Take a look out your window. Is this planet in the state it was in when you were a kid? You think it’s even close to what it was like when your parents were younger? Shit, your grandparents for that matter? Now ask yourself this; how many cigarette butts have you stomped out in the soil? Oh damn, you missed the recycle bin when you tossed that tin can…did you pick it up to put it in? Do you use a reusable water bottle, or just plastic because it’s cheap and easy and all that bullshit about plastic being so bad for the environment can’t be THAT true…right? Let’s all be honest, even the best of us treats our planet like shit even at the best of times, and the worst part is we’re all paying for it without realizing it or even if we do, we sure ain’t doing much about it. Some of us definitely make great attempts at being as green as possible, but I’m willing to bet that even your annoying fucking neighbor who uses some pretentious manner to remind you daily that they drive a Prius, use a composting toilet, and run their house entirely on solar energy still receives paper bills for their cellphone as opposed to doing it online. We all have a bit of red in that column, but the question we must ask ourselves is do we care enough to try and make a difference? That’s what Architects have done with their new album, For Those That Wish To Exist. An album title which in and of itself sums up the point I was trying to make in a way. We must look inward to ourselves and if we want to continue living our wonderful lives, will we take the necessary steps in doing our part to make this world healthy again? This album wasn’t intended to point fingers. The bandmembers themselves used the creative process of this album to ask themselves the same questions (they have been for years really, not being ones to shy away at attempting their own parts aiding such causes as Sea Shepherd). The band hopes that through the listening process of this album their fans can take away such points and perhaps ask themselves the same questions and hopefully use the energy from these songs to drive that ambition to do our own parts and create positive action.
Genre: Metalcore | Post-Metalcore | Hard Rock
Release: February 26th, 2021
FLOW / LONGEVITY / ORIGINALITY
Let’s start things off by stating the obvious. This album came has a big swing outta left field coming from a band like Architects. Some will say from the likes of Babe Ruth…others might feel the batter used Negan’s Lucille (aside from the zombies, maybe an apocalyptic world is a bit of a heavy-handed metaphor? Maybe not, considering what are affect on this world COULD be…). This is, to put it lightly, just a touch different than some of their past musical endeavors. The singles may have already given some of you that feeling but let me assure you this is a new chapter of what this band is becoming. That being said, one thing that has once again gone off without a hitch is this band’s uncanny ability to put together a collection of songs that just fit so eloquently. The intro is a slow burn, but intentionally so. “Do You Dream Of Armageddon”, with its ominous beginnings then driving uprising in sounds, has an obvious agenda; to grasp your full attention right out of the gate and hold it there until the very end of the album. It is with this that the next half of the album is an upswing if both tempo and aggression until the midpoint. “Flight Without Feathers” brings the listener’s heartbeat back down to a slow and steady thump, but with the same goal of retaining that firm focus on the message at hand. The song speaks to the hope that is possible through action, but we must take it upon ourselves to set this plan in motion as opposed to simply leaving the heavy lifting to someone else. After this we are brought full force into the faster paced bangers, until the outro track “Dying Is Absolutely Safe” sends us on our way with acoustic guitars and harmonizing a choir. The album is pure with intent and the up and down of both its ferocity and placid not only helps to retain the listener’s ear but makes it so enjoyable while it’s dine tuned to the sounds coming from the speakers.
How long will the listener want to have this album on spin? You know, I was conversing with a friend who has only heard the singles recently and one of his first comments kind of helped to put that question into perspective. ‘This isn’t the Architects that I’ve known before. This sound is something different. Something tamer. But they helped me through some pretty tough times in my life more so with their words than ever with their music.’ Now, one of the main things I took from this was that while he did appreciate the musicianship of the band, it was the lyrics that really stuck with him. In that sense I would hope this album has that stay power due to its excessively important message. But setting that aside I gotta tell ya…for me, this was just an insanely enjoyable album from start to finish. There’s almost zero about it that makes it ‘radio friendly’ (I say that in the negative connotation that some have used to label heavier music they are not fond of…stupid, really). This is far from selling out (although, is wanting to use your career in music to earn a living? Fuck, if that’s the case I’d ‘sell out’ a million times over). And the very thing it is not, is a band phoning it in. This is merely an intentional simpler sound that still has a shit ton of guts and heart. So, for all that…yea. This album has that stay power for a multitude of reasons.
Is For Those That Wish To Exist completely original? Well, a loose definition of that is ‘to be the first’ or ‘not copy or imitate’. I guess when you put it like that then this isn’t the most original music that’s ever been created. BUT, when you look at the definition for originality (yes, there actually is a slight difference amazingly enough), you get ‘inventiveness’ and ‘the ability to think independently and creatively’. Well shit, now I got you thinking, don’t I? In that sense this album is exceedingly original. I think by now you can surmise that Architects set out to make the music they wanted to with this album. They went in with a plan, and in my humble opinion executed it exquisitely. While some of the chord progression and technicality of the music overall may be toned down, they did not for one moment set out to produce anything but what represents them. I will say I didn’t find anything on here to be ground-breaking, but it is definitely still a badass listen, nonetheless.
VOCALS / INSTRUMENTATION
In the much appreciated and informative as fuck bio that was sent with this album’s demo package, Sam Carter’s mix of singing and screaming was described as ‘an unhealthy drive for perfection’, and for one think that has been and still is undoubtedly clear. Throughout the bands massively impressive catalogue, Sam Carter’s vocals have always been far beyond reproach. It is no different on For Those That Wish To Exist. This time around Carter tends to focus more on his cleans (which have grown increasingly is range and depth), but his unique and unmistakably ‘him’ type screams are still there in all their raging bliss. On songs like “Impermanence” and “Libertine”, Carter has rarely ever sounded as angrily driven ever before. Yet on the flipside of that Songs like “Flight Without Feathers” and “Dying Is Absolutely Safe” it shows just how much his aforementioned gain in skill with his cleans has actually progressed. It’s blindly clear that with each release Sam Carter is a vocalist who never settles for ‘as good as before’. This is a man who strives to better his instrument with each release. I think one of the best (and my favorite) examples of this comes with “An Ordinary Extinction”. This track throws every trick and skill Sam Carter has up his sleeve at ya in full force. The softer tones of his purely clean singing, his mixture of screamed/sung passages, and his all out, balls to the wall, soul crushing screams. This dude just never lets up and it’s goddamn impressive. The features on this album threw me for a loop before I heard them. Well, all but one. The Winston McCall feature I could see working immediately. Architects are a metalcore band and McCall is a metalcore vocalist. And yes…his feature is crazy heavy, crazy angry sounding, and crazy awesome. But it is actually the other two features that really stood out to me. Mike Kerr’s feature on “Little Wonder” added a pop-like element that actually worked out far better than would have been expected. It didn’t hurt that the verse itself could have straight up come from a Royal Blood song all on its own. But holy hell (see what I did there?), Simon Neil! I did NOT see that shit coming! As much as we all love Sam Carter, Neil is without a doubt the highlight on “Goliath”. Neil both sings AND SCREAMS, and it’s absolute bananas.
And now we come to the part of the album that will assuredly have the largest group of people in a tizzy. The instrumentation. The nay-sayers and haters will be first up. ‘It’s TOO plain’. ‘What the hell happened to this band?’. ‘I could play this shit in my sleep’…HA! I’d honestly love to see you try! Yes, the guitars, bass, and drums as a whole may not be as technical as they once were, but they are anything but lacking in phenomenal skill and still have that uncanny ability to ooze emotion all on their own. “Animals” has a thick industrial metal influence that almost beats your speakers out from the inside. Both “Giving Blood” and “Meteor” have a solid rock and roll influence that while making the overall sound an easier listen, still retain that edge that’s purely Architects. On “Dead Butterflies” there is an orchestra playing over the usual instruments that almost sounds as if it’s weeping for the world’s destruction. This ‘simpler’ sound was intentional. But this is a sonic evolution for the band. Not a step backwards. They have expanded on what for them was an already astounding base of skills and attributes. Sure, their fingers and feet may not be moving a mile a minute, but if you actually pay attention you’ll hear just as I did, they’ve actually created something grander than ever before. Perhaps my only quarrel with the instrumentation overall is that at times it feels as if the bass is strictly used as a backbone, where in some moments it could have been put in the shining spotlight instead of merely being ‘backup’ for lack of a better word.
COMPOSITION / PRODUCTION
Creating For Those That Wish To Exist was no overnight affair. The final product that we will all hear now took two years and multiple studios to actually come to fruition. Now, setting aside the part that COVID may have played in all this, it is also due to a group of artists who suffer through the painstaking process of making sure everything is as perfect as they imagine it to be. Songs will be written, scrapped, then written all over again until the end result is as it should be. God forbid someone finds that to be ‘too different’ upon first listen, but for those that appreciate hard work and have a good ear you will see that Architects poured every bit of themselves into this album in both subject matter and musicianship.
Wait until you hear the horn section on “Dying Is Absolutely Safe”. You ears will not believe how crisp the electronic flourishes are on “An Ordinary Extinction”. Like, holy shit folks, if you aren’t picking up what I’m throwing down then no one can help you. This shit is tight! The production on an album as adventurous and bold has this HAS to be no less than utter perfection. And that, I can promise you, is exactly what this is. Every sound the band wanted you to hear, you will. Maybe not on your first or even your second listen, but that’s what’s so incredible about production done right. Each listen playthrough brings something new to the table. And with saying that, I think ‘nuff said on that matter.
The overall message of this album is undoubtedly profound. We really all must do our own parts in helping to heal this world from years and years of the destruction we have inflicted upon it. It was plus seven today in my part of the world (that’s in Celsius, so that’s roughly 44.6 Fahrenheit for those of you not using the metric system), and even for late February that is fucking warm. As much as I enjoyed walking around in this unseasonably comfortable day, it isn’t due to it being extra sunny. Every single damn day the polar icecaps melt further into the abyss, and it is due to us. So, we all must do our utmost beat to be better. To DO better. That is the message Architects hope to impose on all of their listener’s, and if you take heed of this lesson that will be an incredible start. Spread that message to your friends and family and hopefully they will do everything they can as well. For Those That Wish To Exist can be that beacon of hope. That lesson learned. It may be a different version of the band to what most are used to, but this band will never lose that impactful and strong sense of urgency and emotion. They haven’t lost any of what makes them so uniquely them. This album is only the beginning of a new dawn for this band and your speakers and ears will only gain from all it has to offer if you truly listen.