change. In a genre that is constantly changing face, with no clean mold as to what is the common sound, The Here and Now proves that metalcore is drastically different from its beginnings. However, with such a bland and uninspired album, Architects don’t do the genre any favors with their latest offering. With too much filler and quite enough killer, The Here and Now might be enough for a listen through once in a while but will not find its way into the minds and hearts of most fans. Bring Me the Horizon may have finally found their proper balance between mindless breakdowns and critically acceptable metal and The Dillinger Escape Plan might have finally found the correct mixture of math and prog, but Architects are still lost in finding the sound that is correct for them. Sometimes change isn't necessarily the best route and The Here and Now proves this.