Album Review: ARCHITECTS - For Those That Wish To Exist
Album: For Those That Wish To Exist
Review by Will Oakeshott
Conceivably one of the most prominent figures of French avant-garde theatre and distinguished playwrights Eugène Ionesco once said: “A work of art is above all an adventure of the mind.” - considering the dramatic effect the pandemic has had on the world, especially the arts, this statement is a near flawless summation of the restrictions artists have faced and impossibly undertaken to create unforgettable beauty. The difficulty however, particularly for musicians who tour as aggressively as the UK’s progressive-metalcore luminaries Architects, is that this insulated existence has the potential to provoke overthought; For Those That Wish To Exist is the band’s ninth studio album and easily their most expansive in multiple levels, which conclusively is a very impressive feat in itself. But, enthusiasm doesn’t always equate to excellence, as humanity discovered with the first Apollo mission where all astronauts aboard during a launch rehearsal test sadly perished in a cabin fire, sometimes the radical is not that remarkable.
Opening track “Do You Dream Of Armageddon” instantaneously calls upon TranceCore prodigies Enter Shikari, which in actuality is a solid foundation to introduce the listener to this ambitious 15 track offering from Architects - it is an immediate misdirect from their previous four progressive-melodic-metalcore offerings which all have become remarkable references and platforms for expertise in that genre; the listener is made aware that this is a new adventure and the intrigue is indisputable, although the elaboration only broadcasts brilliance intermittently.
“Black Lungs” and “Giving Blood” seem to follow the guidance of the transformation Bring Me The Horizon undertook AFTER their opus There Is a Hell Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven Let's Keep It a Secret - it is compelling and undoubtedly embracing the influence that Linkin Park have stamped on the heavy music universe; it isn’t ingenious though, more gratifying than grandiose. Thankfully this formula is executed near-perfectly with “Little Wonder” featuring Mike Kerr from Royal Blood later in the rock-opera journey For Those That Wish To Exist presents - more on that later.
“Discourse Is Dead” is at this point overdue, a return to form that recollects Holly Hell; “brutal and beautiful” would be a fitting description and what Architects devotees would desire wholeheartedly. Then, just as the necks are being realigned, an electronic beat with brass section overwhelms the observer and suddenly we have a Hands Like Houses symphony orchestra collaboration with Sam Carter’s enigmatic vocals. Interesting? Undoubtedly. Mystical? No, more-so muddled.
“An Ordinary Extinction” is this exploration of electronics, the EXTRAordinary and heavy executed masterly - it is annoyingly modern, but instigates an amazing adrenaline rush. For this scribe, an avid surfer, it is quite similar to trying to soundtrack the experience of the power of the ocean without any persuasion from Jack Johnson or 90s punk (both are invaluable irrefutably) - sometimes the athlete has to wait patiently for the right tidal movement over shallow banks to feel that “rush” - song-wise it happens after four minutes. A little unpredictable; very worth the wait none-the-less.
On the surfing element, Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall’s guest appearance on “Impermanence” is quite simply: Exquisiteness. This combination has been required (to say the least) for a decade and with how both outfits have developed over that period of time (they toured Australia together in 2009) it is delayed and delightful, but a peak in a full-length doesn’t make it perfect.
“Flight Without Feathers” is incorrect, unconditionally. It is delicate and derived, but Owl City has a sound that was completely separated to what Architects pioneered. As an experiment this works, because Sam Carter has proven he is one of the most striking vocalists around - but it isn’t Architects.
Lead single “Animals” is the reliable beer that always replenishes no matter what; marginally more melodic than what the quintet usually deliver, nevertheless quenches that thirst only they can provide. “Libertine” and “Goliath” have been misplaced on the LP as their position should be higher on the record, Architects have grown into a stadium band, deservedly so and thankfully they have advanced from a melodic-metalcore recipe. These three songs are their RNA (in short, a modification taken from DNA) in that they have used their uncanny formula and built on it and these songs essentially are the spark of the five-piece. The Greg Puciato motivated vocal gymnastics on “Goliath” are otherworldly also.
“Demi God” is a song Awaken I am forgot to write and does seem ineligible, but this lapse is saved by “Meteor” which is the best re-imagination of Linkin Park heard by this writer - very unoriginal, very intoxicating; add the letter “A” to the song title, it just works.
There is a closing track and for a rock-opera, which this LP is essentially is, it does work with the chronology and the aura of For Those That Wish To Exist; BUT “Dying Is Absolutely Safe” is to a degree, a grand sequel to “Heartburn” - a ballad from The Here And Now which the band have purposefully ignored for 10 years. It is luscious, though, in retrospect, it is lost and honestly unnecessary.
“A work of art is above all an adventure of the mind.” - too much mind, not enough malice. Architects will undoubtedly be THAT festival headliner when COVID-19 no longer disrupts the world and For Those That Wish To Exist will project them to that stratosphere (truth-be-told they are already there). Is this a memorable album? Considering 2020, yes, it is an exploration of a band in hibernation, a bear who has become so hungry there is insanity looming. However, this author will rather endure the Hollow Crown repetitively instead.