Architects is a band that has been consistent and prolific throughout their 12 year career. However, it has been over the past two years that they have faced some major adversity. In August of 2016, the band lost founding member and guitarist Tom Searle to skin cancer at the age of 28.
They went silent for over a year before releasing their first new material since Tom’s passing, when they put out “Doomsday” as a single. Through all this pain and over a year after that, Architects released the best album of their career with Holy Hell.
In the first listen through Architects’ eighth studio release, it is abundantly clear that the band put their heart and soul into every single aspect of the album. Sam Carter’s vocals through the entire listening experience are full of passion and pain. This is also the band’s first album that features Sylosis guitarist Josh Middleton.
This album is a good mix between classic Architects with songs like “Hereafter”, “Doomsday”, and “Dying to Heal”. The combination of the production work by Adam Nolly Getgood and the influence of Middleton creates some of the heaviest riffs ever on an Architects record. Songs like “Mortal After All”, “Holy Hell”, and “Modern Misery” showcase that Architects does not always have to be technical to make an impact on the listener. Those heavy, pissed off riffs combine with Carter’s vocals to evoke emotion from the audience.
Something that stuck out to me before I even began listening to the record was the track “The Seventh Circle”. It came in with a runtime of just 1:49. I assumed that it was just going to be an atmospheric bridge track to lead from “Dying to Heal” to “Doomsday.”
Boy, was I wrong. That track comes in with fists flying. Dan Searle’s feet are pounding his double pedals and the riff that Middleton and Adam Christianson play oozes Gojira vibes. Carter screams his guts out on the track, as he does throughout the album. It is a furious song that comes in and gets out quickly and effectively.
To close out the album, Architects put together a deeply emotional finale. “A Wasted Hymn” is sad, pleading, but not hopeless. The orchestra that runs under most of the track adds another element that we haven’t heard much of from the band before.
It plays on the emotions of the listener for a final time and ends the album on a note that leaves room for more in the history of Architects.
This album is the best of Architects’ career. It’s emotional, heavy, and grooving. The passion is palpable in Dan Searle’s drumming and Carter’s vocals especially. The band was hit hard by Tom’s passing, but put out a phenomenal album that would make him extremely proud of where Architects is going.
Essential Tracks: “Hereafter,” “Mortal After All,” “Holy Hell,” “Modern Misery,” “The Seventh Circle,” “A Wasted Hymn.”