Taken from their next record, ‘For Those That Wish To Exist,’ ‘Animals’ is a welcomed change-up for Architects.
I don’t recall which article or review I first mentioned this in, but regarding Architects‘ previous LP, ‘Holy Hell,’ I would’ve now rated that record lower than what I ultimately scored it as back in 2018. For the sole reason that it was just more of the same, barring the additional string arrangements, and that other than ‘The Seventh Circle‘ and ‘Hereafter,’ I never go back to it. Whether you love or loathe the U.K. metalcore titans’ music, one thing is objectively true about them: they comfortably but safely sat on the same sound for three albums. It was getting to the point of exhaustion and diminishing returns. Turns out, Architects themselves were keenly aware of this. Thank Christ then that new single, ‘Animals,’ is something different for Architects and their songwriting: more melodic, more ambience, and dare I say it, and slightly industrial with a few seeming Rammstein influences. (Notice the subtle electronics in the verses, alarm-like synthesisers, cop car sirens in the bridge, and reversed vocals in the intro.)
Which is a move that could’ve been anticipated, with this being the first new material without Tom Searle’s writing influence (RIP.) Produced by drummer Dan Searle and guitarist Josh Middleton (of Sylosis fame), this is less ‘metalcore’ and more ‘metal.’ More about raw power and six-string tone rather than extended-range drop F# chugs. As everyone has commented on already, this is a “lighter” track for them, sounding more akin to a copy of what Bring Me The Horizon would’ve done on ‘That’s The Spirit‘ or in this ‘Post Human: Survival Horror‘ era. Namely in terms of those wailing synth melodies (like the ones heard in the choruses) and Sam Carter’s vocals, both in the way he sings and his melodies. Props to the frontman, he gets higher up in his range, and it’s nice to hear him changing technique, not relying on his pitched screams.
Speaking of Sam, there’s actually, thankfully, no bleghs here. That particular vocalisation has been so popular in this band’s music – and in Stray From The Path’s too – but it’s been done to death and is old-hat now. If you follow the frontman on Twitter, then you’ll know that he doesn’t like the memes about it, wishing he’d never made that sound in the first place. To which I say: just don’t do it then and people won’t make fun of it, commenting it on every post and demanding it as some arbitrary requirement for your bands’ music. While this is but one new song from a larger forthcoming new album – entitled ‘For Those That Wish To Exist‘, out February 26th, 2021 via Epitaph Records – I for one hope that this is the end of the blegh for Architects.
Elsewhere, ‘Animals‘ has the Architects version of the ‘St. Anger‘ snare drum sound. Here, Dan’s snare is higher-pitched than usual, sounding a lot like the pingy snare from that notoriously over-hated Metallica record. (‘St. Anger‘ isn’t anywhere near as awful as you’re often told it was.) However, that “trashy” tone does admittedly work for this kind of simpler, more straight-forward Architects composition; one that’s focused on grooves, synths and big refrains rather than being fast and technical. And that’s fine. However, the song’s breakdown – set up by these distorted, quarter-note low-string hits from bassist Alex Dean over gnarly synths before Dan drops it in with two choked cymbals – isn’t particularly memorable and is quite short, not reaching the high-point the band were potentially aiming for.
‘Animals‘ has that expected Architects “hugeness” and “epic” nature, and while I don’t hate the song, I also don’t love it. It hasn’t fully grabbed me on a first listen, let alone on the seventh. Quite frankly, if any other newer metalcore band put out ‘Animals,’ I honestly don’t think half as many people would give a shit. And other than the accidental(?) From Autumn To Ashes lyrical allusion, nothing personally gets me engaged about the songs’ lyricism about defeat and existential crisis; expressing feelings of monotony and wanting to throw in the towel. Something that was definitely on the band’s mind before, during and after the ‘Holy Hell‘ cycle. But they fought on, making it through, all with new record ‘For Those That Wish To Exist‘ still to come.