Monday, 28 May 2012

Review: Architects - Daybreaker

 After broadening their typically mind-blowingly heavy metalcore sound into more melodic territory on last years The Here and Now, Brighton's Architects, a band that until then had often been simply overlooked behind their Sheffield friends in Bring Me the Horizon, found themselves achieving a much wider fanbase and gaining a new examination in the mainstream eye. But at what expense did it come at? There were ballads to be found, the members added influences from the likes of Coldplay and Kings of Leon to their influences from the likes of Botch, Decapitated and Deftones and began to see a slit within their loyal fanbase towards the album. All of this made the album's release and promotion a less enjoyable experience for the band. It's clearly time they rediscover the heavy once more.

 And on their fifth album Daybreaker, they've achieved just that. As The Bitter End opens with a range of orchestral backdrops to set listeners at unease before transcending into a triumphant explosion of monolithic metallic breakdowns, it's obvious that they've returned with brutality as their main priority and by the time frontman Sam Carter furiously screams "You say we'll burn in  Hell/ Spiteful preacher, I know you well" on Alpha Omega, it's clear that the Architects that made 2009's Hollow Crown a must-have in modern metal are back on staggering form.
 Of course, there is still a large amount of more melodic moments on the album as there ever has been with Architects and in these melodic moments, filled with lush ambient and orchestral backdrops heard in Behind the Throne,which in it's verses is like a digital Alcest and the atmospheric arrangement of tear-jerking closer Unbeliever, they have been improved upon as well. But for Daybreaker, it's the heaviness that's the focus is put on. The earthly bass of Alex Dean that pilots guitar work from Tom Searle and Tim Hillier-Brook, whose Architects album this will be the last for, into the ground with thudding density. It makes the crushing displays of solid riffage on Daybreak, featuring some stellar lead guitar  and These Colours Don't Run highlights of the album. In fact the breakdown of These Colours may be one of the musical highlights of 2012. These relentless assaults of charged up metallic adrenaline fueled by pure spite and and fury, as Carter tackles subjects regarding religion, greed and our admittedly disgraceful state of society. It's heavy as hell undeniably. Performances on the likes of Outsider Heart and Devil's Island give Meshuggah a run for their money. Don't hurt me pure metalheads.
 So solid are the pounding performance of Tom and Dan Searle, Brook, Dean and the impenetrable vocals of Carter, not even the guest appearances from their Sheffield pal Oli Sykes on Even If You Win, You're Still a Rat can make it a highlight, which I was looking forward to the most. As much as I love Sykes, his lending of his loose growling pales in comparison to Architects' storming performance. Don't worry I still love Bring Me the Horizon. Oli's just sounding a little weakened here. Should say, Sykes has a thing for returning favours. Having collaborated with You Me at Six and now Architects after both their frontman appeared on BMTH albums, he's cool with re-appearing on their material. I eagerly await his appearance on the next Lights album. The appearance of Drew York of Stray From the Path on Outsider Heart is much more gripping as his tones of desperation make the song a more pulsing, alive experience.
 So, if Architects wanted to come back heavier, they've certainly achieved it on Daybreaker. The intense performance across the album is filled with blistering heaviness with forceful breakdowns made of stone. But even the more melodic moments are perfected to a tee and the striking contrast between the lush atmospheric and roughened riffs is an even more enticing prospect. Whether this album will bring back their original fanbase or not remains to be seen, but I seriously imagine that on a personal level Architects can hold their heads up high with this one.

 Architects' Daybreaker is out now via Century Media. The band will play at the London Garage on the 6th  June with Heights and Last Witness and at the Vans Warped Tour on the 10th November.

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