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Architects: Holy Hell

We’re so used to hearing contradictory expressions like “holy crap” or “holy hell” that the title of this album may not get our attention. However, this particular use of “holy hell” is a nice glimpse into the album’s overall themes. That’s because Holy Hell is Architects’ thoughtful and insightful attempt to wrestle with the problem of pain and tragic death. Learning from suffering can be helpful (holy), even though the pain (hell) is terrible. The title captures the contradictions that make up our experiences.

Back in August 2016, Tom Searle, Architects principal songwriter and lead guitarist, passed away. The loss was devastating to the band and put them in that awful position of trying to figure out what could possibly come next. Plenty of bands have this problem and the results are notoriously mixed. In the time since Tom’s death, Dan Searle, the band’s drummer (and Tom’s twin brother), decided that it was time to learn from the pain and so he began to turn his hand back to music.

Albums like Holy Hell are obviously risky. Everyone expects something different from them and the finished product usually ends up either sounding disappointing or uninspired. Some listeners want the music to reflect nothing but the pain and the anger it produces. Others will want the band to get back to what they were doing without any fanfare. Still others hope for a musical transition, something that reinvents the sound as a sign that nothing can replace the deceased. Fortunately, Architects finds the right balance. The music captures the band’s traditional energy while also delivering a set of songs that are hopeful as well as angry.

Even though I’m not the biggest fan of the metalcore style, I thought Architects embraced its musical possibilities effectively on this album. This is especially true on songs like “Death is not Defeat” and “Mortal After All” because of the ways they capture the pain and anguish over losing Tom while also offering useful reflections on learning from hard experience. I think fans of the band will really like this album. Given the album’s timing and themes, some listeners may even find some hope as they work through their own bad experiences.

Track Listing:
1. Death is Not Defeat
2. Hereafter
3. Mortal After All
4. Holy Hell
5. Damnation
6. Royal Beggars
7. Modern Misery
8. Dying to Heal
9. The Seventh Circle
10. Doomsday
11. A Wasted Hymn

Added: December 1st 2018
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 605
Language: english

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