Hollow Crown

Written by: AP on 04/02/2009 16:24:50

Just as in Denmark, and perhaps even more so, a new generation of metal is emerging from the underground of the United Kingdom, its weapon of choice a particularly relentless variant of the much loathed metalcore genre. These bands structure their approach around the crushingly heavy drop tuning popularized by nu metal groups like KoRn and Deftones and use melody with real restraint. In the case of Architects, the result is a chaotic, encapsulating noise which occasionally swerves into its polar opposite with clean vocals and entrancing tap-melodies.

All of the above description bears a striking resemblance to the newer produce of Bring Me The Horizon, and if indeed comparisons must be drawn, the sound of "Hollow Crown" can be likened to that of the aforementioned, particularly in the instrumental department. But whereas Oli's crew experimented with a slower tempo than was characteristic of their style, Architects come at you with a petrifying speed from start to finish (with the exception of the deviant title track), as if to highlight their hardcore influences. It becomes all the more frightening when Sam Carter unleashes his vocals which sound like Spencer Chamberlain on acid; a more deranged and repulsive scream is hard to imagine. And yet it works, the perfect complement to the dirty guitars.

For the next ten tracks the album kicks ahead without so much as a hint of deceleration, and as such it becomes clear very fast that variety isn't the selling point of the album. But then again, why change a winning formula? What's most captivating about "Hollow Crown" is the atmosphere of total despair as instigated by the schizophrenic nature of the music - oscillating between heavy dissonance and almost angelic melodies - and a psychotic vocalist: like Misery Signals meets The Haunted. Architects, as the band's name should imply, are skilled song-smiths. Even if it lacks in variety, there are plenty of subtle, but effective samples scattered amongst to satisfy the curious listener, not to mention the technical prowess on display here.

In addition, it's most gratifying to note the atypical structure of the songs. Yes, the obligatory clean singing is there, but not in the traditional screamed verse / clean chorus sense. No, when it does emerge from within the chaos, it does so at the most unexpected moments without sacrificing the integrity of the songs. The clean singing itself is also rather atypical; again, think UnderOATH here. By all these powers combined, "Hollow Crown" succeeds in setting Architects apart from most of their peers. It should also silence those who have cried the death of British metal of late. It has its pitfalls but they are easy ignore in light of its quality.

Download: Early Grave, In Elegance, Hollow Crown

For the fans of: Bring Me The Horizon, Misery Signals, UnderOATH

Listen: Myspace

Release date 26.01.2009

Century Media

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