British tech-metal heroes Architects have been one of modern metal’s greatest success stories. Starting out in the mid-00s as part of the UK’s underground hardcore scene, the Brighton band have experienced triumphs, missteps, victories and, with the death of guitarist Tom Searle in 2018, literal loss during their journey to becoming and influential, arena-headlining powerhouse. Their back catalogue is studded with highlights, but which is highest? Here's all eight Architects albums to date ranked from worst to best.
9. Nightmares (2006)
The band's debut album, and only release to feature original vocalist Matt Johnson, is a decent enough math-core album, and probably does enough to be considered a very good record when considered alongside the company it was keeping at the time. Obviously though, Architects have a far higher level of quality in their discography than many other bands, and in the context of 2021, it feels much more like an interesting curio than an essential release. Still, if you are a fan of early Dillinger Escape Plan or long for the days of Johnny Truant and Beecher, the likes of Minesweeper will put a smile on your face for sure.
8. The Here And Now (2011)
Architects' only real, genuine career misstep — an album that knocked them down the pecking order, only to have them recover spectacularly a year later. The Here And Now isn’t actually a bad record by any stretch of imagination, but it does see the band not playing to their strengths with enough regularity. The punkier likes of Delete, Rewind aren’t rubbish, but the fantastic riff and pace of the song is somewhat undermined by a far too sickly-sweet chorus, and the emo tinged An Open Letter To Myself just feels weird on an Architects record. The band deserve great credit for refusing to stagnate and for taking a risk, but on this occasion, it didn’t quite pay off.
7. Ruin (2007)
The band’s first album with vocalist Sam Carter and a considerable step up from debut album Nightmares. Gone were the more blatant Dillinger-worshiping parts, and in their place comes a more metallic, weightier sound, and a far more dynamically interesting level of darkness. Obviously, bringing in a world class vocalist like Carter was always going to help things, but the production of the riffs on a song like the sublime Heartless pointed Architects in the right direction. Still very much worth your time.
6. Daybreaker (2012)
An integral step on the road to where they are now, Daybreaker came after the confusion surrounding the aftermath of The Here And Now, and helped to address the downward curve immediately. The opening The Bitter End may have had fans thinking that Architects were doubling down on their more melodic tendencies, but as soon as the wonderfully anthemic and superbly heavy Alpha Omega replaces it, any worry you may have had vanishes. It was also the point in the band’s career where their music began to reflect the political and socio-political nature of the member's beliefs. They may have gone on to better it, but Daybreaker is an essential part of the Architects story.
5. Holy Hell (2018)
In the aftermath of the tragic death of band leader Tom Searle, Architects had to regroup and start again. The results of that traumatic period can be heard on Holy Hell — a sorrow filled, soaring, yet ultimately beautiful record. Far more melodic, and with a new found sheen in production, Holy Hell stretched Architects into broader sonic realms, and a perfectly paid tribute to Tom, both as man and musician. In the years since the album’s release, pretty much every metal core band on the planet have had a go at ripping off the incredible Doomsday, all of who have failed miserably.
4. For Those That Wish to Exist (2021)
The 2020s was a decade of highs and lows for Architects – one that saw them impacted by tragedy as their star rose to stellar new levels. Their first album of the new decade tweaks the formula laid down on predecessor Holy Hell rather than reinventing it, embracing their status as an arena band, doubling down on the blockbuster choruses and adding orchestral swells and unashamed grandeur to their sonic arsenal. There are moments that provide a through-line to their past, this is the sound of a band utterly at ease with what they have become, even if it’s at odds with what a small section of their fanbase want them to be.
3. Hollow Crown (2009)
The absolute A-grade example of early Architects. After a couple of promising albums that showed plenty of growth, Architects finally announced themselves as a band to be taken very seriously with Hollow Crown. This is as savage as anything the band have ever put their name to, whilst showing exceptional levels of ingenuity within their riffs and song writing. They may not lean into this type of material as often these days, but the likes of Every Last Breath and Follow The Water have lost absolutely none of their potency. The old school fans' number one choice, and with good reason — Hollow Crown destroys.
2. Lost Forever // Lost Together (2014)
With Daybreaker restoring confidence in the Architects camp, 2014 saw the release of an album of such brilliance that it is as tight a toss-up imaginable between our number one and number two spot. Lost Forever // Lost Together is a world class record; full of brawn, brains, subtle electronic colouring, riffs that could strip paint and some of the most anthemic moments in Architects' career. Any album that can open with a one-two-three punch of Gravedigger, Naysayer and Broken Cross is already onto a winner. And the way that Youth Is Wasted On The Young and The Distant Blue saw the album slow down to depart showed how the band had perfected their dynamic range.
1. All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us (2016)
One of the most emotionally charged and moving albums in the history of heavy music, Architects' 7th album, and Tom Searle’s swansong, is a genuinely essential, classic record. From the opening roar Sam Carter lets out on the breakneck Nihilist, all the way through to the closing 8 minute. Plus, the post-rock meets industrial metal journey of closer Memento Mori is possibly the most complete piece of music the band have ever recorded. All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us is as close to a perfect metal record as one can imagine. Their meld of ambient noise, savage tech-metal and pure emotional openness had honesty never sounded so good. The very best of one of the very best.