Architects – ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’

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A little over two years since the release of ‘Holy Hell’, Architects have returned with a very different record. Where their last release saw them tackle their grief and pain head on whilst also utilising ideas left behind by their late band member and brother Tom Searle, their new album ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’ sees them begin to take steps forwards from their past and into new territory.

Unmistakably their most expansive record to date, ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’ tackles subjects that look mostly outward rather than inward whilst juxtaposing bleak lyrical themes with the most uplifting and elating music they’ve written in years. This is a record that will be both exactly what you expected and everything that you didn’t. Strap yourselves in.

The first single ‘Animals’ boldly introduced some of the themes that course through the album. Vocalist Sam Carter’s faultless vocals lead the charge of colossal guitars and punishing drums, blending a tantalising sweetness with a driving industrial force that sinks deep into your brain. ‘Black Lungs’ toys with some of the same characteristics, picking up the pace and fading some of those industrial vibes into the background to allow the riff-work of Adam Christianson, Josh Middleton and bassist Ali Dean to steal the spotlight. The first two singles are a good window into the record, but there’s so much more beyond that’s worth exploring.

The electronic side of the record is unlike anything they’ve done before, and it really transforms some of the songs. ‘An Ordinary Extinction’, for example, has the potential to incite jealousy in the likes of Bring Me The Horizon, with synths sitting elegantly behind aggressive guitar work and, together with Carter’s signature venomous delivery, creates an electrifying chorus.

One of the heavier tracks on offer, ’Discourse Is Dead’, spreads them out to create room for stunning strings that produce a spine-tingling atmosphere, heightened by the sheer weight of the music within it. ‘Demi-God’ and ‘Dead Butterflies’ utilise an almost cinematic palette, ‘Giving Blood’ is a bouncy gem that’s bound to become a live favourite, and ‘Meteor’ is unashamedly addictive – so much gold is crammed into this album, but there are a few diamonds worth shining a spotlight on.

One of them is ‘Goliath’, the last truly heavy track of the record that features a whole host of moments that have shades of their back catalogue. A largely punishing and riotous affair, especially in regards to the thunderous drum work from Dan Searle, it’s prime pit material made more dangerous by the inclusion of guest vocals from Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil. Listen as he does his best Jekyll and Hyde impression, stealing the show as he erupts from relative calm into total mayhem.

Another gem appears in the form of album closer ‘Dying Is Absolutely Safe’, a stark and heartbreaking summary of the entire record. The most stripped back and raw song on display, it plays the part of both a finale and the message of hope for life moving forwards. Lyrically trying to look to a brighter future whilst also accepting that there’s only so much we can do, it’s riddled with both optimism and pessimism as they beautifully close yet another chapter in their ever-developing story. This particular chapter is one you’ll find yourself wanting to repeat over and over.

There’s no denying that this is the same Architects we’ve come to know and adore over the years, but this album showcases them in a completely different way. Every element of their well-established sound is present and correct, but their individual prominence and the roles they play are vastly different throughout the record. Some tracks follow their more traditional aggressive and ballsy approach, some lean heavily into the ambience and electronic-led atmospherics, but there’s one thing that each track has furiously bursting from it – melody.

Melody isn’t exactly a new facet for their music, but they’ve never used it as recurrently as they have here. Where a large portion of their back catalogue would use it as a tool for relief from the aural onslaught or to lift a song from the darkness into the light, its role on ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’ is as the backbone of the album.

Every part of this album orbits around it, dipping in and out of the foreground as they use it in different ways and allow it to take the centre stage. Sometimes it’s in the vocals, others the guitars or the backing – sometimes it’s everywhere all at once, everything coming together as one and overwhelming your senses. This is their most explorative and captivating record to date, delivered in a way that no-one else could replicate. One of the UK’s best showing exactly why they’re deserving of that title.

DAVE STEWART

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