Architects have constantly delivered some powerful, heartwrenching records full of thrill and anger. Ever since the passing of guitarist Tom Searle, their music has had an extra level of pain added to that music, and that’s come through on their newest record. Architects reach a new level of pain in Holy Hell, their first album to not feature their late guitarist.
Drummer Dan Searle (brother of Tom Searle) and new guitarist Josh Middleton man most of the songwriting, so the loss of Tom definitely comes through powerfully in Holy Hell. The entire idea of Holy Hell is what it’s like going through pain, and there is a very stark representation of it in the album. Opening track ‘Death Is Not Defeat‘ brings the record to a huge and dramatic start, the band already roaring with this heavy, sluggish drive that hits you hard but still feels impossibly thick. That vibe is very evident in tracks like the hellish title track ‘Holy Hell‘ and the unstoppably heavy ‘Doomsday.’ Even ‘Mortal After All‘ comes with this impending sense of doom that’s very hard to shake: this all sprouts from the pain of losing Tom Searle.
Beyond the heaviness of the album, there’s an atmosphere to it that really helps capture other aspects of mourning and pain. Single ‘Hereafter‘ has huge verses that provide for the anger, but come with beautiful melodies in the choruses that adds a sense of desperation to the already established pain. ‘Damnation‘ is full of big vocals and dynamic instrumentation, while the jagged, giant, and thrilling riffs of ‘The Seventh Circle‘ provide for a bit more energy. The beautiful atmosphere of ‘Royal Beggars‘ and ‘Modern Misery‘ bring a feeling of being very lost in their suffering, making the record evermore human. ‘A Wasted Hymn‘ ends the record in a big way, combining all of the emotions into one summative ending. Even as angry as Architects may appear on the surface, there’s a world of complex emotions interwoven into Holy Hell.
Architects reach a new level of pain in Holy Hell, diving deep into their mourning and depression following the passing of their guitarist. Architects have always dug into their emotions when releasing records, whether its the hopelessness of Holy Hell or the inescapable nature of mortality in 2016’s All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us. This band constantly delivers some of the most powerful material of any artist, and they haven’t stopped providing on that end.
Rest in peace, Tom Searle.
Favorite Tracks: Hereafter, The Seventh Circle, Royal Beggars, Holy Hell
Least Favorite Track: Dying To Heal
Rating: 84 / 100
Stream or buy Holy Hell on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: