ARCHITECTS - 'For Those That Wish To Exist' Album Review
1. Do You Dream Of Armageddon?
2. Black Lungs
3. Giving Blood
4. Discourse Is Dead
5. Dead Butterflies
6. An Ordinary Extinction
7. Impermanence ft. Winston McCall
8. Flight Without Feathers
9. Little Wonder ft. Mike Kerr
12. Goliath ft. Simon Neil
13. Demi God
15. Dying Is Absolutely Safe
British Metalcore outfit ARCHITECTS are back with their ninth studio album, 'For Those That Wish To Exist', through Epitaph records.
The album’s intro, ‘Do You Dream Of Armageddon?’, sets the album up perfectly, introducing the more symphonic elements that will follow, before giving way to the massive second single, ‘Black Lungs’. A massive riff from lead guitarist Josh Middleton comes crashing in, complementing Sam Carter’s harsh vocals perfectly. It shows a new direction that is explored more on the rest of the album with the orchestral strings behind the riff, but they don’t lose any aggression, especially with the massive breakdown. The entire band is in perfect harmony throughout the entire track, and in particular in the final seconds of the song.
‘Giving Blood’ begins with a high pitched riff, before giving way to a fast paced drum beat from Dan Searle, before the riff comes crashing right back in. The song shows off Sam Carter’s impressive screams and growls, whilst also showing a softer side in the pre-choruses and the bridge, switching between the two styles seamlessly. It shows a vulnerability which the band have explored before, but they really take it and run in this instance.
Track four, ‘Discourse Is Dead’, begins in a more electronic style, before elevating things with a signature ARCHITECTS riff, once again backed with strings. The chorus on this track is absolutely huge, with Carter’s vocals soaring (whilst maintaining a hint of grit), before giving way to a chugging riff and Carter’s phenomenal screams. It's reminiscent of what Bring Me The Horizon were doing in the 'That’s The Spirit' era, particularly their Royal Albert Hall gig with the London Philharmonic, but gives it an extra edge that combines the heavier elements in a more polished way that I didn’t think was possible.
‘An Ordinary Extinction’ is one of the standout tracks on the album for me. It combines electronics with heavy riffs in a similar style to Mick Gordon’s Doom soundtrack, whilst also showing a softer side. The guitars are low and heavy in places, soft and atmospheric in others, whilst also giving Bassist Alex Dean an opportunity to shine. Searle’s drumming is immense, lending an extra element of weight to the track, and the breakdown combines everything in the track together in one; heavy riffs, clean vocals, electronic programming, strings and phenomenal drumming. It's a perfect summation of the entire album.
I feel the album really shines with its featured artists, the first track of this trilogy being ‘Impermanence’, which features Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall. I feel like this song is the best bits of both bands wrapped into one neat, heavy package. The influence of PD is more than apparent in the riffs and drums, whilst the boys in ARCHITECTS put their own unique spin on it. McCall comes in just before the breakdown, with the honour of the breakdown vocals going to him. The callout beforehand: “Do you really wanna live forever? Because who’s afraid to die will never truly live” really resonates, and shows what ARCHITECTS are all about perfectly.
The second track with a feature is ‘Little Wonder’, which features Mike Kerr of Royal Blood. This one has a more stadium Hard Rock feel to it, but it doesn’t lose any of the impact that the rest of the album has, as the riffs are still a standout, mixed with more heavy synth and synth-esque bass from Alex Dean, as well as another fantastic breakdown. It really gets heavier in the final section of the song, but the only downside for me is that we don’t get more of this, and Kerr perhaps isn’t given as much room to show off as possible.
The third and final feature comes in the form of 'Goliath', which is graced by the voice of Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro. Now I might be a tad biased with my adoration of Biffy, but this is my favourite track on the album. It is an absolute goliath of a track (pun very much intended), being one of the heaviest and certainly most fast paced on the entire album. Each member is given an opportunity to shine, and nobody gets overshadowed. Simon Neil’s part is breathtaking, combining his usual softer side with an absolutely magnificent scream that we’ve seldom heard before, becoming a man possessed towards the tail end of the track. I would certainly describe this as a career defining performance, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it became one of the band’s biggest tracks.
The album ends on a slower, more downbeat note with ‘Dying Is Absolutely Safe’, a track that utilises the strings beautifully behind acoustic guitars, pianos and Carter’s beautiful clean vocals. This is definitely a different side to ARCHITECTS that we’ve never really seen before, but they pull it off so well. It’s the longest track on the album, almost acting as a funeral song, but it is absolutely beautiful (and I don’t use that lightly). Near the end it swells, using the orchestra to its full potential, before ending on more jagged feedback songs with electronic vocals. It is the perfect way to round out this album.
I know many people have had their doubts about this album so far, but the album as a whole will definitely prove them wrong. It combines the hurt and sorrow of 'Holy Hell' with the sheer, unfiltered aggression of their first three albums. For me, this is the definitive ARCHITECTS record, showing how much they’ve grown and learned over their seventeen years as a band. It’s as close to perfect as humanly possible, and I will never stop praising them, or 'Goliath', until the day I die.
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Review - Gordon Rae