Review Summary: Architects may have made some mistakes prior to this, but in the here and now they're right back on track- in most ways, at least.
Having captured the attention of the metalcore scene at large with 2009’s monstrous “Hollow Crown”, Architects attempted to distance themselves from the movement with last year’s “The Here and Now”, a far more melodic and commercially inclined collection that never quite got off the ground the way they’d hoped. This failure to infiltrate the mainstream rock scene rather unsurprisingly led to a swift about face, and the band have said that “Daybreaker” sees them going back to ‘being Architects again’.
Early signs were encouraging. ‘Devil’s Island’ (released last year and now included on “Daybreaker”) is one of the best songs this band have ever written, perfectly fusing the crushing riffs of “Hollow Crown” with the more mature melodicism of “THAN” without sounding contrived. First real single “These Colours Don’t Run” took a more straightforward approach that hit hard and fast, effectively recalling the power of the Architects of old.
That the band is firing on all cylinders here in a musical sense is obvious. The guitar work is typically excellent throughout ("Alpha Omega" in particular is rammed with huge technical riffs), while drummer Dan Searle almost steals the show on the spacey “Truth, Be Told” with his frantic fills. Sam Carter remains one of the strongest vocalists in modern metal, adding a raspy form of scream-singing to his already impressive repertoire of passioned shrieks and soaring cleans.
There is certainly a lot here to get excited about. From the brutal technical riffs of ‘Alpha Omega’ and stop-start dynamics of ‘Even If You Win, You’re Still a Rat’ to the achingly beautiful vocal harmonies of cinematic ballad ‘Behind the Throne’ and closer ‘Unbeliever’, this is an album that never fails to be impressive. There are of course also numerous problems here, and sadly some problems that have dogged Architects throughout their career.
Both the music and Carter’s screamed vocals are irritatingly samey when taking the album as a whole, and the ballad-like tracks can’t help stop the feeling of monotony that “Daybreaker” gives off. At least they had the good sense to limit the runtime to 42 minutes, as any longer could have killed this album. It’s also worth nothing that the strings and piano employed here do add colour to many tracks, but are ridiculously overused and also used very similarly within songs.
In terms of updating the “classic” Architects sound to include the best elements of ‘The Here and Now’, the band has achieved a great success. There’s certainly room for improvement, but it’s easy to forget that this is still a young band after releasing 5 albums. Taking more time on their next album would be very beneficial, and with ‘Daybreaker’, the band have given themselves a great starting point to work from.