Architects – the classic symptoms of a broken spirit (Album Review)

architects album the classic symptoms of a broken spirit album review

Architects – the classic symptoms of a broken spirit
Released: October 21, 2022

Line up

Sam Carter // Vocals
Adam Christianson // Rhythm Guitar
Ali Dean // Bass
Dan Searle // Drums
Josh Middleton // Lead Guitar

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We finally know the answer to how Architects can follow up the majestic For Those That Wish To Exist. They have gone in a different direction. Instead of going for more orchestration and increasingly epic arrangements, they have taken a side step and focused on industrial-infused bangers that remain emotionally complex and expressive. It shares the sharp focus and brevity of Holy Hell but isn’t a regression at all. There’s more glitch and synth than strings but it’s also damn heavy. 

deep fake really tells you all you need to know – industrial ear candy and a battering ram of a riff, especially on the breakdown, makes for a killer opener. The soaringtear gas with layered clean and unclean vocals ensures that the momentum they got from their last album isn’t lost. It’s a call for revolution with a tinge of grief, a cool follow-up to the likes of Animals. It’s got a fantastic chorus and it isn’t even the best hook on the album. I mean ‘spit the bone’ is another rager that really goes for a NIN/Ministry vibe musically with Sam Carter sticking with the clean vocals. You’ll sing along on the first listen. The guitar is overly distorted by programming to the point it is just noise. And I love noise. Fans of The Dillinger Escape Plan will be all over it, though the drumming is a lot more straightforward so maybe the comparison isn’t totally fair. 

Architects remain multifaceted though – with ‘burn down my house’ focused on a repetitive refrain and slower tempo, but then gets heavy without losing any melody. The instrumental break between verses actually has a tremendous sense of atmosphere that suits the angsty lyrics. It deals with loneliness and duplicity, a running theme through the record. They’ve never been ones to shy away from discussing mental health and indeed their honesty is what makes them such an attractive band with a loyal following. ‘living is killing us’ builds on this by connecting the void in our lives to technology, quite literally calling social media a “death machine”. It’s this aspect where the increased musical focus on electronics suits the lyrical content.

Where For Those That Wish to Exist was very much concerned with the climate crisis, the classic symptoms of a broken spirit draws on social isolation, the role of technology and the resulting mental health crisis. ‘doomscrolling’ is another rocking tune that targets the bad habits that are ruining our lives. They’re certainly not subtle about it. Dan Searle and Ali Dean really get plenty to do on this one, with all sorts of programming and keys working alongside the riffs of Adam Christenson and Josh Middleton.

You’ve already headbanged and rocked out to the killer surprise single ‘when we were young’. It still slays, giving the middle of the album the best chorus and most accessible song. But there’s also ‘all the love in the world’ (not a NIN cover) – another one that seriously swings and grooves with a huge hook. Both should be live favourites. 

But that’s not the end of the good times. ‘born again pessimist’ is the kind of angry tune younger bands fill albums with, but it really works here with a veracious account of depression and anxiety.a new moral low groundis pure metalcore angst with a ferocious buzz and Carter in almost full screamo mode. And yet the chorus is layered with cleans and his coarse yells making it incredibly catchy. It cuts away from this to use keys and a drum loop that changes the vibe considerably and then … that Josh Middleton guitar solo! You know the drill. Horns in the air, headbanging, marching around the living room. 

Searle’s drums kick off the fire and savagery of the closer, ‘be very afraid’. It’s an old-school head smasher. Tortured death growls punctuate the lyrics, with blazing guitars. The ear candy is still there, and there’s a clean vocal section, but for the most part, it is an old-school song with a massive breakdown. All cliche adjectives apply – face-melting, whiplash-inducing, fist-smashing, devastating stomper. It actually ends with ambient garden noises, birds and a trickle of water, which is the only respite across the record. Like For Those That Wish To Exist, the thematic elements are incredibly strong across the album, making this tranquil coda that encourages us to step outside without a device rather than loop back to the electronic bleeps that open ‘deep fake’

Even with the trickle of singles, I wasn’t ready for this as a complete album. the classic symptoms of a broken spirit is just as angry and violent as any Architects album, while also continuing their quest to widen the audience and spread their message. It’s simultaneously more catchy and more dense, which is a difficult feat to pull off like they do here. I can understand why some might not be happy with the shift in sound after the excellence of their previous album, but as its own thing, this is a killer record full of venomous tunes and thoughtful lyrics. 

architects album the classic symptoms of a broken spirit

Architects – the classic symptoms of a broken spirit tracklisting: 

  1. deep fake
  2. tear gas
  3. spit the bone
  4. burn down my house
  5. living is killing us
  6. when we were young
  7. doomscrolling
  8. born again pessimist
  9. a new moral low ground
  10. all the love in the world
  11. be very afraid

Rating: 9 / 10 
the classic symptoms of a broken spirit is out October 21 on Epitaph. Pre Order here
Review by KJ Draven (Twitter and Instagram

Browny‘s chatting all about the new record with Sam Carter right here

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