Review Summary: Hugely underrated.
And they're back. Except they never really went away did they? For all the supposed decrying and rejection of their 2011 full length The Here and Now, the follow up to the critically acclaimed Hollow Crown, it was generally well received. Sure it was softer, less technical and in some ways less fulfilling than Hollow Crown, but it's a long way from the artistic failure that fossilised Nightmares-era fans would have you believe. At worst it felt scatter-shot; lots of good ideas with some coming off better than others. So it seems redundant to be labelling Daybreaker as a comeback album or a return to form. And the question of whether it veers closer to Hollow Crown or The Here And Now in terms of 'heaviness' and sound, is also redundant, because the answer is neither. Daybreaker is both an expansion and a streamlining of everything they've done before, taking the strengths of both Hollow Crown and THAN and expertly weaving them together.
Tracks such as the blistering 'Alpha Omega' combine their technical aptitude with soaring melodicism to stunning effect. 'These Colours Don't Run' harkens back to Ruin's relentless riffing and discordant guitar and 'Feather of Lead' is the savage punk thrasher that they seemed to be aiming for with tracks such 'The Blues' on THAN. 'Behind The Throne' and 'Unbeliever' are fully fleshed out and effective ballads, but it's the middle ground where Architects really hit their stride; 'Outsider Heart' is superb, its dragged out anthemic chorus utterly infectious. 'Daybreak's epic, swelling final coda is absolutely hair raising and highlight 'Truth, Be Told' (a strong contender for the best song they've ever written!) showcases just how subtle and confident their song-writing has become; effortlessly ebbing and swelling between softer sections and a soaring bridge and chorus.
Sam Carter well and truly cements his position as metalcore's premier vocalist here. At 23 it's startling just how confident and accomplished he sounds. His clean vocals are full and rich (those whinging about the increased employment of them since Ruin need their ears tested), his mid-range bark is full of bite and venom and he often employs a raspy, Jesse Lacey style strung out shout to great effect.
Musically Daybreaker refines and perfects what Architects have done before; lyrically it does anything but. Alpha Omega is a subtle and down-right erudite critique of organised religion, it's final lines 'let me say my decency comes from inside, just human heart, a decent mind, we all slip up from time to time' succinctly rubbishing the predatory diatribe of Abrahamic religion that morality can only be derived from and justified by some stagnant sky God. On 'Devil's Island' they get ripped into the mindless greed and fury that swept England during the riots of 2011 - 'you want a voice, but your voices sound like violence, you shout so loud but all I hear is silence' and the predictable and pathetic, left-wing apologetic response that flooded large portions of the media in the aftermath is equally savaged as Sam bellows 'remember this for what is was, a bleak rejection of absent minds'. On 'Daybreak' the general stupidity and ignorance of society as a whole is questioned - 'it seems to me this boat is sinking, weighed down by irrational thinking' and again on 'Truth, Be Told' as Sam softly sings the album's saddest line 'I want to wake up, and find the world in remission, free from the grasp of the human condition'.
It's poetic and learned stuff and lends an enormous breadth and depth of intellectual and emotional weight to Daybreaker absent from the majority of music. As guitarist Tom Searle recently stated; 'if you’re singing about your girlfriend breaking up with you, then you don’t have any problems. Most people on planet earth aren’t lucky enough to call that a problem'. It's this awareness and far-sightedness that truly elevates Daybreaker from a great album to an absolute classic. Ignore the crap sniping, poser calls for more 'brootalness'/technicality and twines for regression; Daybreaker is Architects defining moment and already a strong contender for album of the year.