Review Summary: Not groundbreaking, not forward-thinking -- just loads of aggressive fun.
Architects haven’t had the easiest time throughout the years -- going through lineup changes, struggling with consistency and attempting to drastically change their sound only to be rammed into the ground by sour reactions from fans. 2012’s Daybreaker
was a welcome return to form for the band, but much of the visceral intensity that made 2009’s Hollow Crown
such a memorable effort was lost amidst the identity crisis. Fast forward to 2014 with a new label -- Epitaph Records -- and with the trusty production-muscles by none other than (my fellow) Swede Fredrik Nordström, Architects are looking start anew; all while putting a large emphasis on live performances for this go-around.
Now before anyone accuses me of hyperbole, know this -- Lost Forever // Lost Together
some sort of paradigm shift for the band. More concerned with polishing their progressive brand of Metalcore to a shine rather than to explore new territories; Architects truly manages to bring out the best of their arsenal in this 11-track-assault-on-the-senses while never losing sight of what they truly are: a techincal, heavy-as-hell band concerned only with beating the listener senseless using whatever means neccessary.
The rousing opener “Gravedigger” get things moving at an alarming rate -- bombarding the listener with staccato one-two rhythms, a larger-than-life breakdown and a chorus that feels appropriately anthemic without sullying the intensity that remains omni-present throughout. The track segues smoothly into the chaotic riffage and blast-beat laden intro to the lead single “Naysayer”, which nicely precedes the darkly-themed and controversial “Broken Cross”. From there on out, the album rarely brings the pace down and only the instrumental “Red Hypergiant” (which feels like a homage to the band’s classic sophomore album, Ruin
) allows the listener to catch his or her breath.
That’s the thing about LF//LT
; it’s absolutely relentless. Cavernous drums and deafening guitars practically battle Sam Carter’s tortured but exuberant vocals, and rhytmically complex breakdowns and a slew of time signature changes dominate every track. Things can definitely start to sound exhausting by the time you’ve the crossed the midway point, but Sam does a good job of spicing up his interlocked vocal lines by channeling both melody and emotion through his howling shrieks. You won’t find as many sung refrains as on Daybreaker
, but Sam rarely rests on his laurels throughout the album.
The album truly reaches its fever pitch in the last quarter of the album, where the two showstoppers rear their heads: “Colony Collapse” and “Castles in the Air”. The former track sounds damn-near apocalyptic, with an opening that playfully builds to the bombastic and fist-pumping chorus. The song gains even more momentum towards the end, where Sam laces his emotionally-wrought and sung lines: “They say the ocean’s on fire // say it isn’t true, say it isn’t true // the truth never hurt so much // can we start anew, can we start anew?"
The latter track is more stirring and closer-to-home for Sam Carter, as the track deals with Sam’s past experiences with anexiety: “Always climbing, but only ever descending // the canvas before me, is never ending”
he shouts in the pounding build-up to the explosive and memorable refrain, which sees guitarist Tom Searle dancing playfully around the fretboard and doling out melodic and booming riffs. Explosive, vigorous and capped off by a beautiful climax -- “Castles In The Air” packs a bigger punch than any other track on the album. The penultimate “Youth Is Wasted on The Young” and atmospheric closer “The Distant Blue” do a good job of bringing the pace down and providing the listener with a rewarding sense of closure, although Sam’s drawn out screams and high-pitched howls on the final track feel borderline over-the-top.
In conclusion, LF//LT
is a blast. The razor-sharp production handled by Fredrik lets every element shine brightly throughout the record, making this an album that simply demands that you crank up the volume to overwhelming levels -- prefably whilst using some pricey sound system. Sure, the album occasionally recycles content heard before, and the track “The Devil Is Near” is just sort of...there, but these grievances aren’t enough to distract from the best moments of this album, which are plentiful and exhilarating.
In lieu of other Metalcore bands failing miserably at making a name for themselves, Architects prove their worth with LF//LT
-- a fun, heavy and well-paced effort.
Castles In The Air
Least Favorite Track(s):
The Devil Is Near