Overall Score: 7/10 Stand Out Tracks: 8/10 Riffs: 8/10 Consistency: 7/10 Pros: When it's good, it's very good | Sam's effortless vocal style switching Cons: The second half dips noticably compared to the first
Architects new album For Those That Wish To Exist is arguably the first truly “big” album of 2021 to come from a well established metal band. It is certainly one of the most eagerly awaited albums of the year in the world of heavy music, and perhaps one of the ones that a lot of people have also been the most nervous about. Those who have heard the singles will have probably worked this out already, but anyone who was expecting an Architects album that continues in the vein of the last few is going to get a surprise. For Those That Wish To Exist is still unmistakably an Architects album, but one where the band are trying more new things than they have in the last several albums. The previous three albums have been described at times as a group, and this is definitely a break in style from that trilogy.
It has to be said that For Those That Wish To Exist starts very well indeed. After the intro Do You Dream Of Armageddon, Black Lungs is a great first full track. Full of the traditional Architects riffing goodness from Josh Middleton and Adam Christianson, Sam Carter uses his full range of vocal styles across the song, and the final minute or so features a monster breakdown before a final rip through the very catchy chorus. There’s also some lovely, understated use of some strings in the background of the track that you may not pick up on first listen, but really add to things. It’s very easy to see why it was one of the lead singles for the album. Giving Blood is another track that walks the heavy / melodic tightrope well across the length of the song (though to some it might feel more like a track from one of Architects contemporaries, While She Sleeps, from their last album So What?).
Discourse Is Dead, debuted on the band’s recent phenomenal live stream from The Royal Albert Hall, is by far the heaviest track on the album. The riffs are monstrous, the vocals are fierce, and the rhythm section from Dan Searle and Alex Dean are on fire. It segues nicely into another single, Dead Butterflies, which is perhaps the best example of Architects’ melodic side at its most effective. An Ordinary Extinction sees Sam Carter return to his raspiest on the chorus, while the extra electronic effects on the riffs work well. The first of the album’s guests, Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall, features on another of the heaviest tracks (as one might expect), the riff stomping Impermanence.
It’s when the album hits the mid-point that the problems start to surface and where the experimenting doesn’t pay off. Flight Without Feathers feels too ….wet for lack of a better expression; a syrupy, electro-effect powered ballad. It’s the track that the Internet tr00 metulz crowd who have been afraid of Architects “doing a Bring Me The Horizon” are likely to lose their shit over. A similar reaction may be felt to Little Wonder (featuring Mike Kerr from Royal Blood). It’s a track where the production and chorus style would not be at all out of place on That’s The Spirit, though Little Wonder returns firmly to traditional Architects territory in the final third of the track.
From here the album yo-yo’s in quality. The excellent first single from the album, Animals, complete with THAT main riff (the best Gojira riff never written by the French maestros) is the high point of the second half. A wonderful piece of mainstream metal, it’s a track that should fill the floors of rock clubs when they re-open for years to come. Goliath (featuring Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro) is one of the lyrical highlights of the album, while Meteor is a highly enjoyable dose of the mainstream mode Architects have adopted on some of the singles from the album. The other tracks (Libertine and Demigod) don’t match up to the same level, and contribute to a feeling that the album is perhaps slightly too long. The closing Dying Is Absolutely Safe is extremely thought provoking. It’s musical style won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s a song where everyone should stop and pay attention to the lyrics.
Something that For Those That Wish To Exist feels like it is missing perhaps more than anything else is a faster track or two. Even on the heaviest tracks, the tempo never gets cranked above the distinctive medium paced Gojira-esque stomp; A track with the pace of Nihilist or the faster bits of Doomsday will be missed by many Architects fans. This, combined with a little streamlining, would have seen this go from a very good album to a great one.
Overall, For Those That Wish To Exist is an album that has far more good about it than bad, but doesn’t quite hit the heights that Architects are capable of. Nevertheless, it is still an album that should see the band continue their huge success of recent years, and there are more than enough notable songs here to put Architects firmly in position to be one of the next generation of metal festival headliners.
For Those That Wish To Exist is released on Friday 26th February 2021 on Epitaph Records. Details on how to pre-order / order the album can be found at the band’s official website.