The pinnacle of musical expression, the heated seconds that trace every poignant word or melody from a band – they’re hard to define. It can’t be faked. Those moments can’t be marginalized. Everything has to line up. Those moments are lost on many bands, not because they’re incapable, or they weren’t scrupulous with their writing, or weren’t determined enough to push it to the very brink. Music is tedious. In the sea of music expulsion, every so often those moments happen – rarely consistent, but enough that the connected work of a record can be understood as a whole, as well as separately. Architects have spent enough time defining the process for themselves that moments like these have become more and more abundant. Lost Forever // Lost Together, the band’s sixth full-length record, sees them putting the extra spark in a fire previously losing momentum to bring more of those moments to fruition; and boy, does it feel good.
Each song is a separate pissed off energy. This band has always been great at anger, and channeling it correctly – whether at yourself (“Naysayer”) or at religious fundamentalism (“Broken Cross”) for instance. Musically, the tightly-knit aggression has never sounded so together. The quartet delivers an utter beat-down, especially by the very underrated Dan Searle and Alex Dean rhythm section. Fredrik Nordström, acclaimed Swedish producer with bands such as In Flames, At the Gates and Opeth under his belt, produced the record with a finesse that the band synced up with extremely well.
Subject matter ranges, but the interpersonal, political and cultural agendas have always been a sweet spot. Sam Carter and Tom Searle, much like with their previous record Daybreaker (that I have the unpopular opinion of not being extremely fond of), worked together on the lyrics to have dynamic passion-centric ideas lead the way, and they did a much better job of it this time around; the guitar has blistering melodic intention and the vocal melodies are creative and forceful.
The record starts out really strong, with one of the leaders (“Gravedigger”) right up front where it needs to be, coming out of the gate with flourish. Though the band plays it relatively safe throughout, many moments come to light with an outstanding feverish cry (“Dead Man Talking”, “Youth Is Wasted On the Young”). They always seem to happen right after a nice buildup, such as in the latter track, delivering one of the most monstrous and crushing moments of the whole record under Carter’s one-of-a-kind roar (“There are parts of me that are lost forever”). When it comes to differentiation, there are a few spots to talk about – most importantly, the cleverly placed monologues in “Red Hypergiant” and “The Devil Is Near”, with the latter being far more straightforward and the former exploring gauzy and atmospheric post-rock elements following an introduction narrated by Carl Sagan, explaining the importance of unity on our planet:
“The old appeals to racial, sexual, and religious chauvinism, and to rabid nationalist fervor are beginning not to work. A new consciousness is developing which sees the Earth as a single organism, and recognizes that an organism at war with itself is doomed. We are one planet.”
The introduction of this statement is an important sentiment on what this band understands as members of society and anti-corporation counterculture, and is one of the many reasons why Lost Forever // Lost Together stands out.
Coming to the final track, everyone understands the significance of it. Some bands like to go out with a bang, or choose to slowly make their way down the mountain, easing down gently, and you know what? Architects chose to kick you right in the fucking teeth. Sam Carter’s career-defining moments are on this song. His vocal ability absolutely astounds me from the first line until the last, and that makes “The Distant Blue” one of the band’s best songs, ever. I’ll let you find out for yourself, but be ready for it. Remember that pinnacle of expression? For them, this is it.
Music is tedious. Carter is quoted as saying that “this is the hardest we’ve ever worked on a record,” and it shows. That malicious attention to detail proves why. I feel a sense of pride knowing where they started from, fell down to, and rose back up from. The movement is more important than the time it took, and on the whole way back, Architects did exactly what they needed to. One of Carter’s most important statements of the whole record, (“So sick of the sound of people giving up”) tells me that they still haven’t, and you know what? Neither have we.