Architects, For Those That Wish To Exist
Good Lord, it’s enough to plague a Saint… in their most innovative record to date, Architects are here with a guttural cry of existential dread. Be it eco-awareness, echo chambers or notions of false prophets, For Those That Wish To Exist is a bleak, twisted selection of socially conscious hymns. Intense instrumentals meld with floating, ethereal soundscapes gorgeously, resulting in a form of chapel metalcore – equal parts bitter and sweet. While this album may initially seem softer than previous releases, the emotional intensity more than makes up for it; For Those That Wish To Exist is an album that will slowly sink into your bones, impossibly poignant and culturally crucial.
Rather than immediately bursting through your speakers, opener Do You Dream Of Armageddon takes a moment to build tension. A beautiful, choir-like sensation is captured, with light instrumentals and heavenly vocals. It’s in the same realm as 2013’s Daybreaker opener, The Bitter End, growing slowly, beautifully drawing you into the album – all before crashing into the absolutely lethal Black Lungs, with its meaty drums, cutting vocals and scorching bass.
And, boy, does this album have some scorchers. Animals is textbook Architects, fine-tuned to perfection, and Meteor is much the same – mighty guitars and booming drums make Carter’s calls of “I should be moving mountains” impossibly powerful. Giving Blood is also lethal, with one of the most bouncy drumbeats on the album – this is a song that will be stupidly fun live.
Feature tracks are also some of the heaviest on the album; Winston McCall clearly brought Parkway Drive’s ferocity along with him when recording Impermanence, as it is a total stand-out, truly ravenous from start to finish. Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro’s feature on Goliath is equally as fierce, and his performance is positively unholy – his voice coils and thrives on the track, growing to become harsh, piercing screeches that are absolutely show-stopping.
Mike Kerr’s feature on Little Wonder is a definite change of tone – mainly due to how much it could genuinely be a Royal Blood track. The sound leans more towards hard rock throughout, but that’s not a bad thing; Architects have never confined themselves to one sound, and they aren’t going to start now. This diverse sound results in some fabulous tracks: An Ordinary Extinction’s backbone feels almost video-game-esque, a pulsing electronic club beat recurring throughout, while the hypnotic Dead Butterflies and the enrapturing Demi God have truly Muse-esque openings.
Lyrically, this album is also sharp – the social commentary is striking and imagery is hard-hitting. Discourse Is Dead, for example, has some brilliant lyricisms thrown around, critiquing the tremulous nature of discourse and how we end up “chewing off our tongues” rather than speaking up. However, there are a some less impactful lyrical choices – notably in Libertine, a track that is deliciously BOOMING, with gruelling verses and some of Carter’s best vocals on the album… but the repetition of “we are the rust worshipping the rain” does fall a bit flat. Demi God is also a delicious track, a true high-point with lines like the glorious “I keep on preaching but I’m so phony holy’…yet to choose “I’m still sinking like a stone” as the lyrical crux? With such a rich plethora of lyrics, these two lines do somewhat trip up the tracks, if only for a moment.
But this by no means takes away from the pure musical prowess on show. Architects’ forte has always been their ability to shift between soft and sharp soundscapes, and their power lies in this reluctance to restrict themselves. Choir-like vocals and strings linger in the background of seemingly every track, softness constantly interwoven with ferocity. Certain tracks are unflinchingly vulnerable, not relying on any heaviness to pack a punch; Flight Without Feathers in particular is delicate and impossibly liminal, with a muted bassline pulsing behind Carter’s gentle vocals. The result is heavenly, and it sounds as if the track is filling a vast church, echoing hypnotically. Closer Dying Is Absolutely Safe is equally as ethereal, a reflective confessional, building to a fan-fare like growing of instrumentals and a crescendo of angelic vocals. We start the album in an empty church, and end on a confessional, near-holy form of acceptance… what a journey.
For Those That Wish To Exist, to put it simply, is glorious. The instrumentals are far-reaching and gorgeous, and Sam Carter’s vocals are faultless – the man can switch between clean and unclean vocals like nobody’s business. Architects are at the head of metalcore for a reason – and, if they’re still knocking out tracks this fresh nine albums in, it seems like their crown isn’t going to budge any time soon.
For Those That Wish To Exist is out tomorrow. Pre-order here.