Album Review: Architects - 'Daybreaker'

25 June 2012 | 10:32 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Give it time, it will grow on you.

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Either the months are flying by with considered pace or Architects have an efficient arrangement in place. It feels like only yesterday we were dissecting and analysing the virtues and appeals of fourth studio album 'The Here and Now'. Well, forget the general yardstick that suggests full-lengths be released two years apart, Architects have delivered in under 18 months.

However, while this is exciting for fans, scratching below the surface the discernible critic might say this is an interesting timeframe that raises more questions than it answers. Anyone familiar with 'The Here and Now' knows the record marked a departure from previous styles. It boarded on Alexisonfire post-hardcore instead of that tech-heavy sound. It wasn't bad, in fact there were some impressive moments, but it was a noticeable change nevertheless.

Fifth studio album 'Daybreaker' follows the band's assertions that Architects are returning to a heavy sound. That should get the hardcore kids back on board off the bat. To a loose extent, this release shares more in common with the likes of 'Hollow Crown' than its predecessor.

'Alpha Omega' is a typical Architects mix that begins the album in the right manner. 'These Colours Don't Run' continues the entertaining opening, with the band steering away from personal lyrics and focusing on the political themes. 'Daybreak' has the clean-sung choruses reinforced, but it's 'Truth, Be Told' where things slowly lose focus. After that, the subsequent tracks, while solid, just seem to simply re-work the first four or five songs on the release. Sam Carter's vocals though, are a strong point. They're harsh but varying, and differ from the all too common scream-growl formula.

Maybe it's a staunch and unfair call, but the problem is that the heaviness doesn't have the same substance we have come to expect. Nothing grabs the listener here and demands unconditional attention. It's too up and down. Enjoyable yes, but excelling no. 'Daybreaker' is serviceable, however, when held against past offerings can serviceable be deemed entirely satisfactory?

There's some fast moments and some slow moments that only work to interrupt the pace. Sure it's ambient and equally raw, but the balance is not as defined as it could be. Architects are a fantastic band, worthy of lengthy praise, but acknowledging their talent is also to understand that 'Daybreaker' feels like it's caught in between. Perhaps, the fault is more severe because we know Architects are one of the good guys in the heavy scene that are capable of something more innovative.

In a humble and maybe fundamental way of looking at things, it appears Architects left the path to explore a different style on 'The Here and Now', got half way and realised the sound was a dead end. Now it seems the band are striving to get back to past feats.

'Daybreaker' is the best (and in perhaps a harsh sense) worst of Architects. Either way you choose to receive studio album number five, Architects' favourable reputation remains in tact. This is a very good band that have just lapsed slightly in this instance. There are some engaging and unrelenting tracks that will rank highly, but as a whole 'Daybreaker' is probably not the ideal representation of what we know Architects can manage. instead of grabbing the listener early it's one that will slowly grow on you.

1. The Bitter End
2. Alpha Omega
3. These Colours Don't Run
4. Daybreak
5. Truth, Be Told
6. Even If You Win, You're Still A Rat
7. Outsider Heart
8. Behind The Throne
9. Devil's Island
10. Father Of Lead
11. Unbeliever