Despite the almost career-derailing misstep of 2011’s languid The Here And Now, there are few metal bands, UK or otherwise, that can compete with the stunning back catalogue of Architects. Regrouping and readjusting to deliver the excellent Daybreaker (2012) and spectacular Lost Forever//Lost Together (2014), the Brighton four-piece saw a surge in popularity once again, and having categorically learned the lessons of the past started to enjoy the kind of kudos they so obviously deserve. None, however, could have foreseen the abyss-conjuring intensity of 2016 masterstroke All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us.
In retrospect, the supercharged emotions which underpin tracks like a religion-thumping ‘Nihilist’ and the desperate ‘All Love Is Lost’ are entirely to be expected (guitarist and main-songwriter Tom Searle would pass away from a lengthy battle with skin cancer not two months after the album’s release), every second informed by a dizzying emotional oomph whether it’s the startling rage of ‘Deathwish’ or the stadium-sized chorus of ‘Gone With The Wind’. And indeed, whilst All Our Gods… finds Architects toughened up in every department, there are plenty of looped atmospherics and skittering beats lurking amid the thudding, muscular grooves, a sort of brooding, avant-garde electronica which captures a real sense of end-of-the-world melodrama, and is no more apparent than on album closer ‘Momento Mori’.
Gloriously crafted and imbued with a Cult Of Luna-esque polyrhythmic punch, vast crescendos and moments of spectral, gothic calm make this not only the biggest risk of their storied career to date, but also their defining statement, the point where beyond leap-frogging metalcores ongoing stagnation, they left behind any ideas of genre classification and stood simply as Architects. For all the terrible realities at its core, All Our Gods… is a self evident career peak, and, without a hint of compromise, an immense artistic achievement from one of our fair shores most intelligent and thrilling standard bearers.
Words: Tony Bliss