Review Summary: A band that is all too often overlooked in the UK metal scene. The band's debut showcases their perfect blend of technicality, hardcore and metal - the crazy riffs and time signatures will destroy your mind. Immensely talented act.
Everyone can agree that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find new talent in today's modern metal scene. In recent years, there has been a huge rise in the number of so called 'metalcore' bands (half the time I think that people are misinformed as to what metalcore actually), with bands left, right and center ripping one another off, bringing nothing new or exciting to the table.
However, Brighton based metal/hardcore quintet Architects
are far removed from the trends that plague the current metal scene. The band released Nightmares
, their debut, when they were just 18. The best way to describe their sound would be something that fits in between the style popularized by bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan and Botch with a mix of melodic passages. The fusion of hardcore and metal is quite astounding; the amount of talent these guys possess is utterly ludicrous at points, leaving listeners wondering what the hell just happened (and possibly whether the band can pull it off live; in answer to that, yes - they bloody well can).
Each of the 8 tracks present on this disc (with a running time of just over 30 minutes) showcase the immense talent and songwriting skills of the band. The guitars especially are very interesting; album opener To the Death
is a rollercoaster of technical riffage and crazy time signatures. The drumming at first seems to follow no logical pattern (the way Dan locks his snare hits in with the rhythms of the riffs is awesome at times) but after one has become accustomed to this style of technical metal, the effects are astounding. The bass is also heard quite well - the lines do stick to the guitars quite a bit but at this pace and level of technicality, it is still downright impressive.
Tim and Tom utilize a huge array of techniques in their guitar playing; tapping is in abundance on this album but is always used tastefully. Album closer The Darkest Tomb
highlights this wonderfully - the outro is simply splendid, with an epic melodic tapping section over a metalcore style breakdown riff.
Metalcore" Has Confessed gone mad" Yes, it is true. There is a strong metalcore influence throughout the album but don't let it deter you. Breakdowns are present but most definitely are not in abundance. You Don't Walk Away From Dismemberment
is a track that highlights this perfectly - the riffs used are incredibly catchy too. Pinch harmonics are particularly pleasing - A Portrait For the Deceased
has a pinch harmonic riff that is guaranteed to make you wet between the thighs.
The vocals are in pretty much the same style throughout. Matt (he was replaced by Sam after the album was released) has a very competent scream and for the most part is quite understandable. But he does some really cool things with his voice; kind of like a mix between clean and talking. When I fist heard the album single In the Desert
, his odd input of clean vocals struck a chord with me; -
"Well if you've got the time baby I've got the money."
It sounds great even if he only uses it a few times throughout the album. Whilst not a big downer, it would have been nice to hear him use different vocal techniques. Instead, he sticks to a mid range scream - don't get me wrong though, it suits the band perfectly and he sounds brutal for the most part.
What sets the band apart from most other Dillinger or Botch copycats is their inclusion of wonderfully epic melodic sections. The use of those dissonant Botch-esque chords are in full force (although not to the extent of a band like Norma Jean for instance) but songs switch from chaos to epic within seconds. The chorus of To the Death
showcases a wonderfully effective dual guitar line -brilliant within it's own simplicity. In the Desert
also has some fantastic melodic lead guitar breaks - the guitars are definitely one of the biggest highlights of the band. Another standout point on the album is the track This Confession Means Nothing
. The build-up throughout is quite calming and it is a good breather from all the chaos presented in the album.
Overall, the band's debut album is nothing short of phenomenal. Every one of the 8 tracks is excellent and a running time of 30 minutes is perfect. The UK metal scene may be plagued by some ridiculously poor acts (Bring Me the Horizon and Bullet For My Valentine I am talking to you) but acts such as Architects
demonstrate that the scene is far from bad.
A definite recommendation to any fan of technical metal, hardcore or metalcore.
To the Death
You Don't Walk Away From Dismemberment
In the Desert
The Darkest Tomb