The Architects of Guilt
01. The New Hell
02. Ad Mortem
03. We Are The Wolves
04. Turner Classic Diaries
05. Bigger Cages, Longer Chains!
06. The Crown and the Holy See
07. VII The Fraudulent
08. A Pavement of Good Intentions
09. A Fragile Peace
10. Pyrithion House
11. To The Teeth
[Solid State Records]
Stand out death metal from new and up-and-coming acts is hard to come by. In an abysmal sea of endless breakdowns and mediocrity, it seems that the only ones making killer death metal these days are the already established acts that stuck with it. Enter The Famine. For a band featuring an ex-member of Demon Hunter, they pack quite a punch. Their second album, The Architects of Guilt, is a breath of fresh air both musically and thematically in a scene that’s full of… well, scene.
Signed to Christian rock and metal label Solid State Records, The Famine are not quite what you’d expect. Solid State are largely invested in metalcore bands like the aforementioned Demon Hunter, Norma Jean, and Haste The Day. You know, bands along those lines. The Famine differ from the rest of the pack in that they’re not -core at all; in fact, they’re straight up death metal done right. There is nary a breakdown in earshot; instead of pillars of chugs building a foundation of low end, The Famine focus on thick and memorable riffs and excellent guitar solos. Success! Someone knows what they’re doing. It turns out you can carry a groove without over-reliance on palm muted chugging. Imagine that.
The lyrical themes of The Architects of Guilt seem to fall (on occasion at least) on a harsh critique of the conservative ideals and ignorance that seems to run rampant in Christianity, most notably in the track “The Crown and the Holy See.” A death metal band bashing Christians? Perish the thought, right? The Famine offer a somewhat fresh take on the issue, being Christians themselves. They aren’t overly preachy either, which is a strong selling point for secular listening. They’re just pissed that the Bible thumpers are making them look bad, a sentiment with which many can no doubt identify.
The vocal work in which these lyrics are delivered is one of The Famine’s many strong suits. Switching between satisfying higher screams and low growls, vocalist Nick Nowell avoids being samey and monotonous in his delivery. Being varied is a key, as he switches between the two on the fly while maintaining a tone of conviction, which many vocalists these days can’t seem to do. I suppose having your studio catch on fire and having to re-record much of your album will bring out some of that intensity.
The Architects of Guilt is what straight up death metal should be. No brees, no annoying breakdowns, no directionless wank. Straightforward as this style may be, it’s still confrontational (both musically and lyrically) and it sounds excellent from a production standpoint. Despite this great execution however, the album runs slightly homogeneous in its sound and few tracks stand out as their own being rather than just a separate movement for the album. This album is full of excellent songs, no doubt, but a lot of them seem to unfortunately sound the same. Regardless, The Architects of Guilt is a very good album that makes The Famine stand out among their contemporaries and label mates.