Review Summary: The bands progression continues as they release yet another album with little resemblance to their previous releases.
Architects has become a very well known name inside the music world, since the release of their debut album 'Nightmares.' It is also a well known fact that the band never makes the same album twice and with the release of 'The Here and Now,' it is no exception. This time around the band has gone a much more melodic route, leaving behind the technical metal/hardcore sound found on their previous efforts and replacing it with a post-hardcore sound, in the vein of Alexisonfire and Underoath. Their older style hasn’t disappeared completely however, which is clearly shown in the furious hardcore jam “Stay Young Forever” as well as certain sections of other songs. Though it may feel like the band has been around forever, they’ve actually only been active for six years and the members are still very young. The progression they have made in those six years is very impressive and their 2011 release is just another chapter in the history of a band that will be around for a while.
The album kicks off with “Day In Day Out” which starts out on a high note with vocalist Sam Carter screaming The years I put into this!
. From there however it takes a turn for the worst with some mediocre clean vocals and a very predictable song structure, though the lyrics are actually pretty good. Next up is one of my favorite songs on the album entitled “Learn To Live.” This is probably the most sincere and emotional track on the album. The majority of the song is cleanly sung, with a few well placed screams and gang vocals. The chorus will force the listener to sing along with it, as I’m sure anyone who hears it can find some way to relate. The third track “Delete, Rewind” keeps things interesting with a fast and heavy change in direction, the beginning may also remind some listeners of “Follow The Water” from the bands previous album. The clean vocals in this song seem forced however, where Sam could have easily done harsh vocals through the majority of the song. Regardless, it still possesses the energy to ignite frantic circle pits at live performances. The energy continues through “BTN” as the lyrics seem to chronicle a feeling of insanity running through the subjects head and the sound reflects it. The chaos settles nearing the end of the song with a cleanly strummed section and heads back into the chorus. By now the album will have successfully burned a whole through your speakers, leaving the listener trying to comprehend what just happened. “An Open Letter To Myself” begins and gives the listener a chance to breath. The sincere singing and lyrics is enough to send chills down the listeners spine. The song builds up to it’s grande finale and as the vocals get louder, so do the instruments. The gang vocals nearing the songs conclusion are also a nice touch.
At this point I began to tire of the constant guitar tone used throughout the entire album. The reoccurring dissonant chords don’t work this time around like they did so well on ‘Hollow Crown,‘ more or less, they just manage to give the listener a headache. “The Blues” is a pretty forgettable track until the ending chorus, which manages to keep the listener interested enough to resist the urge of skipping the song. Up next is another one of the albums highlights, “Red Eyes.” It features instrumentals that would fit in perfectly on “Underoaths- Define The Great Line” album. The vocals however, show no resemblance to the band at all, which makes for a unique sounding song. “Stay Young Forever” is probably the most hardcore track on the album, sounding like a mix of the bands second album ‘Ruin‘ and “Comeback Kid’s- Wake The Dead.” It also features guest vocals from Andrew Neufeld, which might explain the CBK influence. “Heartburn” comes off as the most beautiful track the band has ever done. It’s surprisingly uplifting compared to most of the other songs in the bands catalogue. The track is perfectly placed on the album. “Year in, year out/up and away” is a crushing album highlight with distinctive guest vocals from Greg Puciato of Dillinger Escape Plan that augment the track nicely without overpowering Sam who holds his own very well indeed. It proves to be a solid end to an inspiring album.
While Architects haven’t made the flawless album needed to please existing fans about an apparent mellowing, there are enough good moments in ‘The Here and Now’ to see them expand their audience regardless. The increased accessibility and diversity of this album should allow them to extend their reach. While the argument will continue to be made that they mellowed out their sound in an attempt to gain more radio airplay, no one can deny the band of their ambition.