Written Before Listen
Architects is an alternative metal band from the UK and prior to this, I’ve never heard of them. I saw some reviews on instagram that were written negatively. I also saw that Anthony Fantano slapped a “NOT GOOD” on it. With that being said, I wanted to see how “bad” it actually was. See if it was actually as bad as people say it was.
The only thing good about this song is the production. The drums are punchy and the guitars have some killer Djent-inspired tones. The vocals despite not being good themselves are produced finely. Overall, the production is pretty good for a metal record. I think the industrial drum machines and trap hi-hats despite being a little corny are produced well too. Its like the producer behind this record really tried their best to revive this record
To describe their style is quite simple. It’s like a mixture of Linkin Park and Imagine Dragons but if Imagine Dragons actually tried to avoid commercial success and failed. Add some overly-clean orchestra and Meshuggah to the mix and there you go. You have Architects. A lot of these tracks come out as overblown parodies of some of the corniest metal out there. It’s like If Avenged Sevenfold never heard Metallica in their life or if Linkin Park replaced Mike Shinada with the new BWB drum kit. Yep. Thats their style in a nutshell.
So their instrumentation on this record is also pretty simple. Just like I mentioned, its produced well but its what they chose to accomplish here that makes it not my flavor. The guitars are Djent as hell with a heavy use of direct input. The drums are mixed to death trying to get the sharpest sound possible. The vocals are always double tracked and thats all backed up with some of the best Kontakt string VSTs and the new Cymatics kit inspired by Metro Boomin that came out in 2016. Its not even as bad as I say it is because with this scenario, this could’ve easily been a 0/10 record. They put it in the most necessary situations that make this album quite redeemable.
Every vocal performance kind of sounds the same from Sam Carter. His influences are clear as day but the alternative Djent backing make it a unique blend. Its like if you took Chester Bennington and the singer of Imagine Dragons and sprinkled some Chino Moreno and lets be fair and real. I like Deftones and I think they’re one of the most innovative metal bands of the 90s and 2000s. I’m just saying what I think Carters vocal style is in a nutshell. Other than that, I think his vocal performance is the worst part of the album. I honestly think if you put him in some emocore band, it would be one of the worst records ever. Nothing personal against Sam. He seems like a nice guy.
I have a confession. The first half was actually pretty good. The riff on “Black Lungs” is heavy as hell and it has an insane head-nodding groove to it. I can actually say that “Dead Butterflies” is a great track. The guitar tones are crisp, the horns fit nicely and the whole thing creates a pretty nice alternative metal track. I also think Carters hook on “Animals” is quite catchy. Other than that, I’ll try my best to stay away from this album as far as possible.
Its not that good or anything but nothing insanely terrible to my ears. My gripes come into play when the ideas and track concepts get super redundant. Around halfway, it seems like im listening the same track just with Snare (4) playing instead of Snare (3). The first half is actually pretty well formatted. If they added some more wide-ranged metal influence such as some black metal tremolo, death style growling or even thrash solos, this would be a solid commercial metal record. Instead it sounds like nothing more than a Djent parody. To the point where it isn’t even Djent. What makes people like Meshuggah so good despite their commercial metal sound is their ability to blend Djent with Thrash metal and groove metal to create something technical and accessible. This is Meshuggah without any versatility or technicality. Its just the head-nodding factor and if you like your Djent riffs without any technicality and your Alternative Metal pure, go ahead. This might be what you want.