Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 13/3
All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
Written by: TL on 14/06/2016 18:42:35
Brighton's Architects have been in the game for a long time now, grinding, rising, receding and resurging over six albums prior to this year, perennially the more tasteful and credible choice of England's two largest metal-/post-hardcore acts. After breaking through with 2009's "Hollow Crown", the group ascended commercially but arguably tread water critically speaking for a stretch, only to roar back and contend as perhaps the best band in metalcore with 2014's excellent "Lost Forever // Lost Together".
With that album, Architects seemed to finally nail exactly what they'd been trying to sound like for years, namely pure, unrelenting and bitter social indignation. It's like the band became identical with that emotion, to the point where fans had to wonder if frontman Sam Carter does anything in his spare time except pull on a ski mask and work tirelessly in opposition to the British establishment in some underground grassroots organisation or other.
Considering the album's resounding success, it is perhaps no surprise that the band has stuck with pretty much the same expression on this year's follow-up "All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us". Once more we get blisteringly heavy and aggressive metalcore components akin to those of a band like The Ghost Inside, hammered out on top of a tapestry of eerie electronic ambiance that brings to mind such as Germany's Caliban, with Carter howling on top with political rage rarely matched elsewhere than on benchmark albums by America's Darkest Hour.
It starts out well, "All Our Gods...", with "Nihilist" getting things started at the band's most metallic and aggressive. The rhythm guitar and drums gallop ahead at something reminiscent of thrash metal speed, while the lead adds the kind of flourishes that are typical for the band. There's a break for Carter to yell/sing a nice catchy melody and for things to take a more atmospheric turn and naturally a good breakdown as well. Onwards, "Deathwish" offers the lyrical bit "We just wanna watch the world burn.. BLEURGH!", which is so quintessentially what Architects are about, that it should be enough in itself to cement it as a go-to track for any fan of their genre.
After "Downfall", however, the central stretch of tracks, beginning "Downfall", seems to say that the opening triplet was just the band on autopilot and that the highest refinement of their songwriting ability is about to be on display for a bit. You just hear immediately from the way the track is rung in that it's going to be more of a memorable impact track. The following "Gone With The Wind", however, has perhaps the best combination of anthemic hardcore yell-alongs the band has written to date, and figures to be an absolute bombshell of an addition to their live arsenal. "The Empty Hourglass" also holds up, although it could've done without the tasteless 'catering-to-the-arena-audience' whoa-ohs, and finally, at track seven, the single "A Match Made In Heaven" drops such a striking, hyper-produced bit of signature riffage that it figures to be one of the most recognisable musical sounds to be heard this year.
Perhaps due to the song's slight under-utilization of said riff, however, the album's impact starts to dissipate somewhat towards the end of the track, and across the remaining four numbers, Architects' attempts at adding diversity by taking a more atmospheric route aren't entirely successful. Some sampled quotes from philosopher Alan Watts and psychologist James Hillman go some way towards adding a sense of righteous intellect behind the band's anger, but it's not really enough to distract you from the impression that the collaboration with Swedish producers Henrik Udd and Fredrik Nordström is perhaps wearing a bit thin creatively here at the far end of their second album together.
To sum up, the 'Angrytechts' add another serving of potent tracks to their setlist from the selection here on "All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us", but over the course of the album, you do get to missing a bit more innovation and diversity. The band has the end of their sound figured out where they play as heavily and aggressively as possible, but their attempts at being more haunting and atmospheric feel like they have room for more elaboration.
Download: Gone With The Wind, A Match Made In Heaven, Downfall, Deathwish
For The Fans Of: Darkest Hour, Caliban, The Ghost Inside
Release date 27.05.2016