Podcast: The Return of Architects with Drew Beringer

A new album from Architects has arrived and it is very, very good. For Those That Wish to Exist serves as the beginning of a new chapter for the band and a wake up call for those that wish to deny the effects of climate change. All told, there’s a lot to unpack, so we reached out to Drew Beringer to join the podcast and break down his thoughts on the new album, the legacy of Architects, and their impact on the heavy music scene.

Drew shares a bit of his background in joining the AbsolutePunk.net staff and Chorus.fm community before diving into his track-by-track breakdown of For Those That Wish to Exist, including his interview with Architects drummer Dan Searle. Drew also gives his ranking of Architects’ Epitaph Records albums and shares his favorite songs from the new album. Take a listen!

Like our podcast? Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts and be sure to leave a review.

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Review: Architects – For Those That Wish to Exist

Legacy is a big and complicated word, regardless of context, but especially when we apply it to the ongoing work of an active artist. Thus, change can be scary. It raises questions and can cause us to prematurely re-evaluate the total body of work. But in some cases, the passing of time reveals those moments of change to have a lasting effect we never could have known in the moment.

You can buy or stream For Those That Wish to Exist on Apple Music.

We need not wait to discuss the impact of For Those That Wish to Exist as it relates to Architects’ legacy. It is a powerful beginning to a new chapter for a band that has defied the odds and overcome the kind of adversity that makes the existence of this very album astonishing. 

Over the course of their last three records, Architects simultaneously climbed to the summit of metalcore excellence while delivering the swan song of guitarist and primary songwriter Tom Searle. Their last outing, Holy Hell, in which the band constructed a story of grief and resolve with building blocks left behind by their bandmate and brother, was masterful in its feelings of finality. 

What makes For Those That Wish to Exist such a brilliant next step is that it looks, feels, and sounds like something new while maintaining the heart of a band that always wore it on their sleeve. Who would’ve imagined an Architects album featuring orchestral elements, synthesizers, drum machines, and clean vocal deliveries from Sam Carter sounding so true to the band’s mission? Who would’ve thought it would sound this good?

One need not pay mind to the Linkin Park comparisons, which imply a simplification in sound. Yes, many of the more technical metalcore breakdowns are absent, and sure, there are elements of nu metal to be found here, but Architects are interested in experimenting with sound and crafting something distinct. 

The smooth electropop stylings of “Flight Without Feathers”, complete with the most delicate delivery of Sam Carter’s career, still holds the atmospheric weight we’ve come to expect from the band, even if the instruments have changed. The horns on “Dead Butterflies” only magnify the epic nature of one of the band’s most anthemic tracks to date, without Carter ever resorting to a scream. Here, Josh Middleton’s guitar sends the track’s bridge through the roof as opposed to bringing the house down.

Yet for those that wish to hear the band flex their muscle, there’s still plenty to be found. Look no further than mammoth-sized riffs that open tracks like “An Ordinary Extinction” and “Goliath”. The opening verse of “Discourse is Dead” finds Carter shredding his vocal chords atop Middleton and drummer Dan Searle’s chaos, screaming, “Oh it just won’t calculate, a prophesy with a twist / Do you really think Christ was a capitalist?” The heaviness arrives in doses, but when it does, as on the bridge of “Goliath”, it’s breathtaking.

But what truly brings these parts together and turns great moments into a great album is purpose. Carter shares the album’s thesis early on during the pre-chorus of “Black Lungs” as he asks, “What would you do to stay alive if the planet was burning?” Throughout For Those That Wish to Exist, Architects take aim at institutions that wield their power for profit, endangering the future of our species and the survival of our home. On “Giving Blood”, a track that perhaps best showcases the band’s new sonic direction, Carter sings, “Well there’s your eulogy / The water’s polluted / My feathers caught in the spill / Nobody said it would be safe up here”. 

Throughout the album, the band takes special aim at religion and its insistence on ignoring the problem in favor of the promise of an exit to somewhere heavenly. On “Little Wonder”, Carter sings, “If we miss the deadline, we can always blame the divine” before later offering a reprimand: “Nobody could say with a straight face / They didn’t have it coming”. On “Black Lungs” he growls, “You’re gonna taste the ash, you’re gonna taste the dust / ‘Cause this world is dying in our arms”.

For all of the righteous anger found on the album, as the title suggests, the ultimate call to arms of For Those That Wish to Exist is one of personal nature. The idea that every one of us has a decision to make, and collectively, we can make an impact. “Yeah I know that Rome was overthrown, but it wasn’t done alone” sings Royal Blood’s Mike Kerr on “Little Wonder”. On the delicate acoustic closer “Dying is Absolutely Safe”, the band paint an apocalyptic picture, with Carter singing, “It takes a fierce grace to crack us open / A moment sat with our sentencing / And the light comes flooding in / When the leaves fall in the spring”.

For Those That Wish to Exist is an album that benefits from repeated spins, which allow the sonic ebbs and flows to bring a greater picture into view. The only thing holding the album back is its 58-minute run time. With the subtraction of two or three tracks (starting with “Demi God” – the band’s first bad song since Daybreaker), and the album becomes another masterpiece. With that in mind, go forth and make the For Those That Wish to Exist playlist that suits you.

Time will tell how we place the album amongst some of the more colossal releases in the band’s catalogue. But For Those That Wish to Exist is a commanding step into a new era for Architects and one that should satisfy longtime fans of the band while offering an open door for more to join the journey. The legacy of Architects remains one of strength, purpose, and resolve – something that is solidified by this new chapter.

4.5/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple pop culture outlets and was previously an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife, daughter, and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Review: Alkaline Trio – E.P.

Over the last decade, I really lost tack of Alkaline Trio. The band’s releases in the early 2010’s just didn’t pack the punch they should have, and were overshadowed by guitarist Matt Skiba’s time and work in Blink 182. In the last few years, Alkaline Trio sound completely reinvigorated. Following the trend set by Is This Thing Cursed?, the surprise release of the three song E.P. is some of the most relevant and responsive music Alkaline Trio have released in quite some time.

You can buy or stream E.P. on Apple Music.

At a quick nine minutes, E.P. blazes by, but gives a hint as to where the next Alkaline record may journey. Opener “Minds Like a Minefield”, led by guitarist Matt Skiba, sizzles with a quick pace and features “Whoa-ohs” that feel like an homage to his time in Blink 182. Featuring Skiba’s trademark horror influenced lyrics (“You placed me upon the wheel / In your torture chamber, my remains were / Left next to my last meal”), the track branches out with a layered and intricate bridge that slows before exploding into a frenzy of intricate chaos.

Bassist Dan Adriano helms the other two tracks, starting with “Radio Violence”, with dreamy instrumentation during verses, a poppy chorus, and a truly satisfying guitar solo. “Smokestack” is an acoustic reflection looking back on a hard life and being thankful for the path there. Each line is as melancholy as expected from Alkaline Trio, but the delivery makes the song sound sweeter and more humble than it actually means to be (“Well, I was scared as hell as I was standing at that open bar / I saw a life go past that I guess I could’ve had, but I didn’t try very hard”).

It’s just a taste of new music, but E.P. is a solid addition to Alkaline Trio’s catalog. If it’s any indication of the direction that their next album may take, the future’s looking bright.

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and has been pricing fainting couches, should an appropriate occasion to use one crop up.

Review: Architects – Holy Hell

“Into the night we burn and rage / In death we repay for time on this stage / The lights are bright, but don’t lose your way / ‘Cause once it ignites, the flame must decay”

It’s nearly impossible to approach Holy Hell objectively. The eighth full-length studio album from British metalcore giants Architects lives entirely in the aftermath of guitarist and lead songwriter Tom Searle’s passing in 2016 after a three-year battle with skin cancer. As such, it’s a deeply emotional and personal document. Even so, its excellence in craft cannot be denied.

You can buy or stream Holy Hell on Apple Music.

From a broad perspective, Holy Hell is an unsurprising crash course in the complexity and devastation of grief. At times, it reads like a letter from Searle’s brother, and Architects’ drummer, Dan. At others, it dwells in the depths of sorrow, desperately searching for a path forward. On a molecular level, it almost inexplicably manages to build and evolve on a sound the band had presumably perfected in recent years.

All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us solidified Architects as titans of metalcore, as if more proof was needed. Unbeknownst to listeners upon its release, that album allowed the late Searle to explore his fate in painful detail. “Death is Not Defeat”, the opening track of Holy Hell finds Dan responding to his brother’s final lyrics, acknowledging the pain of a finite existence, while gripping tightly to hope: “Now you’re finally complete / I will see you where oceans meet”.

We could spend the remainder of this review exploring the beauty of Dan Searle’s lyrics and uncanny ability to capture the journey of grief  – and there are no shortage of moments to share. But it’s all brought to life through a band stretching itself and allowing their collective pain to forge a path forward.

New guitarist Josh Middleton makes his presence felt throughout, whether it be found in surprisingly melodic riffs during the opening moments of the album’s title track or in the band’s signature mathematic breakdowns on singles “Hereafter” and “Modern Misery”. Throughout Holy Hell, the band sprinkle in elements, such as dark synthesizers and stringed instruments that blend gently into the mix, adding emotion without sounding out of place. These additions take tracks like album closer “A Wasted Hymn” to a deeper place than the band has ever been able to explore.

Atop it all, Sam Carter, long considered one of the genre’s best vocalists, delivers his finest performance. Here, Carter finds new ways to splinter, be it delicately, as on “Royal Beggars” or in outright fury as on “The Seventh Circle”. On the former, Carter fights through sorrow while singing, “Royal beggars / Do you wanna / Live forever / Alone?” On “Seventh Circle”, Carter shreds his vocal chords non-stop for 1:30 as he helplessly bellows, “I feel the blood drip from my face / Maybe it’s better to never have been”. One can only imagine the scene in the studio while putting such a performance to tape.

Carter’s ability to evolve as a vocalist, transcending the traditional role of metalcore frontman, is made even more extraordinary when considering the circumstances. On back-to-back albums, he has been tasked with delivering a surreptitious farewell and then the mournful response of the bereaved. It must be the kind of responsibility that allows one to tap into parts of themselves they never knew existed. It has resulted in the kind of work that defines a career.

In the face of such loss, it would have been understandable had the remaining members of Architects chosen to walk away. That they chose to carry on is laudable. That they were able to take their collective grief and infuse it into something so life affirming, beautiful and real is inspiring. The band’s excellence is no longer debatable. Architects stand among the elite in modern metalcore.

5/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel 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.

Review: Justin Courtney Pierre – In The Drink

Despite the mounting evidence, Justine Courtney Pierre is fun. His musical career has been a series of self deprecation and hapless attempts at romance set to the tune of upbeat synth pop. That’s why it makes sense that his first solo outing, In The Drink doesn’t stray too far from familiar territory. In fact, it feels reassuring to know that Motion City Soundtrack’s lyrical content came from a place so honest that it follows through to his own music.

You can buy or stream In the Drink on Apple Music.

It is going to be impossible not to compare Pierre’s first solo album to Motion City Soundtrack. The album is still a pop rock album filled with dreamy lyrical downers. However, this is the first time Pierre has allowed himself to truly experiment with sounds. Produced by former Motion City guitarist Joshua Allen Cain, Pierre adds more garage influences to an otherwise MCS styled album. Be it the faded drumming and horn section of “Undone”, the fuzzed guitar nightmare of “Goodnight Hiroyuki”, or adding influences from Weezer’s Pinkerton to Motion City’s My Dinosaur Life to create a pop rock chimera like “Anchor”, Pierre somehow surprises as much as he plays to his base.

Perhaps most surprising is the fact that Pierre himself plays every instrument except for drumming duties, which are handled by David Jarnstrom (Gratitude, BNLX). Pierre’s lead and rhythm guitar sections are as hypnotic as anything he’s ever done. He truly finds a career-spanning range from the soft pop of Even If It Kills Me in “Moonbeam” to the raging guitars of My Dinosaur Life in “In The Drink”. Perhaps most surprising is how much his bass lines pop and stand on their own. At times, the bass threatens to overtake the lead guitar as the main instrument (“Ready Player One”, “Shoulder the Weight”) in surprisingly diverse ways.

Pierre himself remains as versatile as ever. While his vocal range doesn’t attempt anything new, he remains one of the most impressive singers in pop punk. Silky smooth, Pierre manages to sound both relatable and impressive as his imagery-filled lyrics slide off of his tongue. Subtle wavers of the voice (“I Don’t Know Why She Ran Away”) and confident bellows (“In The Drink”) fill the album. While he doesn’t sound like a choir boy, it’s absolutely impossible not to want to sing along because you feel like you can.

Thematically, In The Drink is on par for anything else Justin Pierre has written. On the opening track, “Undone”, Pierre admits, “Hey, I won’t leave the party today / I have nothing new to relate / There is only sadness, it always ends this way”.

“I Don’t Know Why She Ran Away” feels like a sister song to the Motion City Soundtrack staple “Her Words Destroyed My Planet”. Not quite as lively, the song still revolves around a man trying to put the pieces together about a broken relationship with Weezer-esque guitars raging behind the vocals. “Don’t stay. Baby please stay, you can’t stay / Every night of my life ends the same way / I want to. I don’t want to. It’s both true / Why can’t I figure this out?”

However, Pierre isn’t constantly in the ditch. “Ready Player One” sees him coming to terms with himself and finding balance with his demons, even in the midst of relationship turmoil. “Think what you will I was never as bad as they say / Okay maybe I was but back then I was outta my mind / And I’m all quips and chatter each quivering section of spine / And I’m here to it, here like I never could ever before cause I was afraid, but now I’m ready”.

In The Drink is the next logical step for Justin Pierre, even if it sounds like the next Motion City Soundtrack album. Aggressive, experimental and familiar, Justin Courtney Pierre delivers a hell of an album, even if it’s somewhat expected. What makes In The Drink so spectacular is the fact that it justifies every song Justin Pierre has written and shows not only how authentic Pierre has been throughout his career, but how close to the vest Motion City Soundtrack was through their lifetime. Whether you’re discovering Pierre for the first time, or coming for the nostalgia, In The Drink is an album that we’ve been waiting for.

4.5/5

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and accidentally let his apples go bad. Who does that? Has anyone ever bought TWO APPLES and gone, “No, I’ll hold onto these until they rot”? Literally no one until today.

Most Anticipated of 2018: #3 Pianos Become the Teeth Wait for Love

If you saw my latest event piece on mewithoutYou, you’ll know about one of my favorite bands: Pianos Become the Teeth. Their last album was released in 2014 and was called Keep You. It’s an album that has meant a lot to me over the past few years and I’ve had the privilege of hearing most of the songs played live. However, I was feeling that it was about time that I had some new songs to cry to. Thankfully, the band is releasing a new album, Wait for Love, on February 16, 2018.

As glad as I am that I’ll get new Pianos tunes, I’m hoping that they’ll be slightly more upbeat. Keep You dealt heavily with the theme of loss and I hope that the band members are having a better season in their life. That seemed to be the idea in their single, “Charisma”.

In listening to the new song, it seems that the band plans to keep the same clean vocal style on Keep You, but since we’ve only got one song to go off of, we’ll see whether they stick with that idea. Musically, though, it sits right in between all of their albums, and I’m very excited for the new approach. The video is interesting as well – the band isn’t featured at all, it’s more of a videographic trip through a city.

You can preorder Wait for Love now on Bandcamp. It was produced by Will Yip for Epitaph Records.

by Nadia Paiva

kiel_hauckNadia Paiva has been a music enthusiast since she can remember. Going to shows is her main pastime. The other is being upset when she can’t go to shows. This is her first official venture into writing about music. You can follow her on Twitter.

Most Anticipated of 2018: #10 Architects Press Onward

Last year proved to be one of reflection and recovery for many in the heavy music scene, as fans mourned the 2016 loss of Architects’ founding guitarist and songwriter Tom Searle. In September, the British metalcore act released “Doomsday”, their first track since Searle’s passing, serving as a farewell to their brother and a notice that they intend to carry on.

While it was hard to imagine Architects without Tom in the near aftermath of his passing, it’s even harder to think of one of the genre’s best bands hanging it up. It’s true – things won’t be the same without Tom, but Architects have shown themselves time and again to possess the kind of talent and drive needed to push the boundaries of the genre. Whatever comes next from the band will be welcomed with open arms.

And certainly, after 2017 proved to be worse than most of us imagined, the blistering voice of Sam Carter would be music to our ears. Even aside from their musical prowess, Architects’ penchant for battling against the voices of privilege, wealth, and oppression in our world have become one of the band’s hallmarks. If ever there was a time for punk music to land a blow amidst our current state of affairs, the time is now.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel 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.

Saying Goodbye to Letlive.

My first experience with letlive. was unintentional. On a hot July evening in Louisville, Kentucky, I was in attendance to cover my favorite band, Underoath, in support of their new album Ø (Disambiguation). It was mid-2011 and I was unaware of letlive.’s existence before their placement as the opener on the tour, though that night would prove to be the most enraptured I have ever been while watching an opening act.

Within moments of taking the stage, vocalist Jason Aalon Butler leaped into the docile crowd, screaming the repeated refrain of, “There are no martyrs in resolution / Remain still, don’t expect restitution / Stand up, stand up, stand up”. From there, the energy only escalated. Before the band’s set came to an end, Butler would be pulled from the stage by two venue security guards and dragged out of the building for his response to their abuse of a spectator. Feedback blared over the house speakers as the crowd looked around in bewilderment, unsure what it had just witnessed.

In so many ways, it was the perfect introduction to a band delivering an unwavering wake-up call, resolute in its cry against injustice.

Hanging with Jason after a 2012 concert in Indianapolis.

That night, I purchased Fake History, their breakthrough album, which had just been re-released by Epitaph Records. In the years that followed, I made it my ambition to share the news of letlive. at every possible opportunity, framing them as the west-coast spiritual successors to New York hardcore kings, Glassjaw.

For all of the criticism aimed in the direction of modern punk music, perhaps none is more valid than the idea that the genre has lost its teeth: misdirected passion with no resounding political or social message; no voice. It was, and still is, my belief that letlive. encapsulated the spirit of the punk community in a way that very few bands have dared in recent decades.

Fake History is a manic display of outrage directed toward systematic oppression and collective rejection of truth. Topics range from religious denial of evolution to the pitfalls of capitalism. On “Casino Columbus”, Butler takes aim at the pillaging of Native Americans and their culture, shrieking, “I want to be the bourgeoisie, but I don’t have blue blood in my veins / My eyes did see the vampirous pilgrim drop a few red drips from his fangs” before closing with, “Stick your finger down the throat of your freedoms / And let it all purge on out”.

The raw, post-hardcore violence of Fake History, coupled with grassroots, word-of-mouth marketing around the band’s live performances brought letlive. to scene attention, complete with magazine covers and features that showcased the delicate, thoughtful off-stage personality of Butler – a man determined to deliver his message at any cost. It was that organic rise to attention to made 2013’s The Blackest Beautiful all the more impactful.

I’m a firm believer that The Blackest Beautiful is one of the most important rock albums the genre has produced in recent memory. In addition to refining their sonic chaos, Butler delivers an inspired performance, targeting systematic racism, the broken healthcare system, and a misplaced worship of celebrity. It’s the punk album that letlive. had earned more than enough cache to deliver, and it is close to perfect.

That summer was a whirlwind, with letlive. leading a long-overdue conversation in an often-complacent scene. One of the personal highlights of my career came while covering the band on that summer’s Warped Tour, writing a feature on a band that had put the genre I love on notice in all the right ways. It felt like validation.

As I’ve learned so many times in my life, though, it’s easy to take good things for granted. I largely shrugged at last year’s If I’m the Devil…, an album that I felt lacked the bite of letlive.’s previous work, even if it did contain some interesting new tricks and important discussion. It never crossed my mind that we might have heard the last from a band that I presumed would lead the genre forward for years to come.

The news of letlive.’s demise is hard to swallow and even harder to believe. The mission statement and idea behind the very website you’re reading is based largely off of the spirit of letlive. – a commitment to praise authenticy, progress and positivity. In a scene that still shamefully struggles with misogyny, gender and racial imbalance, and general apathy, it’s hard not to feel a giant hole. Nevertheless, I know this community benefited greatly from letlive. and I firmly believe that others will carry their torch.

I feel fortunate to have been at that show in Louisville in 2011 and even more fortunate to have watched the band play countless times after, seeing something new with each performance. I’m grateful to the band for their music, their message and their humbleness. Finally, I feel confident than their spirit of empowerment and justice will carry on. After all, according to Butler at every show I attended, letlive. was composed of more than just the members on stage – it was all of us.

“We got an army for us versus them, but look, it’s not us versus them / It’s just us, my friend”

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel 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.

This Wild Life Stream New Song “Hit the Reset”

this-wild-life-2016

We’re only a few short weeks away from Low Tides, the new release from This Wild Life. The Long Beach duo made a splash in 2014 with their debut album, Clouded, a mostly acoustic affair full of rich melodies and heartbreak. This time around, This Wild Life appear to be adding to the mix, exemplified by their new song “Hit the Reset”. Take a listen to the new track below:

If you like what you hear, you can pre-order Low Tides through the band’s website. The album releases on September 9 via Epitaph Records.

What are your thoughts on the new track? Share in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Review: Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us

architects-band-2016

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?

All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us

You can buy All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us on iTunes.

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.

4.5/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel 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.