Review Summary: Built with familiar tools and strictly following an established blueprint.
After a lengthy delay due to ongoing pandemic restrictions, among other things, Eidola returns with their third LP at the heels of Andrew Wells' continued contributions to Dance Gavin Dance. Eidola is likely at it's peak hype level amongst the inner swancore circles as a result of Wells' contributions on Dance Gavin Dance's last two albums and acting as a touring guitarist/pseudo member of the band. This album also marks the first full-length project including Sergio Medina (Stolas, Sianvar) on guitar. After a solid sophomore effort in To Speak, to Listen
which garnered increased exposure directly correlated with a continued upward trajectory of publicity through Rise Records and Wells' relationship with Will Swan/DGD, there was much anticipation to see if their sound would continue to mature into a mainstay within the post-hardcore realm instead of being the little brother of Dance Gavin Dance.
Upon the release of singles "Perennial Philosophy", "Counterfeit Shrines" and intro song "Hidden Worship", it seemed as though Eidola stuck to a similar formula as they had become accustomed to on To Speak, to Listen - soaring guitars, downtempo verses, bombastic drumming, and prominent showcasing of Wells' gripping vocal range. The Architect
as a whole embraces the established style they adopted on their previous record and rarely takes creative risks outside of this. The trusty interlude-3 song-interlude structure is at play here, with slow, atmospheric breaks in the action in the form of "Occam's Razor" and "Alchemist Ascendant" providing reprieve between the harder hitting tracks scattered throughout this album. Songs like "Caustic Prayer" and the aforementioned "Counterfeit Shrines", while strong tracks on their own which play into the band's primary strengths, honestly sound like leftovers from To Speak, to Listen
. Though this is not necessarily a bad thing, it proves that the direction of this band is less about evolution and more about consistency. The closing two tracks, including a Jon Mess feature on the penultimate track, may be some of the heaviest songs Eidola has produced, however they lean on already-established sounds that feel worn out. The closing track includes a very awkward 2 1/2 minute instrumental that completely neuters the vibe and has me turning it off before it ends as it teases a crescendo that never happens. Lyrically, this album fails to deviate way from common themes of betrayal, relationships, and introspection.
Catchy hooks, strong vocal performances, tight instrumentation, and clean production aside, The Architect
unfortunately leaves a lot to be desired regardless of how fun this album can be. Not unlike other swancore projects, this album pulls too heavily from past material in order to skate by with bare minimum growth. Despite being likely the strongest band to come out of Blue Swan Records, one that presents expertise from each member of the band respectively, it unfortunately provides nothing new. This album is cut too much from the same cloth as To Speak, to Listen
, and while many fans of the genre will eat this up, it does nothing to push the limits and stays well-entrenched in familiarity. Pure talent can effectively mask stagnation and lack of risk-taking, and Eidola seems to do in spades. Unfortunately, The Architect
fails to build on the band's strong foundation and remains comfortable in their previously-crafted artistic blueprint. They had the potential to tower in the genre, but seem content on becoming lost in the skyline of other post-hardcore outfits.
BEST TRACKS: Caustic Prayer, Perennial Philosophy, Empty Gardens
WORST TRACK: Forgotten Tongues