Published Nov 08, 2018It has been a trying time for one of Brighton, UK's brightest, as Architects recently lost guitarist, founding member and primary songwriter, Tom Searle, to a three-year battle with cancer. Despite the huge blow, the band trudged on and proceeded with all upcoming tours, vowing to face the recent tragedy head-on. In fall of 2017, they began writing what would eventually become Holy Hell as a means of coping with their loss, and the much anticipated album is finally set for release.
As one would expect, Holy Hell is a highly emotional and cathartic album with lyrics that deal directly with death, loss and mourning. Despite the sombre subject, the band deliver their mission statement "Death Is Not Defeat" with the album's opening track, which ushers in a collection of bangers that generally sound more anthemic than they do tragic.
The overall mood throughout Holy Hell is one of perseverance, which is strongly expressed by the band's use of strings, piano and ambient pads; that being said, these tools are also used to forge unease at times when the band choose to embrace their anger and pain. In "Dying to Heal," for example, the violin is used to create an air of dissonance and uncertainty, which leads into the album's angriest and decidedly heaviest song, "The Seventh Circle."
Perhaps what's most notable about Holy Hell is the unparalleled vocal performance delivered by band frontman, Sam Carter. While having been ranked as one of the genre's best for almost a decade, every single line on Holy Hell is dripping with sentiment; from seething fury to abject loss, the album is infused with so much raw emotion, it is at times hard to listen to without choking up yourself.
Having lost one of their primary song writers, many feared Architects would change and ditch their technical brand of metal for one more commercially palatable, but, in the spirit of perseverance manifested by this eighth full-length release, Architects have proven that they are just as strong as ever, and that death is not defeat. (Epitaph)