Artist Architects Album Holy Hell Label Epitaph
In 2016, Brighton metalcore giants Architects were sent reeling when founder guitarist and songwriter, Tom Searle – brother of drummer Dan – died of skin cancer, aged 28. Two years on, the surviving sibling describes the band’s eighth album (the first since Searle’s death) as being “about pain: the way we process it, cope with it and live with it”. Rather than succumb to despair, the album comes hurtling out of the traps, offering what the surviving Searle hopes will be “a light at the end of the tunnel for people who are going through terrible experiences”.
Tragedy has also brought realignment, with new guitarist Josh Middleton and a shift from political/ environmental to more personal themes. Royal Beggars could still double as social commentary, but the songs otherwise address the stages of grieving, from shock to a gradual acceptance, with raw candour. As vocalist Sam Carter screams: “I wasn’t braced for the fallout.” Musically, they’ve pushed their own boundaries. The brutal bits are more savage, the gentler bits more reflective, and there are occasional almost classical textures. The songs’ difficult birth has given them a bracing, anthemic, heartfelt and occasionally dreamlike quality. Architects aren’t a band for anyone with sensitive hearing, but it’s hard not to be moved by this loud, cathartic howl.