Back in 2009 (seems so long ago now doesn’t it?), Architects unleashed a real sabre tooth tiger into the “metalcore” genre with the blisteringly abrasive “Hollow Crown“. An album armed with riffing that repeatedly kicked you in the ‘nads twinned with vocals that could only come from a truly sandblasted throat. So, when a band who have such ability and cannons, mention their new album “will be nothing like anything they have ever done before”… forgive us at TINAS for taking a collective and concerned sharp intake of breath.
Okay, so it isn’t “Hollow Crown“, and it doesn’t pretend to be, but we needn’t have worried because Architects have still delivered the goods with “The Here And Now“. Whilst not quite adopting the “HC” opening approach of bludgeon everything in sight with “Early Grave“, “The Here And Now” still starts with a bang. “Day In Day Out” sets the stall out early for the “new” direction, Sam Carter still spews out half a lungful of gravel with his vocals, and there’s still huge slices of gut punching riffs, but it’s now all wrapped up in a much more commercial soundscape.
Infectious gang vocals are shoved in your face, so much so, you can easily imagine a pogo driven crowd hogging the barrier at live shows. The overall brutality and abrasiveness is more subdued and Architects are becoming more melodic and groove laden, adding a saccharine coating to their sound, think more along the lines of Funeral For a Friend rather than Dillinger. “Learn To Live” carries the baton further into the “new direction”, it’s got a highly polished crunch, and yes it does border on almost generic “radio metalcore”, plus if you heard the track on its own you wouldn’t immediately think Architects. “Delete Rewind” pulls it back to more familiar territory though, clutching at the sound of old, frenetic fretwork and blood vessel bursting vocals.
The album wavers from elements of old to the new. The old familiar Architects thrust “The Blues” and “Stay Young Forever” down your throat, and the new Architects serve “An Open Letter To Myself” and “BTN” on highly polished radio friendly platters. It’s all swings and roundabouts, but that’s what progression is about, and these boys are not ones for standing still.
With “The Here And Now”, Architects have given us an album marking their evolution. It seems such a long time ago since we first heard the technical mathcore shenanigans from the likes of “Ruin“, and now only shadows of that sound exist.
On the whole this is a solid enjoyable album, and a great release for the start of the year, mixing elements of the old and the new. Perhaps this is a bold step towards creating a wider mass market commercial appeal, and it could well be a move that pays off. On the flipside though, could this be a move that removes Architects distinct identity and throws the guys into the sea of generic commercial metalcore? Will this be an album that people return to again and again like “Hollow Crown“? Only time will tell, but right now we’re living in “The Here And Now” and we’re liking what we’re hearing.