Review Summary: I'm starting suspect that change should be expected with Architects
Its safe to say that change is part of Architects sound, from the tech heavy sound of 2006 debut release Nightmares to the more metalcore-centric sound of 2009 Hollow Crown, none of their album have sounded the same.
With their 2011 release The Here and Now, the change isn't as sonically drastic from Nightmares to their 2007 release Ruin, but can be seen as a more refined version of their breakout release Hollow Crown.
But, without a doubt the biggest departure Architects have taken in this release, in the increase in clean vocals, while Hollow Crown saw a large increase in the volume of singing, its safe to say that at least half this album is made up of clean singing from vocalist Sam Carter. Be it in one of the two ballads on the disc or singing his heart out along side blistering instrumentation, Sam Carter's new found confidence in his singing abilities can be found throughout the album. This, combined with a more hardcore influenced scream, a gritty singing style occasionally employed, and an increased use in gang vocals results in the best vocal performances of Architects career.
Instrumentally, this band is in its A game, while as mentioned not as flashy as their earlier releases, is quite impressive, from the frenzied riffing of' The Blues' , the sychronized instrumentation of the opener 'Day In, Day Out' and the ambience found in 'Red Eyes' they have shown you done have to reach Between the Buried and Me level technicality to show you can play your instruments well.
Also, while this album features more conventional song structures than to be expected, their is a refreshing lack of breakdowns on this record, with this band able to be heavy when they want to be without relying on breakdowns as a crutch.
With an increse in clean vocals, not as technical instrumentation and more conventional song structures, it would seem that Architects have neutered their sound that they have successfully employed in the past. While all of this may put them more in line with bands such as Alexisonfire rather than Botch, this doesn't mean that they have all off a sudden become a completely different band. Their past as a chaotic, heavy metalcore band can still be found throughout the album for it is in tracks such as 'Delete, Rewind' and 'Stay Young Forever' (the latter featuring an excellent guest performace from Comeback Kid's Andrew Neufield) that manage to balance out every ballad and extended clean vocal section found throughout.
The best way to describe this release would be that the changes interpersed throughout the album, with their heavy sound still being the backbone on this album, not the other way round, despite what others would say.
With their fourth release, Architects have shown that they are not content to be pigeon-holed as a metalcore band, but are willing to redefine their sound to try to escape this predetermination of what band they should be, and with this as a stepping, their next album should truly be something special. Despite all the change found on 'The Here and Now', the main fact is that Architects still managed to create a great album, just not the one people were expecting.