Review Summary: Sharpen your axes and prepare for the dawning of the new post metal kings.
Mouth of the Architect has been constantly tweaking and modifying their sound with every subsequent release. Never stagnating as some bands and constantly making the same record over and over. When Quietly
was released it seemed to either deter fans of the older styles found on Time and Withering
and The Ties that Blind
or further cement the opinion of MOtA’s consistent quality. Where Quietly
was a sparse but an overall depressing, crushing journey The Violence Beneath EP
showed they were experimenting and could cover something like Peter Gabriel with ease while putting their own touch on his work.
Now with Dawning
it seems MOtA have figured out exactly what sound they were searching for, not content with merely being heavy for heavy’s sake or being overly soft and foregoing their metal past. "It Swarms" and "Sharpen Your Axes" are as destructive as any of their previous works and gives the middle of the album its heaviest moments as well as the needed aggression to keep the metal fans interested. The songs each hit their own peaks and valleys alternately expanding, contracting and exploding. They definitely use the loud/quiet dynamic almost to a fault but it's so well done it's hard to complain about it.
Still present is MOtA’s use of simultaneous harsh and clean vocals in most songs. They don’t give in to the current metal trend of eschewing all songs of harsh screamed vocals for a friendlier sound, they use them when it fits and don’t when it doesn't. “Patterns” showcases this very effectively with the majority being a slow song with clean vocals and just before the transition which softly repeats, “The pattern is revealed” before moving into an up-tempo riff with roaring growled vocals. On previous albums the tonality was quite steadily set in the low end of the spectrum; here they make use of a higher sonic palette to give songs more range. With each song averaging 7 minutes they have plenty of space to make use of that range, yet they manage to keep the listener’s attention and making each piece fit and sound like it belongs.
Atmosphere is still created with recorded vocal samples and background noises ala "Hate and Heartache" and it still works wonderfully. Where Quietly
was mostly doom and gloom Dawning
feels like there could be some hope left as the title implies. There is use of acoustic guitars and pianos as demonstrated on "Lullabye" and plenty of delay soaked guitar lines. The musicianship is excellent and the mix is done well, allowing the guitars to soar and the drumming to shine while the bass grinds away underneath it all. If this isn't on your album of the year radar yet you probably haven’t heard it or aren't paying attention.
Streaming here: http://mouthofthearchitect.bandcamp.com/