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It’s not pos­si­ble to sep­a­rate this al­bum from the tragedy it has fol­lowed. The de­spair and anger echo here from the death of gui­tarist and main writer Tom Searle in 2016, but Holy Hell’s mer­its aren’t de­fined by the band’s un­de­ni­able strength in re­group­ing and con­tin­u­ing on. They’ve made a record wor­thy of Tom’s high stan­dards. Sy­lo­sis chief, new re­cruit Josh Mid­dle­ton and Adam Chris­tian­son craft ir­re­sistible groove and even am­bi­ence un­der what could have been a pre­car­i­ous bal­ance of Sam Carter’s emo­tional and fu­ri­ous vo­cal per­for­mance with a new level of an­themic hooks. The year’s most af­fect­ing metal record also af­firms Architects’ up­wards tra­jec­tory. Rob Laing

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