Review Summary: Architects push past death and fall somewhere short.
There seems to be a decent debate on whether music from deceased artists is better than it actually is. The simple answer is no, but the emotional connection creates all the context one needs to fully relate to something in an unexpected way. It’s like your favourite pair of undies; they may have a couple of sneaky holes here and there, the seams may be getting stretched (I blame the burgers, not the wine) but god help the missus if she throws them out.
In many ways Holy Hell
fits the descriptions as well as my underwear used to fit my waistline. The only thing is… I wash the skid marks out when I shit
But let’s get the easy shit
out of the way. Holy Hell
could be better, and it could be worse. The early singles felt comfortable, tight and well practiced. I’ll easily admit the “Royal Beggars” and “Hereafter” left me with great hopes for the direction of Architects’ music even without the great Tom Searle’s constant musical supervision. Well, the undies felt fresh… but there’s something not quite right.
As much as I’d like to give a Tom-free Architects a free pass because their main songwriter passed, I just can’t dispose of the simple fact that forty three minutes of recycled ideas, tired lyricism and a memory of a comrade fallen is being passed off as better than good music. Yes there’s merit to be given to a band that has pushed past what’s honestly a bad situation, given the fact that All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
was all but two years ago, it’s a wonder there’s any new music at all.
What was once a flurry of fresh sounds quickly turned stale and repetitive. Architects tendency to resort to the breakdown runs parallel to the band’s overuse of tired lyricism. As emotionally charged as this album is for the band and fans there’s this absent, third party to be found throughout the album’s length that is purely dissatisfying, cathartic and doesn’t relate as well as it should. Sam Carter’s vocal efforts are both satisfying well placed and poised to take the full advantage of the now gone Tom. At times, the listener becomes fully invested, hearing both the personal response to a brother passed and the wider socio discussion of Architects’ music (see: “Modern Misery” and “Doomsday”).
It’s clear that Architects want to move on with Tom’s best wishes in mind… but they’re not completely sure on how to improve on the recycled formula they’ve been using for the best part of a decade, relying fully on the stereotypes of a dying genre. Architects aren’t ready to put on a new set, they want the well-worn pair… holes and all.