01. The Bitter End
02. Alpha Omega
03. These Colours Don’t Run
05. Truth, Be Told
06. Even If You Win, You’re Still A Rat
07. Outsider Heart
08. Behind The Throne
09. Devil’s Island
10. Feather of Lead
British metalcore band Architects “hit it big” in a sense with 2009’s acclaimed Hollow Crown, which some consider to be their opus. It brought them a flurry of new fans and seemed to strengthen the dedication of their core fanbase. In retrospect, the album was perfect for a genre that was beginning to wane; almost too perfect, in fact. The passionate vocal delivery and sense of melody wasn’t overbearing, as the music itself had balls; mathcore-esque technicality and progressive song structure made for a great counter-balance. Creating a worthy follow-up to Hollow Crown was sure to be a daunting task, and apparently it was. The 2011 follow-up The Here And Now was met with wide disappointment, and was an admitted misstep that saw the band reaching for a more accessible sound. A year later, we were promised a return to form with Daybreaker. Would the band deliver and swing back from the ropes?
While expecting a band to create the same album twice is unreasonable and leads to shit like Korn III, Architects crafted a reasonable and appropriate follow-up that puts them back on the map. Daybreaker almost fits perfectly between Hollow Crown and The Here And Now, taking things that the band must have enjoyed from both records and creating what sounds like a compromise that should make everyone happy in theory. The pop song structure from The Here And Now remains (verse-chorus structure) where Hollow Crown liked to mix things up (take for instance ‘Follow the Water‘, which saved the song’s chorus for the final climactic moments), but the songs are better overall. Daybreaker, as evidenced by the familiar crown adorning the cover, is the logical next step. Everything seems to be in order!
The album is about split-even with ballads and the patented Architects hardcore edge. From the very beginning of the record, the intro ‘The Bitter End’ features a melancholic Sam Carter singing over elaborate production full of synths and electronics before turning into a massive fit of screaming a huge guitars. This dichotomous track appropriately shows the two sides of the modern Architects sound in a fitting way that sets the stage for the rest of the album.
Tracks like ‘Alpha Omega’ and ‘These Colours Don’t Run’ should be enough to please any scorned Hollow Crown fan, and tracks like ‘Behind the Throne’ and the closer ‘Unbeliever’ both play with quite solace and building orchestration. The ballad tracks are indeed beautiful and the heavier tracks hit the spot, but there’s not enough variance between the tracks of either style. As stated previously, they’ve opted for more accessible song structure and many of the synths across the songs are exactly the same. This definitely could be a turn off to some, but Architects at least strive for a balance between the two styles across the album’s 42-minute runtime. At any rate, it’s safe to say they didn’t create the same album twice either way.
The production has also seen quite an improvement, which is great because Architects are moving towards an area that sees them using more synth layers for orchestration. The vocals on The Here And Now were quite distorted and compressed to the point of clipping, which is something that can ruin an album in the ears of an audiophile. Daybreaker, on the other hand, sounds massive without too much distortion.
So while Daybreaker isn’t Hollow Crown Part II, it is a much needed improvement to get the band back into their sweet-spot of chaotic riffs and epic songwriting. There’s still some room for improvement, but they’re on their way to greatness once again. Who knows where they’ll go from here, but for now, they’re on the right track.
Architects – Daybreaker gets…