Architects have always channelled feelings of power. They've always encouraged unity. Bellowing anthems for change while pondering mortality over shuddering breakdowns, Architects did it better than most. 2014's ‘Lost Forever//Lost Together' found them letting beauty in without apology, while 2016's ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us' was an intimate, wide-eyed look at a world that didn't make sense anymore. In sharing their fear and fury, Architects found a voice. In those albums, so did their audience.
‘Holy Hell' sees the band pick up the pieces following the death of brother, bandmate and creative driving force Tom Searle. For album eight, not only have Architects had to rebuild the way they write music, but they've also had to deal with the added pressure of being bigger than they ever dreamed. Rather than echo what's come before, Architects have taken the baton and run with it. This is the story of what comes next.
‘Holy Hell' sees the band focused, and their eyes looking dead ahead. Rather than toying with sonic flourishes and bending genre lines, the record rages, rallies and cries out at the abyss. A testament to perseverance, an exploration in grief, and quaking with undeniable power, ‘Holy Hell' tries to find some sort of sense in suffering. The answer is a hopeful one, but rather than simply showing both sides of the coin, Architects send it spinning.
‘Seventh Circle' finds them angry, tearing at themselves like a wounded animal; ‘Doomsday', poignant, purposeful and full of forwarding momentum has lost none of its sparkling importance, while the silver-lined ‘A Wasting Hymn' is the record's hopeful big finish. In mixing light, dark and the lines between, Architects have confronted the shadows and lit up a way through. It's messy, it's painful, and it's difficult, but ‘Holy Hell' is proof it's possible.
There are moments of uncomfortable bluntness, terrifying admissions and resolute promises to continue across ‘Holy Hell'. It's deliberate in everything it does, and everything it shares. In being open, vulnerable and unafraid at every twisting jolt forward and back, Architects haven't just lived up to their legacy. Forging unity and encouraging power in the absence of any, they've taken the difficult next step.