Architects - Lost Together // Lost Forever - (9/10)
Published on March 11, 2014
Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown – it’s a saying that Brighton’s Architects know all to well. Hollow though it may be, the band have been struggling against the weight of their breakthrough, third album, 2007’s Hollow Crown – a truly devastating record, deservedly heralded as a modern classic.
Following Hollow Crown, the band took their sound in an unexpectedly melodic, and overly sappy direction with 2011’s The Here And Now, to mixed reception. This melodic departure was promptly refuted a year after with Daybreaker,1 an initially striking record that regained many of the band’s fans who fell by the wayside after The Here And Now. Though explosive, Daybreaker lacked the staying power of Hollow Crown, leaving it to Architects sixth and latest offering, Lost Forever // Lost Together,2 to cement the band’s legacy as one of the most formidable and important acts in the modern (post-)metalcore scene.
This hanging weight is one Architects are well and truly aware of and meet head-on. Vocalist Sam Carter rages vehemently against a “fucking tyrant in a hollow crown” on “Broken Cross” and the band launch an intensive and calculated assault on Hollow Crown‘s legacy with its Lost Forever // Lost Together‘s opening salvo of “Gravedigger” and “Naysayer” – lending considerable credence to the suspicion that they decided to take the devastating breakdown that concludes “These Colours Don’t Run” (undoubtedly Daybreaker’s most invigorating moment) and run with it.
Lost Forever // Lost Together forgoes much of the band’s trademark technical noodling in favor of a more rhythmic exploration of their post-metalcore sound, which ethos pervades the record throughout “Dead man talking” and is positively crushing. The calculated aggression of the record is powerfully subsidized by Fredrik Nordström3 and Henrik Udd’s marvelous production, providing the album’s down-tuned tones with an almost unbelievably thick guitar tone analogous to the dark concentration of Meshuggah’s Koloss.
Where Architects go beyond your run-of-the-mill, 14-plus-string-armed, modern metal/hardcore band is their efficient utilization of every element of their sound. Since Architects employ only one guitarist, Tim Searle, the bass is not condemned to follow along with and be drowned out by a rhythm guitar which allows Alex Dean to play his instrument’s rhythmic role to staggering effect, laying down the dense bottom-end that drives Lost Forever // Lost Together and makes it unquestionably the band’s heaviest to date. Meanwhile, the album’s electronic and post-rock elements are employed to subtle-and-thus-efficient effect rather than berating the listener with their overuse, as so many of their peers are wont to do.
After it’s done beating the listener around with its first-half, Lost Forever // Lost Together takes a moment to reset with the electronic (and Carl Sagan featuring) interlude “Red Hypergiant” before letting absolutely rip with “C.A.N.C.E.R.,” one of the best songs Architects have put to record thus far. From here Architects continue their melodic exploration with the lifting sing-along “Castles In The Air,” with the remaining tracks rounding out the album in a more traditional and relieving fashion that’s spacy tones don’t excite as much as Lost Forever // Lost Together‘s initial moments yet capitalize maximally on their momentum.
Lost Together // Lost Together falls just short of usurping Holow Crown as Architects’ (ahem) crowning achievement but it’s a staggering album that comes as close to ousting that record as the band are ever likely (and could be fairly expected) to. If The Here And Now and Daybreaker saw Architects struggling to break out of Hollow Crown’s shadow, then Lost Forever // Lost Together sees them operating comfortably and convincingly within it.
1 Which album’s cover furthers the whole Hollow Crown thing through featuring the band’s emblematic “A” wrapped in a crown of thorns.
2Your guess about the double-backslash is as good as mine. The title is lifted from the lyrics to the penultimate track, “Youth Is Wasted On The young,” but that doesn’t really help any.
3 Seriously, this guy produces everything these days.