Since 2006, Architects have built a prestigious career for themselves. Sitting now at the top of the metalcore pile, their spin on the genre can in no way be lumped in with the rank and file and every release provides more innovative material to push it forward with. That’s not to say there haven’t been pitfalls and difficulties; the most significant being the loss of key member Tom Searle in 2016. Nevertheless, Architects have pushed on to keep growing and increasing their stature, bouncing back with Holy Hell in 2018 and now following it up with For Those Who Wish To Exist, their ninth studio album to date.
Right off top, the dramatic build of “Do You Dream Of Armageddon?” implies another grand showcase of huge, fresh and aggressive songs to come, Architects’ clearly defined calling card. “Black Lungs” delivers on that setup, a relentless and forceful opening accompanied by a glorious layer of strings mixed in just right to blend in and boost the track up to its full potential. Next is “Giving Blood”, which sounds akin to a modern-metal spin on early Linkin Park (think “Papercut”, “From The Inside”), minus the raps and plus hyperactive drum grooves and a lot more guitar. “Discourse Is Dead” is more atmospheric, though at the same time more apocalyptic and focused in its rage; “Dead Butterflies” nails the clean/driven dynamic down to a fine science and throws some horns and strings in for good measure.
Cutting to For Those’s core theme of human and earthly doom, “An Ordinary Extinction” slams with a metric tonne of arena-filling energy, amplified by the searing, screamed lines “We’re stood at the edge of the world/seize the snakes”. “Impermanence” toys with some of the same heavy-spacey vibes Deftones dived into on Ohms (with the exception of a couple of brutal breakdowns) while “Flight Without Feathers” provides an obligatory break from Architects’ crushing sonic shtick with a floating, synth-y interlude that slows the world down, even if for a little under four minutes. “Little Wonder” brings it up to about 2/3 or 3/4 energy, bringing back some of the busy grooves of “Giving Blood” while not going totally balls-out again following a peaceful reprieve. “Animals” kicks it up some more, another massive slammer made for a big venue that makes the misanthropic lyrical current on the album clear for anyone still unsure: “We’re just a bunch of fucking animals/But we’re afraid of the outcome.”
How’s about this for a lyric: “We are the rust worshipping the rain.” That line slices through the beginning of the vicious “Libertine” and colours its glorious, soaring chorus; that same thematic and musical energy gets carried over into the riffy, melodic onslaught of “Goliath” (the clean vocals are a damn nice touch on that track too). “Demi God” starts out sounding somewhat boilerplate but comes into its own, the tone and mix with keys and strings against ringing guitars demonstrating a great dynamic awareness that some bands severely lack. Next there is “Meteor” which lands a bit more on the classically poppy/anthemic end of metalcore but nevertheless does what it needs to do energetically, an appropriate setup for the contrast of the closer. “Dying Is Absolutely Safe” is far from optimistic, but out of the lyrical hellscape and orchestral and acoustic abyss of the album ender comes a depressive beauty that those who have been cast into dark places before will appreciate the most. It’s a pleasant listen, even if it deems that humanity and its’ home are doomed to expire.
Architects have made an incredibly strong record with For Those Who Wish To Exist; not only in its sheer forcefulness and power but the deeper craft of it as well. In its most aggressive moments you feel an authentic sense of urgency and severity rather than rage for rage’s sake, likewise in the couple of minimal, intimate moments that we get on this record the expression remains genuine rather than for show. Beyond that, Architects prove they will not be slowed down or impeded by any obstacle, and will continue to deliver hard-hitting, consistent product well into the foreseeable future. Of course, that depends how much of a future there is for us if you go by what this record communicates, but we can hope for the best, good music and all.