Architects, a metalcore band from the United Kingdom currently signed with Epitaph Records, has had a turbulent and emotionally charged few years. Active since 2004, the band is known for its “clean-cut” sound, sung-and-screamed vocals from frontman Sam Carter and the ever-present “blegh” noise that Carter makes before breakdowns (I’ve joked that I’m going to get the onomatopoeia tattooed on my arm in cursive font). In 2016, Architects guitarist and songwriter Tom Searle, a pivotal facet of the production of the band’s albums, died after a three-year battle with cancer, devastating the band and the metalcore community.
In the year before Searle’s death, the band released its groundbreaking seventh album, “All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us,” which is the first album I heard and subsequently bought from the explosive ensemble. I wasn’t used to listening to such a jarring band with primarily screamed lyrics, but I was hypnotized by the way the band flawlessly makes classic metalcore melodic. Listening to the album with Searle’s illness in mind is heartbreaking, as many songs such as “Gone with the Wind” and the album’s closer “Momento Mori” (Latin for “remember death”) were clearly written by Searle as a way of expressing his own feelings about his deteriorating health and his battle with God.
“The weight of the world is resting on thin ice / When the surface breaks will I find paradise? / As I freeze to death, left to reflect, what a waste of time I was, in retrospect,” Carter says in “Gone with the Wind,” screaming Searle’s pain to millions of listeners.
Last September, a little over a year after Searle’s death, Architects pleasantly surprised fans with the release of “Doomsday,” an independent single that echoes the feelings the band has been grappling with since the loss of their bandmate, friend and brother (Architects’ drummer, Dan Searle, is Tom Searle’s twin).
“They say the good die young / No use in saying what is done is done / ’Cause it’s never enough / And when the night gives way / It’s like a brand-new doomsday,” Carter screams.
According to Kerrang! Radio’s website, Tom Searle began writing “Doomsday” before his death and Dan Searle finished the lyrics.
Now, a year after “Doomsday” reduced all Architects fans to emotional messes, the group is back with a new single, “Hereafter,” which will be featured on the band’s eighth album, “Holy Hell,” due on November 9.
The song begins in relatively typical Architects fashion, with clean vocals and calm instrumentals before the listener is hit at the 20-second mark with a head bang-worthy riff.
“I wasn’t ready for the rapture / We’re only passing through / But these words, they mean nothing to me / I know that time will mend this fracture / But I’ve been lost in a maze / And every route I take / Leads right back to you,” Carter screams. I was initially quite surprised by the melancholy tone of this first verse, given the uplifting sound of the clean vocals at the beginning of the song, but surprise was quickly followed by awe at the poeticism with which the band combines two common themes in their music up to this point—religion (and the questioning of it) and Tom Searle.
The chorus, while also poetic in nature, gives me Bring Me the Horizon vibes (not that that’s a bad thing). “Now the oceans have drained out / Can I come up for air? / ’Cause I’ve been learning to live without,” Carter sings rather than screams. The simple lyrics are quotable whether you’re 15, sad and always wearing apparel from Hot Topic; or when you just want something loud to block out the people yelling in the hallway of your dorm while you’re studying; or when you need something to block out your own discontented thoughts.
Something that many people praise Architects for is the band’s constant quality.
“I don’t get it, they have made 6 albums, get 99% love in comments and reviews, are not super weird or alternative, and still aren’t more famous than this,” one fan said in the YouTube comment section for the music video for “Gravedigger,” which was released in 2014.
An Alternative Press review for Architects’ 2016 album “All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us,” said that “Architects somehow increase the ferocity with hit-and-run instrumentation to highlight Sam Carter, the genre’s strongest clean vocalist and screamer.” While that review was written in May 2016, I can’t help but feel that the statement still rings true as the band prepares to release “Holy Hell.”
“Hereafter” isn’t the band’s most standout single, but certainly not its worst either (I don’t actually think the ensemble could write a bad riff, chorus, song or album if they tried). But will I be driving to the nearest music store the day “Holy Hell” is released and buying a physical copy to play in my Hyundai Elantra until the mediocre speakers blow out? Absolutely.