It’s never to late to review a worthwhile album!
Architects seem to be a band of change. At the band’s beginnings, the name was tossed in and out, going through several alternatives: first with Inharmonic, then with Counting the Days, and of course lastly with Architects. This is somewhat normal; there is a plethora of bands who went through similar name changes (The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Children of Bodom to name a few). But the band name is not the only thing that has undergone construction; the overall sound has also changed, it seems, with every album, The Here and Now being no different.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when taking the several sub-genres of metal into consideration. Without these evolutions, there would not be metalcore, mathcore, post-hardcore, or melodic hardcore – all of which Architects classify themselves as. Nonetheless, it does help to have a solid sound so people know what to expect when a new album is released. Unless you are one of those people who likes to be surprised, in which case you are basically hearing a different band with every album.
But changing one’s sound keeps things fresh, and everyone needs that every once in a while. The album starts off with an appealing guitar/drum combination, and then the screams enter. This is when the song “Day in, Day out” really begins, sounding very much like A Day to Remember‘s “The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle.” Eerily similar, actually. Aside from that point, the song has catchy breakdowns, catchy instrumentation, and ALMOST catchy melodies. The only thing sub-par about the clean vocals are that they sound as if, melodically speaking, they were in the wrong song.
The melodies improve from that point on, thankfully. For instance, in “Btn,” there’s mostly just clean vocals. This is a song that sticks out on the album for me. It has so many unique and well-transitioned parts. The emotion behind this song is well portrayed throughout the different pieces. It begins and is just a normal Architects song (for this album, at least) for the first two minutes. Then clean vocals break through and it is just Sam Carter and his sad words. Soon the instruments come in and the emotional explosion commences.
If you liked what you heard of his vocals in those final minutes of “Btn,” you will probably also enjoy “An Open Letter to Myself.” Which is a convenience, because it is the following song. This song shows a softer side of the band. Starting off with ambient-sounding drums, light guitar leads, and sad vocals. It doesn’t lapse into the usual heaviness the band exhibits, but instead builds up until the end, adding on drums with effects on the crash cymbal and the screams. No breakdowns, no blast beats, just more emotion.
The Here and Now is not as heavy as the band’s previous albums. With softer parts and more clean vocals, this is a change for those who enjoyed getting their daily dose of “angry” music, but that certainly does not make it any less worthwhile. Come at it open-minded, stubborn listeners.