01. Early Grave 02. Dethroned 03. Numbers Count for Nothing 04. Follow the Water 05. In Elegance 06. We're All Alone 07. Borrowed Time 08. Every Last Breath 09. One of These Days 10. Dead March 11. Left With a Last Minute 12. Hollow Crown2009 Century Media Records
by Dan Strobel
Even if you've only been able to spare a few brain cells to keep tabs on the recent influx of metalcore bands, Architects are probably one outfit that have caught your attention. Since their first full-length, Nightmares, hit the pavement in 2006 this five-piece from Brighton, UK have been gaining momentum and sounding more polished with each release. Newest effort Hollow Crown finds these youngsters laying down 13 tracks of tight, well-delivered metal/hardcore that hardly breaks any new ground but should earn them more respect in the metal community than some of the other young acts that have emerged overseas recently. No time is wasted as opener "Early Grave" launches into a Meshuggah-esque chugging riff before Sam Carter's throat-wrenching shriek cranks up and doesn't let off the pedal for the next 41 minutes. While his screaming range is somewhat limited, it suits the music well and lends a sense of urgency to the record. The band experiments with clean vocals throughout Hollow Crown and achieve mixed results. When they do it well, they can move mountains. When they don't, they come off sounding akin to Alexisonfire or Underoath. "Numbers Count for Nothing" harnesses blast beats and spastic guitars into tightly controlled melodies before launching into a chord-driven bridge that is a departure from the more straight-up moshfests that the rest of the album's songs tend to become. "Left With a Last Minute", "We're All Alone" and "One of These Days" are jailbreaks that make good use of gang vocals, catchy choruses and driving riffs that seemingly ecapsulate the appeal of Architects. Sounding their best when clean vocals are thrown out the window, nothing is held back and they just play the no-frills style of metal/math/whatever-core they're good at, Architects are kind of like the better, English version of occasional tourmates Parkway Drive. Example: Closing and title track "Hollow Crown" has Carter cleanly belting out something about breathing sea breeze that I can't even listen to all the way through; but on earlier track "Borrowed Time," things just sound right as he sneers, "You mean nothing to me and you never fucking did" over a gargantuan breakdown. Yes, there are breakdowns but they are sparse. Usually disguised and layered well, it's a strength of the band and something their Australian counterparts could take note of. Bottom line: Really nothing new to be heard here, but as members of a genre often maligned for its immaturity and generic qualities, Architects have done enough to stand out from their peers. The future appears bright for these young lads and it will be interesting to watch how their sound continues to evolve.