Brighton heroes AR­CHI­TECTS make a heart­felt re­turn.

Holy Hell

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Contents -

EPI­TAPH

Brighton’s me­tal heroes emerge from the af­ter­math of loss

Ear­liEr than Ev­Ery­onE was ex­pect­ing, Ar­chi­tects re­turn with their first full-length since the tragic death of gui­tarist Tom Searle in 2016. A vi­sion­ary tal­ent, Tom was the back­bone of Ar­chi­tects’ song­writ­ing, and a key fig­ure in el­e­vat­ing them to the up­per ech­e­lons of Bri­tish me­tal with their vis­ceral yet poignant an­thems of de­fi­ance and sur­vival – themes that per­me­ate through­out new al­bum Holy Hell.

Tom is very much a part of this record, not least in the emo­tion­ally dev­as­tat­ing

Dooms­day, which he co-wrote, but for the very real, pal­pa­ble sense of sor­row and strug­gle puls­ing through the al­bum’s veins.

Ar­chi­tects shed their skin, bare all and un­leash two years’ worth of grief that’s been bot­tled up in­side. It’s ther­apy, it’s cathar­sis, ex­or­cis­ing de­mons though 11 tracks of metal­lic may­hem steeped in sad­ness and ag­gres­sion to­ward the worst mo­ment of their lives. Each songti­tle re­lates to reli­gion or death, al­most sar­cas­ti­cally sug­gest­ing that even faith can’t stop the in­evitable. Drum­mer Dan Searle has said that Holy

Hell is about pain, and the lyrics ex­plore this con­cept in many forms. Lead sin­gle

Here­after high­lights the weak­ness and heartache felt by the band, ‘fight­ing with

bro­ken bones’ and spend­ing ‘my fair share in

the deep­est depths of de­spair,’ but this dis­play of fragility shows the band’s will­ing­ness to con­tinue, through strength and unity, know­ing that – as the open­ing track states – death is not de­feat. You can hear the an­guish in Sam Carter’s voice as he sings th­ese words, but also an un­der­ly­ing re­silience, never giv­ing up, shred­ding his lar­ynx with barbed-wire screams and ex­pan­sive cho­ruses guar­an­teed to fill any room Ar­chi­tects walk in to. yEt Holy Hell is not a di­rect con­tin­u­a­tion from All Our Gods Have

Aban­doned Us, in­ten­si­fy­ing the Go­jira and

Meshug­gah-style in­stru­men­ta­tion, giv­ing the record a fre­netic, more techy edge on the likes of Dam­na­tion be­fore Modern Mis­ery comes in with a riff de­signed to make you ‘do the face’. Those want­ing a se­lec­tion of lung­burst­ing met­al­core an­thems might have to work a lit­tle harder to get the most out of Holy Hell, as it’s not as ac­ces­si­ble as the pre­vi­ous two records and lyri­cally it can be a hard lis­ten; this is a record as heavy son­i­cally as it is on the soul.

The band also in­tro­duce elec­tronic and string el­e­ments through­out the al­bum, util­is­ing high-end pro­duc­tion to add fur­ther depth to their ev­ere­volv­ing sound, try­ing to just scratch the sur­face of what they’re feel­ing. But don’t go think­ing this is main­stream­bait­ing; it’s a me­tal record, es­pe­cially when the sy­napse-shat­ter­ing subtwo-minute The Sev­enth Cir­cle snaps your neck into pieces.

Holy Hell isn’t the best Ar­chi­tects al­bum, but it doesn’t have to be. It de­vi­ates away from the pre­vi­ous two al­bums into some­thing more frac­tured, miss­ing the mark at times, but still able to de­liver knock­out blows when it counts. As Sam sings he’ll ‘al­ways carry the cross’ on closer

A Wasted Hymn, the emo­tional force of the pre­vi­ous 40 min­utes strikes in the chest, flood­ing all senses, high­light­ing just how much of Tom is in this al­bum and in Ar­chi­tects.

It’s not per­fect, but it’s a vic­tory.

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