Architects
Holy Hell


4.0
excellent

Review

by Simon CONTRIBUTOR (227 Reviews)
November 10th, 2018 | 154 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Yup, they still sound like Architects.

Capricious metal bands aiming at the hip and current trends has been a startling motif for 2018 – at least in terms of the more commercially successful groups releasing new albums – and it’s an aspect which has quite honestly haunted a lot of my enjoyment for heavy music this year. One thing metal as a genre can convey so well is its frustrations on something; given the right mindset and approach, the earnest power emitted from the artist can bring an unattainable catharsis you won’t find anywhere else, and it’s where I think metal as a collective has been dropping the ball this year. Seldom do I feel these bands offer the convictions needed to revive what has been a pretty poor turnout thus far, rather working with soulless shills to make the most formulaic and accessible sounds possible to receive a return for their efforts. With Architects, and more specifically Holy Hell, they’ve kind of gone the same way but I feel they’ve earned their right to bring a more digestible and melodic-heavy sound to the table, simply because it’s something they’ve been working towards for the better part of a decade. Which is the whole point to a band’s evolution: context.

After the untimely death of Tom Searle, the band’s primary songwriter, many hardcore fans wrote the band off because its integral mind wasn’t present in the camp anymore. To their surprise however, Holy Hell manages to continue their work as if nothing ever happened – which could be taken as a missed opportunity or a blessing depending on your standpoint. Yes, if you haven’t heard a note of this record yet, it’s the same blueprint they’ve been working from since Lost Forever//Lost Together, but like all their albums, they continue to take baby steps forward to maintain a relative freshness. The epic undertones, ala string arrangements, swooping guitar passages and big washing waves of synth, continue to reside next to chunky guitar riffs and intricate rhythms but take a more predominant role next to Carter’s vocal work which moves on to slightly different pastures. There’s definitely more emphasis made to focus on Sam in an attempt to elevate the emotional factors of this record (for obvious reasons), and I think he, and the rest of the band, do a sterling job of partnering these mammoth soundscapes with Sam’s takes. The crescendo to “Holy Hell”, the goliath “Doomsday” and “Royal Beggars” show as the top cuts for this mild advancement in sound, while I think the now flaccid breakdown in metalcore is handled pretty interestingly here as well – which is no mean feat – on a song like “Mortal After All”, which shows its effective flex next to the ethereal synth ambience and these abrasive horn effects that sit on top of the guitars.

The enjoyment is certainly here for the taking, but I still feel their evolution is in microns. If you’ve been frustrated with the last few albums, I hate to break it to you; there’s not much in the way of change that’ll bring you back into the fold. The biggest relief for me was in seeing Architects doing their own thing and not following suit with the herds – an easy incentive in today’s climate. This aims a hair towards clean vocal work on songs like “Damnation”, “Modern Misery” and “A Wasted Hymn” but it’s all done very naturally. With that said, there’s a balancing act here that has some of their most scathing performances as well, namely “The Seven Circle” which is an untameable beast of a track and is probably the heaviest we’ve heard Architects since Hollow Crown; a real highlight that shows they still have the intense savagery in them. Holy Hell is a great album filled with passion for their craft and it’s all done on their own terms, which, frankly, is a breath of fresh air. Bar maybe “Damnation” for having a rather flat melody there’s not a bad song here, but at the same time there’s not a lot here you haven’t heard before, so take that as you will.


FORMAT//EDITIONS: CD/̶/̶D̶I̶G̶I̶T̶A̶L̶/̶/̶V̶I̶N̶Y̶L̶

PACKAGING: Digipak case with foldout poster-lyric sheet.

SPECIAL EDITION: N/A

ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: http://www.architectsofficial.com/



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user ratings (343)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (3)
Architects push past death and fall somewhere short....

Channing Freeman STAFF (3.5)
darkness, oh hell...

Mason Pearmain (4)
A slight step back from previous works, but still noteworthy in its own right....

AfterTheSensesEscape (2)
Complacent, boring, and insanity incarnate...



Comments:Add a Comment 
AgentDeathbat
November 10th 2018


3405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Great review.

I'd pos, but you're a contributor, so I'll just pos internally.

Digging: Movements - Feel Something

AgentDeathbat
November 10th 2018


3405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Also should mention that Sam's vocals seriously feel one-dimensional here, the music is great but the vocals make it feel really samey after a while.

Feather
November 10th 2018


4970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hooray, finally a proper thread to talk about how awesome this album is. Great (quick) review!

@Angel dude, the vocals may be the best part of this album ...

AgentDeathbat
November 10th 2018


3405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

They're not bad - there's emotion and power for days. However, I tire easily when it comes to Sam Carter's mid screams. The vocals on this album follow a very similar structure on every song: Raspy, gritty cleans, more mid screams, more cleans, more mid screams.

AgentDeathbat
November 10th 2018


3405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Also lol @ Angel

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2018


14924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers guys.



and i have to agree with feather, for the most part sam's vocals here rule.

calmrose
November 10th 2018


4023 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album slays



also don't know how you can consider Sam's vocals one-dimensional

Digging: Majority Rule - Interview With David Frost

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2018


14924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

seriously though, "the seven circle". i didn't see that coming, what an absolute beast of a track

calmrose
November 10th 2018


4023 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

song's a banger for sure

AgentDeathbat
November 10th 2018


3405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

They rule, but he doesn't switch it up much. Never mind the verse-chorus-verse structure here - or in the case of opener "Death Is Not Defeat", chorus-chorus-verse-chorus-verse-verse-chorus-chorus with not much instrumental work that isn't complemented by Sam's vocals - that really makes this feel too conventional in comparison to All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us.

AgentDeathbat
November 10th 2018


3405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@calmrose: He has a tendency to get a little grating the more you listen, but there's not a lot of dynamic here. It's the same mid-scream/raspy scream-sing that we've been getting for years, just with more emotion.

Feather
November 10th 2018


4970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You're new avatar made me think angel for some reason, idk man

AgentDeathbat
November 10th 2018


3405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

LMFAO

Makes sense now that I think about it.

calmrose
November 10th 2018


4023 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"but there's not a lot of dynamic here"



there's tons of dynamics in the vocals, but I guess we'll agree to disagree

AgentDeathbat
November 10th 2018


3405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I'll just have to keep listening to hear what you guys hear then, I guess. Three listens in and it still feels like an obvious step back from their last couple records.

AgentDeathbat
November 10th 2018


3405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I guess I can't blame them, down a guitarist and all.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2018


14924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Like ive maintained throughout the review, there's no dip in quality from previous albums. but considering they lost their primary songwriter, it surprises me they've changed their sound so little here.

calmrose
November 10th 2018


4023 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

idk, I think this is easily their best since Hollow Crown, band sounds reinvigorated and there is definitely more interesting moments here than the past two records (which I still dig heavily), the electronics/synths add a nice level of atmosphere



just fail to see how this is an "obvious step back"

AgentDeathbat
November 10th 2018


3405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

If not a dip in quality, it's definitely a dip in my personal enjoyment.

But that's neither here nor there, so whatever.

@calmrose: A significant amount of the record feels very conventional, and the chorus-as-an-intro shit kinda rubs me the wrong way. Also, it's very backloaded, to my chagrin.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2018


14924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hey, you're entitled to your opinion man. we can all agree this still slays



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