Review: Architects [UK] – Daybreaker [Album]

Review: Architects [UK] – Daybreaker [Album]

Century Media Records // "A brilliant piece of work that shows just how diverse, passionate and creative metal can be..."

Review   4339 Views
Last Edited by: Glen June 11th, 2012.

Brighton, UK. The coastal town is home to Fatboy Slim, a ludicrous amount of ice-cream vendors and a large, proud gay community. And since 2004, it’s been the base for Architects, a metal band who just over a year ago released their fourth studio album The Here And Now to a varied response. It was a departure from 2009’s aggressive mathcore-infused Hollow Crown, as they decided to go down a more melodic route in their song-writing. I for one really enjoyed The Here And Now; being a metal fan who needs a good dose of melody to ease me in before pummelling me senseless. However, this wasn’t the feeling for some of their hardcore supporters. And as if addressing a lot of the shtick they got, they unveiled plans for Daybreaker, their fifth and latest album - “We’re going back to being Architects again” frontman Sam Carter enthusiastically announced earlier in the year. They may not have intended to go quite so “soft” as some would put it, but the fact of the matter is that The Here And Now finally got them the attention they sought and put them on the global map, as well as numerous radio/TV stations.

As well as working their butts off to write and release a new album in a relatively short amount of time, they spent a huge part of the last couple of years touring their collective socks off. They’ve headlined the UK twice (within the space of five months), played several celebrated festivals and straight after recording Daybreaker, they embarked on a European tour supporting political punk-rockers, Rise Against, in March of this year. And so it's more than clear that they’re a hard-working bunch of lads. The new album features the aforementioned Carter on vocals, siblings Dan and Tom Searle on drums and guitar, respectively, alongside Ali Dean on bass. It actually also features the last recorded performance from long-standing guitarist, Tim Hillier-Brook who left the group (on seemingly good terms) shortly after recording wrapped.

So getting down to business, Daybreaker opens with Architects tapping into their theatrical side. ‘The Bitter End’ is a three minute atmospheric, dramatic cinescape of dark piano chords, pulsating xylophone notes and eerie, haunting vocals. “Can you feel that fire growing?” Carter softly probes as the track builds tension and energy, not long before igniting fire into the belly of the ravenous metalcore monster that’s been waiting in the wings. The band themselves declared that the album focuses on a lot of political issues including the media, religion and society itself; a step away from the personal themes they tackled in previous material. No track could demonstrate this better than ‘Alpha Omega’ and its Matrix dystopia influenced music video. It’s a technically brilliant track with definite mathcore strokes in its tricky guitar phrases and assertiveness in its vocal delivery - “Sun of god, sun in the sky. If you could speak, I’m sure you’d say: There’s more to me than meets the eye!” the frontman spits in one refrain as Tim Hillier-Brook and Tom Searle’s guitars threaten to engulf the words.

WATCH// ‘Alpha Omega’

These Colours Don't Run’ is another that bravely comments on the current state of the world we live in and pokes a finger at those responsible for the blossoming corruption that overwhelms us; as well as cementing their statement of returning to their heavier roots. Barbs of progressive metal bombard your senses as double-kick drum missiles and more layered guitar work surround the venomous words. There are also moments of increased drama where a looming string section adds emotional weight to the already highly expressive track. When it comes to the final wave in their attack, it’s a full-on battle to the death.

“I’m struggling to find any poetry in this, someone beat me to the line – ignorance is bliss. So I guess I’ll just say it how it is: You had it all, you fucking pigs!” shortly followed by a breakdown that’s as brutal as fuck, to put it, curtly. Chugging drop-tuned riffs are suffocated with vicious cymbal crashes and more of Sam’s possessed and enraged screams. If this guy was the Hulk, he would have easily taken out a large city from this song alone.

WATCH// ‘These Colours Don't Run’

Daybreaker does indeed bring out the big guns, but on the other hand they haven’t completely dismissed their previous foray into melody driven music. ‘Daybreak’ and ‘Truth, Be Told’ both have more of a post-hardcore vibe that they explored on The Here And Now; dipping their proverbial toes in and out with subtle breaks in the chaos and reminding us that Carter can, indeed, sing like a pro as well as shatter your ear-drums to pieces.

To me, it seems that Architects have taken the best of both worlds and realised that they can harness both the raw metal energy and the sensitive emotional melodies that they’ve created separately before, now into one. It's a more preferrable combination and seems to have created their best work. They’ve also given some friends they’ve made along the way the opportunity to stamp their mark here. ‘Even If You Win, You're Still A Rat’ features the vocals of another British metalcore force, Oli Sykes from Bring Me The Horizon. And ‘Outsider Heart’ makes use of the hardcore-punk vocal stylings of Drew York of Stray From The Path.

The original five-piece incl. Tim Hillier-Brook
The first goes for the jugular the second it starts, with Dan Searle’s frantic syncopated rhythm breaking out of the boisterous and thrashy intro. The brawl breaks for a moment as Carter exhaustedly ponders our doom - “Weary souls trying to forget, that we’re all puppets with a lifetime debt”; the words echoing above resonating guitar notes. It pumps back into action with multiple hefty breakdowns and Oli Sykes taking the stand for one concise verse; his familiar strained tone just standing out against that of Carter. It may be hard for some to pick the two apart, but they vary enough to make an impact. The other mentioned collaboration, with Drew York, is another solid hardcore onslaught albeit a touch samey, with the exception of a menacing piano melody and York’s verse in which his unique vocal delivery shines for its brief period.

LISTEN// ‘Even If You Win, You're Still A Rat’

Behind The Throne’ throws a theatrical spanner into the works with more layered string and piano action. A cinematic intro opens up into an ambient-rock track that’s actually really beautiful. As the textures build and the drum machine blips and pulses ring out, it becomes the score to the closing scene of a sci-fi epic. It leads nicely into ‘Devil’s Island’; a single which was released at the end of 2011. The track was written as a reaction to the awful riots that plagued parts of the UK that summer. They created a harrowing video to accompany the track by splicing together real footage taken from various news reports. Unfortunately it was removed a few months later due to copyright infringement. I say it leads nicely into it, as it starts off with the same dramatic slow-burning sense of dread. However, it’s quickly followed by a fast-paced juggernaut that doesn’t relent for four whole minutes; battering drum beats and Ali Dean’s quaking basslines reverberate through to your very core.

I can’t use the word love in this context, but I certainly believe in this song more than any other on Daybreaker. Having been witness to some of the utterly shocking acts of violence that took place, the emotion that hits me when I hear ‘Devil’s Island’ is something that will never leave me. Architects managed to capture the atmosphere and interpret the event better than any narrow-minded member of the mainstream media could at the time. “You want a voice but your voices sound like violence!” Carter bellows with every part of his soul as the brutality of the track matches that of the words. “Take it back, take it back!” he continues, screeching at the perpetrators. He finally utters in a state of quiet surrender, “This is your country, this is your home. Here is the house where you grew up alone...”; making one last attempt to drive remorse into the cold hearts of those involved. It’s a severe and poignant song that will stand the test of time.

WATCH// The recording of 'Devil's Island'

Shock tactics certainly bode well with this band, as every cunning stab at the government or angry rant at organised religion seems to push them forward as a band and their musical abilities with them. Not that you have to be angry at the world to write great music, but in their case when the gloves are off, they are a metal-shaped force to be reckoned with. Their ambition has most definitely grown too. Closing track ‘Unbeliever’ stretches their genre’s boundaries to its limits; some would argue too much. The opening gentle, chant-like procession leaves the heaviness behind for a moment, sounding like something that Charlie Simpson may have created with his alternative-rock troup Fightstar. It’s not until a minute near the end that the vocals erupt once again and the instruments rupture into a hard-rock collision of rolling riffs and clattering percussion. It resolves cleverly with the words “It’s time to extinguish that fire inside”, relating back to the first track's opening statement.

Daybreaker is a brilliant piece of work that shows just how far Architects have come in their eight years; not to mention just how diverse, passionate and creative metal can be in this day and age. They may have stated that they were going back to their roots on this album, but I think ultimately they have reached further than they ever have before both emotionally and technically. The revealing of deeply-engrained emotions and observations of us and our surroundings signifies the confidence they now have in themselves. I believe that they are the voice of a generation. So I’ll let Sam Carter close this – “Life is so short. Take a moment to feel alive”.

Daybreaker is out now.

Worth Listening To...
  • Alpha Omega
  • Even If You Win, You're Still A Rat
  • Behind The Throne
  • Devil's Island

Social Love:

You Might Also Dig...

Have Your Say

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO