There are two ways good metal can go: with heaviness comes brutality and jams, or with heaviness comes beauty and connectivity. In their seventh record, All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us, post-hardcore/metal outfit Architects seamlessly find the compromise of those two types of metal.
After a decade of evolution, Architects have settled on a sound that's hard to wrap your head around. It's definitely metal, but somewhere along the lines, they formed something new. The music on All Our Gods is giant, atmospheric, and crushing while still being melodic and technical. It's as hard as it is to explain as it is to comprehend. All that's clear is that it's brilliant.
There is no break on this record. It's 46 minutes of unadulterated intensity and raw emotion. This album begs for multiple listens; once through for the epic instrumentals, and a second to appreciate the lyrical work on it. Vocally, this may be Architects' best material yet. Sam Carter brings out amazing melodies in his violent screams (giving the music tastes of melodic death metal) while still finding moments in between to bring in softer moments. 'Deathwish' is perhaps the most impressive vocal and lyrical moment on the album, the chorus admitting "I know you know we’ve been living a lie… We’ve passed the point of no return… We just want to watch the world burn." Looking beyond the lyrics, you can find huge melodic screams and a sung bridge, a moment of reprieve from the blistering intensity of this unforgiving album. 'Gone With The Wind' brings in more killer vocals - the chorus melodies soar to different heights and the bridge provides a moment of consideration of the lyrics, before the powerful instrumental and giant vocals return.
More noticeably epic and groundbreaking than the vocals are the incredible instrumentals found on each song. There is not a dull moment on any track whatsoever - every note is another punch to the face and every word is taken to heart. Straight from the beginning, this becomes apparent, with opener 'Nihilist' begrudgingly opening with some of the most intense screaming found on the record, with a reprimanding and brutal instrumental to back it. Epic guitars found on 'Phantom Fear' back up the absolutely crushing outro to the song - a start-stop djent breakdown that'll send you into an abyss. The eight-minute epic conclusion to the record, 'Memento Mori' is as dark as the title and length may suggest. There's something brilliantly dark found within the guitar synth that begins the song, a seemingly unimportant moment, yet so unforgettable and demanding at the same time. What separates this song from the rest (besides the qualities that can be gathered before the song even begins) is that it highlights the electronic aspect of the album. The album's electronic backgrounds are arguably just as important as the massive guitars and double bass kicks that make up the foreground - it's like the Hybrid Theory of 2016; the album loses an entire level of power without the electronics. The entire song builds up and progresses until it reaches its gentle climax, but each section of the song has a new offering that needs careful listening for a full appreciation. It's a perfect ending to an album of this caliber.
I found the center of the album to be a level down from the beginning and end, there's a song at the core of the album that really ties it all together: 'A Match Made In Heaven'. The album seems to refuse the idea of hooks and memorable choruses in order to give it its appeal, but this song seems to tread towards the playability aspect a little more closely. The chorus is anthemic and just powerful enough to not be forgotten. The song itself sums up the album, and what makes Architects so great, in a perfect way. Raw intensity of the vocals paired with a slew of technical riffs make the song a whole different force. In an album full of unforgiving and unorthodox songs, this song ties in a more modern structure with the different elements found dispersed in songs that accompany it.
Architects set a new precedent for modern metal bands with All Our Gods. It sounds familiar, yet it's not quite like anything you've ever heard before. For those who don't like the reprimanding lyrics or technicality of the instrumentals, this may not be the album for you. But even if that's not something you can get down with, this is an album that cannot be skipped - it's an instant classic for metal. In the beauty of its crushing atmosphere and rampant riffage, part of you that begs for rebellion and desire comes out. This album, while brutal, is capturing and comes from a disposition we've all shared. Architects is like fine wine - they get better with age. They've changed the game with this record, we may not be ready for what's to come next.
Favorite Tracks: Memento Mori, A Match Made In Heaven, Deathwish, Phantom Fear
Least Favorite Track: The Empty Hourglass
Top 10 Albums Of 2016 (so far):
- Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
- AURORA - All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend
- Panic! At The Disco - Death Of A Bachelor
- Deftones - Gore
- Dream Theater - The Astonishing
- Foxes - All I Need
- Daughter - Not To Disappear
- Thrice - To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere
- Architects - All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
- Lacey Sturm - Life Screams