When every single road sign points towards playing it safe, it takes a special band to change course. With For Those That Wish To Exist, Architects have taken a sonic leap that, once again, sees them out-manoeuvre their contemporaries.
The southerners last trio of records took them from under appreciated critical darlings, to undisputed emperors of British modern metal. With 2018's tragedy lead Holy Hell serving as the engine - Architects have now reached a status where transcendence is but an arms reach away.
As 'Do You Dream Of Armageddon's opening strings take shape, Sam Carter's ominous vocals place you on the frontline: you're consumed by the gravity of it all. It's a natural precursor to 'Black Lungs', a track which sets For Those Who Wish To Exist's stall out with a free-flowing formation. Musically the five piece may have shifted, but their commitment to conscientious writing remains solid. Inspired by their time in Australia during last years bush fires - "Black lungs for the young if they dare to breathe, sure sounds like heaven to me" are lyrics of social denunciation, the kind Architects have mastered over their 15 year run.
Perhaps no track summarises the progression in the bands song writing more than 'Discourse Is Dead'. Now in a position where their tempo can change with the wind, guitarists Josh Middleton and Adam Christianson provide the bite under Sam's snarling vocal lines. That is until the climactic, gargantuan chorus takes hold however, and instead of a breakdown following the tracks bridge, we're treated to choir repetitions of the chorus. It's the most melodious, and challenging that Architects have ever been, but make no mistake: it's brilliant.
For Those That Wish To Exist continues to bolden though. Not content with just stretching their sound to merely include hook laden choruses - Architects purposefully flip the script. 'Little Wonder' has all the pomp and circumstance of a hard rock song, with a techno backdrop and a Mike Kerr (Royal Blood) guest spot to boot. While its predecessor 'Flight Without Feathers' picks up on the trail left for it by All Out Gods Have Abandoned Us' 'Memento Mori' - its effervescent, hypnotic texture would fit comfortably on the next Sleep Token album.
Lead song writer & drummer Dan Searle has steered clear of back alley trades of Architects' credibility in the hope of some radio airplay. For Those... is a swaggering beast of sonic manipulation. 'Libertine' is a track the band couldn't possibly have penned five years ago, but its rhythmic fleet between low tuned djent and angelic symphony see it airlifted to prominence. How the band have managed to weave such vibrancy in dark subject matter is a Sherlock style mystery.
On the surface it may not seem so, but those demanding a signature heavy sound from Architects are catered for, too. 'An Ordinary Extinction' opens with breakdown timings, 'Giving Blood' has piercing guitar lines running through that could have been on SlipKnot's debut. And 'Impermanence' supports Winston McCall's growling guest vocal with a seismic breakdown, fit to stand toe to toe with any of the bands pit starters post Hollow Crown.
This 15 track opus of ingenuity and courage is tied together by the magnificent, graceful, 'Dying Is Absolutely Safe'. Knowing what the band have been through since the death of guitarist, brother of Dan, and former lead song writer Tom Searle brings a lump to the throat as Sam peacefully chimes through a depiction of how to accept life's final stages. The journey is complete with the albums closing lyrics of "Death is not my enemy" Nothing could be more fitting.
In decades to come, we will look back at this time period of alternative music, and we will only truly remember the difference makers, Architects will be one of them. For Those That Wish To Exist could have easily gotten away with being Holy Hell 2.0, but this band are better than that - and they realised it. Upon reflection, their musical leap of faith - didn't require any faith at all, and though their ties to British metal will live forever - maybe this is the album they were born to write.
For Those That Wish To Exist is released February 26th via Epitaph Records. Pre order here