Where do you go once you’ve reached the top? In 2014, Architects released what appeared to be their masterpiece with Lost Forever // Lost Together, a triumph of modern metalcore that firmly planted the band atop the genre. After a decade of scratching and clawing, it appeared that the bone-crushing Brighton act had reached their zenith.
With that in mind, what do we do with All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us, an album that for all intents and purposes is every bit the masterpiece of their prior release?
For their seventh full-length album, Architects once again hit the studio with Henrik Udd and Fredrik Nordström, a purposeful decision by a band that felt as though they unearthed the treasure within on their last record. The resulting collection of songs won’t change the narrative of the band, but it will certainly rattle your soul once more, cementing Architects as the finest metalcore band on the planet
Because of the production similarities and the band’s decision to follow the thread they pulled on their last outing, All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us won’t catch the casual listener by surprise. But for those who were transfixed with Architects’ rapid evolution, there’s even more to enjoy this time around.
The band wastes no time getting down to business, ripping out of the gate with opener “Nihilist”, an absolutely brutal track that sets the tone for the record. Lost Forever // Lost Together touched on a variety of themes related to the depraved condition of humanity, but All Our Gods points its focus primarily on corrupt Western politics and our self-elevated “gods” that bring nothing but ruin and decay. While the instrumentals of “Nihilist” grow more expansive and complex as the song progresses, vocalist Sam Carter’s lyrics become razor sharp: “All hail the corporatocracy / The word of God written in binary / All hail our apostasy / The dying notes in an unholy symphony”.
“Nihilist” doesn’t just set the tone for the album; it discloses the premise of the discussion surrounding this record. All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us forgoes the calm-before-the-storm moments of terrifying stillness that are littered throughout Lost Forever in favor of consistently tightened metalcore power that barrels through the speakers from start to finish.
That’s not to say that there’s no variety in sound – “All is Lost” features surprisingly grungy guitar tones that slightly slow the pace while “Deathwish” adds gorgeously haunting programming to its pummeling breakdowns, surgically filling out the already established Architects sound. The most noticeable improvement on All Our Gods belongs to Carter, whose vocals are now a perfect instrument alongside the guitars and drums. There is no more room for debate: Sam Carter is the finest vocalist in the metalcore scene.
His fierce screams are now complimented by melodic cries that are filled to the brim with conviction. On “Downfall”, his voice is full of desperation as the track hits the chorus: “We are paralyzed / But there are none so blind as those who will not see”. When “A Match Made in Heaven” reaches its sonic summit, he bellows to the depths in light of political corruption, screaming, “We found your fingerprints all over the trigger / If you’re looking for tyrants, take a look in the mirror”.
The rest of the band doesn’t sound too shabby, either. Guitarist Tom Searle is now officially accompanied by new sidekick Adam Christianson, and the duo sound stellar. “Downfall” is highlighted by complex breakdowns, rich with dueling guitars, right from the onset. “A Match Made in Heaven” houses some of the best riffs on the record, backed by tense, disturbing programming elements that fill out the mix. Not to be outdone, drummer Dan Searle struts his stuff behind the kit throughout the record. “Gravity” opens with a punishing wall of sound, driven by Searle’s powerful, ripping drums that break only for fleeting moments during a few small, spacey interludes that wouldn’t sound of place on an Underoath track.
If you were to find a blemish in All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us, it would only be in some of the songs’ similarities to the band’s last outing. For example, “The Empty Hourglass” sounds strangely similar to the tone of Lost Forever // Lost Together, providing an unneeded whiff of familiarity. Yet for every moment you think the band sounds the same, there’s tracks like the fearful “From the Wilderness” that add fresh, audible tonal changes while calling out our indifference to the physical peril of our planet.
For all of the ways in which Architects have mastered their craft, the most vital element of their music is their steadfast conviction. If Lost Forever was a despairing cry from the void, All Our Gods is an enraged call for action. Carter has become a fire-breathing voice for change in the metal scene, but for all of the fury he projects, he still saves plenty of venom for himself. “I’d take a leap of faith, but I’d lose my nerve / In the end, I’ll get the hell that I deserve”, he laments on “Gone with the Wind”. Even when he takes aim at political leaders and oppressive regimes, you still get the feeling that he’s indicting himself alongside.
It’s this unwavering allegiance to principle, when coupled with the band’s masterful execution, which makes Architects one of the most important and dynamic bands in heavy music today. We could spend weeks arguing between the merits of their last two outings, but that would be a terrible slight to the band’s overarching message and abilities. To put it simply, the reign of Architects continues. Enjoy.
by Kiel Hauck
Kiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.