CD REVIEW Architects

Band : Architects
Album title : Daybreaker
Label : Century Media
Distributor : EMI
Release date : 28/05/2012
Release : CD

They keep on surprising me, these Brits! Not only have they gone socially-aware in their lyrics, but also they have, in spite of returning to their roots, grown even more in a musical sense, adding occasional cinematic passages to their material. Okay, now for a short update (but not too short, as you'll notice, because in spite of  there being less than 16 months between albums, quite a lot happened).

Following the January 2011 release of predecessor album The Here And Now, it was announced in February that bassist Alex Dean had left the band due to family commitments. For some of the planned touring, Casey Lagos (drummer of Stick To Your Guns) filled in. Among the touring was a support slot alongside Parkway Drive on the There Is A Hell...Tour done by Bring Me The Horizon, which started in April and spanned two continents (extra support acts were The Devil Wears Prada for the UK and Tek-One for the European dates). Following BMTH drummer Matt Nicholls' breaking an arm playing football with members of BMTH, Parkway Drive and Architects, Architects' Dan Searle filled the spot, but as a result the BMTH set-list had to be halved in duration. On July 3rd, it was announced that Alex Dean had rejoined the band, meaning he got to finish the BMTH tour, the European leg of which lasted till late August. It was then continued in North America (with Deez Nuts as extra support act) across September and October.

Coming off that tour, the band went right in for writing sessions (already started during the tour) and recording of the new album, and by early November announced plans to release the first single off the forthcoming album. Upon its release of the single and video clip on December 4, “Devil's Island” (the song with lyrics inspired by the London riots, the video with footage thereof – in fact, the video was removed for a couple of months due to its use of copyrighted material), Architects revealed a return to their more MathCore roots. Positive critics confirmed that the band's return to their comfort zone was actually a good choice. To promote the single the band went on a 5-day UK tour during December 2011, tagging the bands Heights, Tek-One and Deaf Havana along for the ride as support acts. A single for the track “These Colours Don't Run” with the accompanying video showcasing the abominable social differences in the USA, followed on March 28, and third single “Alpha Omega” was the third pre-album release single, issued on May 7 (the video following on May 10).

Throughout March, Architects and Touché Amoré supported Rise Against on the latter's European tour. Following a 14-date tour in April 2012 with support acts Rolo Tomassi and Stray From The Path, Architects guitarist Tim Hillier-Brook left the band effective immediate. As an intermediate replacement until the band gets a proper second guitarist, Josh Middleton of Sylosis became the band's touring guitarist. Leading up to the bigger tours planned in support of the album, Architects performed at several important festivals between March and July, including Sweedish Konzerthaus Schüür (Lucerne), La Boule Noire (near Paris), Belgium's Groezrock, British touring festival Slam Dunk Festival (in both Leeds and Hatfield) and finally 3 German appearances at Summerblast, Traffic Jam and Summerbreeze.

The band's main tours in support of the album, aptly dubbed The Daybreker Almost World Tour, are divided in 4 legs: 16 dates in Canada (started halfway August with supports Structures and A Sight For Sewn Eyes, and behind us as we speak), 6 dates in South-East Asia (Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and twice in Indonesia) during mid-September, 11 gigs in Australia (with The Amity Affliction, The Ghost Inside and Buried In Verona as supports) during late September and early October, and the European leg (with While She Sleeps and Heights as support on Mainland Europe, and Deez Nuts, Bury Tomorrow and The Acacia Strain for the UK dates) during the rest of October and running up to November 11th.

Well now that's enough history (part of which is still to come, hopefully). Meanwhile, I have some notes for you about the reception of the album so far (thanks to Wikipedia, from whence I also got the info to write the article so far). In the US, the album shot through to #28 in the US Top Heatseekers charts (scoring 19 positions better than the predecessor), and in the UK it went to #42 in British album charts OCC (The Here And Now only went to #57). On top, Daybreakerbroke into the top 100 of German album charts MCC at # 93, and even made Belgium's own Ultratopat #182 (tough competition from all the established Flemish “charm” singers – gee, we can be só backward at times!).

As for listenable material off the album, I'm afraid you will have to do with what the trusted online sales sites can provide you (and that's only 30-second samples), because the band's MySpace hasn't been changed since the promotion for The Here And Now. Expect the cinematic passages to occur at the beginning of quite a few of the songs (except the title track, “Even If You Win, You're A Rat”, and “Feather Of Lead” which are heavy throughout except for occasional short break-down passages), and even more so in the album opening “The Bitter End” (calmer passage runs for half the track) and album closer “Unbeliever” (first Two thirds are calmer, with odd effects on the drums, and the ending of the track, still with addition of piano play, is simply the more explosive because of it), during a mid-section passage of “Truth, Be Told” (again extra synths and some piano being used there!). Then there's “Outsider Heart”, a very heavy track at first, which then suddenly gets some keyboards added, and falls short for a calm passage, after which aggression and keyboards return. Great stuff. But the prize for “Absolute Surprise” goes to the track “Behind The Throne” which, I believe, doesn't have a guitar played in it. A very sensitive ballad indeed, even if lyrically it's about the faceless/ nameless people who control us.

At moments, the socio-political message may be a little more general, but that's quite okay. I mean, does anyone expect these youngsters to come along with the answer to all the violence, as a rule for everyone to abide to? Regretfully, there are no such easy answers, but the thing is, we have to start with personal positive thinking towards global togetherness. And only when the numbers of the outspokenly positive thinking becomes a force to be reckoned with, shall we be able to make sóme difference. Still, too many evil-doers occupy those positions of Power, now don't they!? Still, it's a good thing if this album gets at least sóme youngsters thinking about their surroundings. Yeah, without a doubt, another album deserving to be featured high up in both your and my own 2012 year-lists!

98/100

Tony.