Architects - For Those That Wish To Exist review


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Band: Architects
Album: For Those That Wish To Exist
Release date: February 2021

01. Do You Dream Of Armageddon?
02. Black Lungs
03. Giving Blood
04. Discourse Is Dead
05. Dead Butterflies
06. An Ordinary Extinction
07. Impermanence [feat. Winston McCall]
08. Flight Without Feathers
09. Little Wonder [feat. Mike Kerr]
10. Animals
11. Libertine
12. Goliath [feat. Simon Neil]
13. Demi God
14. Meteor
15. Dying Is Absolutely Safe

It's a new sound for Architects, but it's still not one that'll win me over.

I should theoretically really like Architects: probably more than most of the reviewers here, I have an interest for the melodic metalcore scene that Architects find themselves towards the front of. Add to that them now featuring one of my favorite musicians in Josh Middleton (Sylosis), who replaced Tom Searle following the latter's tragic young death in 2016, and the fact that the sound on their first album with Middleton, Holy Hell, leant towards a progressive metalcore sound with a mixture of technicality and hooky immediacy comparable to that found on Polaris's The Mortal Coil, one of my most enjoyed metalcore albums of the past decade, and I should've been all over it and Architects. However, whilst I can see the merits of that album, and certain songs on it in particular, I didn't truly click with it, nor the albums that preceded it. Still, when I heard mixed reactions in response to this new album, For Those That Wish To Exist, I was curious to see what was up, and whether it might lend itself to me connecting more easily with the album.

So, what's different here and what's the verdict? I mentioned in the previous paragraph that Holy Hell had a progressive-leaning metalcore sound; whilst I wouldn't put it in with djent-based metalcore bands like Monuments or Periphery, it did feature some of that low-end punch, as well as a healthy amount of technical skill and songwriting complexity alongside its more immediate hooks and choruses. The same cannot be said for For Those That Wish To Exist; songs like "Black Lungs" and "Giving Blood" are definitely metalcore, but progressive they are not, with dialed-down guitar work, straightforward rhythms and a greater emphasis on simplicity, with Sam Carter's vocals taking on an even more central role.

These songs feel designed to be accessible and approachable, for better or worse; as a Killswitch Engage fan, this is by no means a turnoff for me in and of itself, and I do think that Architects demonstrate themselves more than capable of delivering competent songs in this style on For Those That Wish To Exist. However, there is a touch of blandness to quite a few of these tracks; particularly given the length of the album (15 songs across 58 minutes) and Carter's narrow vocal range (in terms of tone), the memorability and engagement does decline as the album progresses.

As far as the heaviness of previous albums goes, there's a pretty substantial decline, but that's partly due to another new aspect of this album, namely the increased focus on electronics. I've seen Bring Me The Horizon namedropped as a band that have undergone a similar musical transformation to the one Architects are going through here, although as someone who has almost completely avoided everything that BMTH has done, I can't delve further into that comparison. However, the electronics come through in two main ways here. On the one hand, you have the metalcore tracks that use the electronics as a filling component ("Dead Butterflies") or leading element ("An Ordinary Extinction") in the mix, whether expanding the sound of the chorus, fleshing out the softer segments or adding a different spin on one of the primary riffs. On the other end, you have the tracks that either partially or completely eschew the metalcore for an alternative sound, with "Flight Without Feathers" being the most drastic example of this, doing away entirely with the rest of the band in favor of just vocals and electronic soundscape. On top of the electronics, there's also use of synths and choirs to dramatize sections of certain songs.

So with all of this put together, there's been a fairly substantial shift in approach here, but does it work to the band's benefit or detriment? I can certainly see this being a polarizing record for fans, but as someone who wasn't previously taken by Architects, I feel like the material here is, for the style they're aiming for, similarly competent yet unexceptional. I'd say the 'experiments' towards more electronic or alternative territory are mixed; "Animals" is very much a 6/10 song, doing nothing wrong and being vaguely memorable without doing much to excite, but "Little Wonder" (featuring Mike Kerr of Royal Blood, one of several guest vocalists here), is for my money one of the highlights here, with its up-tempo rhythm, memorable vocal hooks and fun synths.

Overall, I think the album is broadly successful at delivering what it's aiming to be, and should give the band some crossover appeal with non-metal crowds. For me though, it makes for a very middling listening experience, with a lack of truly engaging or exciting moments, which isn't helped by the choruses all feeling rooted on the same couple of notes, causing them to somewhat blend together. For Those That Wish To Exist is an inoffensive and easy listen, but also one that's made relatively little impact on me across its numerous tracks.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 7


Written on 04.03.2021 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 2   Visited by: 77 users
04.03.2021 - 09:18
I enjoyed their previous two a lot more. Even so, I think they're more enjoyable than a lot of their peers.
Serenity is no longer wishing you had a different past.

2021 goodies
04.03.2021 - 14:53

Written by RaduP on 04.03.2021 at 09:18

I enjoyed their previous two a lot more. Even so, I think they're more enjoyable than a lot of their peers.

I've tried Holy Hell quite a few times because adding melodic metalcore + Josh Middleton should result in something I really like, but apart from the Doomsday song, none of it's really clicked with me. I can kinda see why they're so popular, but for progressive metalcore I'm more inclined towards something like Erra or perhaps Northlane

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