Written by: AP on 09/06/2012 15:57:59

That last year's "The Here and Now" was a polarising experience for the Architects fanbase is a generally accepted fact. You either loved it, hated it, or chose to ignore it based on hearsay. But, while it is tempting to believe that it was the greed and cynicism of labels and management that led the band astray, the actual truth is much less documented. It tells the tale of a creative endeavour that was problematic, hard and often unrewarding: the band tried to combine the sound they had with the sounds they were listening to, discovered too late that not all those involved were equally enthusiastic about the end result, and subsequently disengaged emotionally from their most direct and accessible offering to date. Because of "The Here and Now", Architects may need to fight their way into favour at every show from now until the end of time. But the personal disappointment also became the mould for their new record, "Daybreaker", an album that is both urgent and resurgent.

Some are doubtless going to regard it as a form of apology to the band's fans for briefly venturing into unfamiliar musical territory on "The Here and Now", while others still are likely to pass it off as a thinly veiled attempt at clawing back the glories of "Hollow Crown" (the artwork will certainly not help this perception), but in reality it is neither. Musically it sits somewhere between the two albums, with a clear bias toward the latter, building a more pronounced melodic edge into its characteristic fury and stop/start rhythm dynamics. Songs like "Alpha Omega", "These Colours Don't Run" and "Daybreak" sound eerily similar to the material on "Hollow Crown" at first, yet they leave a lingering feeling of change in their wake that demands further attention. And when dissected, digested and evaluated, the changed elements in them are easy to spot. Most notable is the amplified scale and scope of the music, reflected both in the enormity of the soundscape, and in Sam Carter's detachment from lyrics influenced by his personal experiences. Listen to "Devil's Island" for instance, which deals with last year's rioting in England and adds a previously unexplored social relevance to their music.

But let us return to the sound of the album itself. Whereas on "Hollow Crown" the band's emphasis was on demonstrating their ability to write and execute metalcore of a highly technical and brutally devastating nature, "Daybreaker" introduces other red chords that flow through and unify its songs, from the solemn introduction "The Bitter End" to the balladic crescendo of "Unbeliever". One of these is the heavy use of sampling to provide a dramatic backdrop of grandeur to Tim Hillier-Brook (who has since left the band) and Tom Searle's intertwining drop-tuned chugging and dissonant lead work - not unlike Bring Me the Horizon on their two most recent efforts. Another is the depth of songwriting, as Architects have no further need to convince us of their technical prowess at this point. The result is a collection of songs that reveal their qualities much faster than their counterparts on "Hollow Crown" thanks to improved ebb and flow, both on frenetic tracks like "Even If You Win, You're Still a Rat" and "Outsider Heart", and on quieter progressive ones such as "Truth, Be Told" and the already mentioned "Unbeliever". Despite employing radically different elements at their core, each song relates to the other in terms of its tone and, most crucially, size.

When compared directly with "Hollow Crown" and its predecessor "The Here and Now" then, the inevitable conclusion to draw is that "Daybreaker" injects the accessibility of the latter into the mechanics of the former. The result is the most quintessentially album style record that Architects have released to date, so that where softer songs like "Hollow Crown" and "Heartburn" were ill-fitting at best on their parent albums, here the whispering "Behind the Throne" is equally as integral to the whole as the galloping hardcore of "Feather of Lead". Indeed, most impressively "Daybreaker" can boast to contain both immediate singles and bold experiments without ever digressing. Granted, it is not as rewarding in terms of energy and intensity as "Hollow Crown", nor as instantly grabbing as "The Here and Now", but it combines the best of both worlds to an effect that should appease most of the band's afflicted fans, and one which will certainly be receiving plenty of airtime on my playlist this year.


Download: Alpha Omega; These Colours Don't Run; Daybreak; Even If You Win, You're Still a Rat, Outsider Heart, Feather of Lead
For the fans of: Bring Me the Horizon, Underøath, While She Sleeps
Listen: Facebook

Release date 28.05.2012
Century Media

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