It’d be a gross understatement to say Architects haven’t had the easiest of rides. After bursting onto the scene with their Dillinger Escape Plan-inspired angular math-metal and technical proficiency, the Brighton quintet announced themselves as bona fide contenders with 2009’s stunning Hollow Crown, a juggernaut that stands as one of the finest British metal albums of the last 10 years. Seemingly destined for greatness, it’s tragic that its follow-up, The Here And Now, caused such a derailment.
Despite the anthemic likes of Day In Day Out, the deafening cries of ‘Sell-out!’ greeted the drastic melodic change of direction and even saw the band themselves disowning it. It was this backs-to-the-wall situation that forged Daybreaker just over a year later, which thankfully not only dispelled the notion that they had lost their grit, but also showed they were still righteously pushing themselves and their sound to new, unexplored territory.
Dogged by lineup changes, label troubles, dropping from tours with exhaustion and the other difficulties that present every band beneath the mainstream, it’s testament to the band’s desire that they’ve taken the disappointments on the chin and strived to forge their own path in an overpopulated, largely uninspiring metalcore scene while other, less-deserving peers reap the limelight.
Given the good will Daybreaker rightly produced, it’s little wonder that Lost Forever//Lost Together settles into the tracks left by its predecessor, focusing on the same trademark style of hook-laden musicality and understated heaviness, while turning the relevant dials up a few notches. Opener Gravedigger encapsulates everything that’s epitomised the band’s output to date: impassioned vocals, infectious energy, energetic breakdowns, tight rhythmic interplay and Sam Carter’s call-to-arms chorus; it’s at the least an equal to anything the band have achieved before.
The blastbeats and shuddering riffs of first single Naysayer result in one of the heaviest songs in the band’s canon, but again it’s the atmospheric chorus and the deeply fervent vocals that sink their teeth in deep and refuse to let go. Whether it’s the ever-building rage and tight riffing of the atheistic Broken Cross, gang vocals and spoken-word environmental warning on The Devil Is Near, or more measured screaming on the atmospheric Colony Collapse, the ardent lyrics are as precise and moving as ever, and epitomise a band full of confidence and sounding on top of their game. A brief respite comes in the form of the vast mid-album instrumental Red Hypergiant, before lone guitarist Tom Searle’s monolithic barrage that greets C.A.N.C.E.R. and its abrasively chanted chorus.
Though Architects have clearly shown they’re no strangers to writing brilliant tunes before, esteemed producer Fredrik Nordström’s sonic delivery helps each reach its potential. Though the band forgo any ballads, the brooding Youth Is Wasted On The Young and reflective descent of The Distant Blue wrap up a furious, engaging and completely uncompromising 40 minutes in classy style.
The merits of Lost Forever… alone deserve to be applauded and cherished, but given the path Architects have had to tread it’s nothing short of a genuine triumph.