Review Summary: Architects slip further into an identity crisis which threatens the quality of their music
Barely a year ago, Architects were hailing their fourth album in just five years as their “defining record”. The Here and Now
, with its polished production and strong emphasis on vocal melody, was certainly a departure from the darkened metalcore that earned them their place as one of the biggest bands in the modern British metal scene, but only a year on and with Daybreaker
, they claim to have turned their backs on that decision.
The speed at which these events took place certainly suggests that this latest move is in response to the backlash against The Here and Now
, especially when taking into account how certain of themselves the band appeared in interviews surrounding the album’s release, with the desire not to repeat themselves, the wish to write music with more focus on melody and so forth. At the time, the music only backed that up; The Here and Now
may have been a radical departure from their popular sound but the band seemed at ease with this change - a natural decision fitting in with their personal desires to write the music they wanted to. Although a step down from Hollow Crown
, on its own terms The Here and Now
was a success - catchy but still dealing a fair amount of punch and energy.
, on the other hand, seems a little lost. Contradicting their year-younger selves, they are now expressing a desire to return to their heavy and technical roots. But rather than a pure return to their older sound as they’d have you believe, Daybreaker
is mostly an awkward mash of elements off The Here and Now
and their earlier releases. Hollow Crown
succeeded because of its unrelenting energy founded upon musical elements that worked beautifully together and headed by metallic grit and intense, passionate vocals. Daybreaker
has little of that, retaining unwelcome production in the form of overused synthesisers and electronic segments which ruin the music’s grit or sometimes kill the energy completely. The power is lost with awkward or boring riffs trying too hard to be ‘technical’ just for technicality’s sake but failing to do much with it, or simply switching back and forth between two notes in deliberately awkward timing. The guitars themselves have lost much of the thunderous tone they had on Hollow Crown
. Sam Carter’s voice has also deteriorated; the passion of his old vocals having been replaced with ones which constantly switch between talking to a forced and broken scream. Hollow Crown
introduced more melody for Architects but they used it sparingly for the occasional effect. Here, their use is constant. At worst, large parts of the music are simply boring, with no energy or interesting melody to prop them up as the music is left unsure what to do.
More than anything, Daybreaker
feels like an attempt by Architects to please fans of Hollow Crown
whilst retaining the elements they wrote to please themselves on The Here and Now
, and in doing so compromising both. Daybreaker
is an enjoyable record, but more despite itself than anything else. Some catchy melodies and interesting guitar parts are scattered throughout the album, but unlike before (even with The Here and Now
) these elements are scrappily arranged and leave the music in a limbo with no defined purpose or aim. Fans of either of either Hollow Crown
or The Here and Now
should find something to enjoy here, but to do so the listener is left to pick out bits and pieces from an album which, as a whole, is a bit of a mess.