ARCHITECTS - Holy Hell
November 11, 2018, a month ago
2016’s All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us was both a critical and commercial success for UK metalcore mainstay Architects, the album a strong testament to metalcore done impeccably right. On that point though, it’s always struck me as pretty weird that Architects gets stuck with the “metalcore” description, because the band’s style is filled with far more substance than the maligned metalcore term represents. It’s true that Architects is modern sounding and a fusion of metal and ‘core/djent stuff, but the group’s albums are, generally, well-written heavy music that just so happen to sound like the era they’re performed in. Which kind of sounds logical, no?
But the semantics of sounds and scenes become utterly unimportant when we all stop to realize that Architects’ return in 2018 with new album Holy Hell is its first effort since the death of guitar player and founding member Tom Searle to melanoma at the way, way too early age of 28 in 2016. Holy Hell’s first single, “Doomsday”, includes material written by Searle before his death, which makes both the track and Holy Hell in its totality just so sad and showing, once again, that life’s fragility is to be understood and appreciated at every moment (“every day is a gift,” they say, and that’s the truest thing we’ll ever hear). “Doomday”’s main riff is rad, and the aural equivalent of that sentiment. According to the band, Searle’s ideas and riffs are indeed all over Holy Hell.
So, yes, it comes as no surprise that Holy Hell is an ambitious collection. The album takes All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’ sound and style and then launches it into many next levels. Which is to say the riffs here are massive and sophisticated, while the keyboards that have added so much texture on past albums play an even more ominous role, which works very well. And, despite treading into a whole bunch of latter-day Bring Me The Horizon moments on Holy Hell, Architects is to be commended for keeping the songs caustic and not succumbing to the potentially very lucrative Horizons these tracks could have logically concluded at.
Which is to say that Holy Hell is the most worthy follow-up to All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us that Architects could have possibly written. This latest album harnesses all of Architects’ talent, drive, potential, and ability and lays it out in an effort that might one day be seen as this band’s top-of-the-mountain moment.