ALBUM REVIEW – “Lost Forever // Lost Together” by Architects (UK)

The problem with recording a stone-cold genre-classic album is that following it up can prove impossible. For five years now, Architects have been in a struggle to escape the shadow of their remarkable third record, Hollow Crown, one of the most unrelentingly heavy, technical and brilliant albums in the history of metalcore. First they tried a dramatic left-turn into more radio-friendly waters with The Here and Now, before fusing melody and muscle on the admittedly excellent Daybreaker – a record that had some magnificent high-points, but failed to match the band’s masterpiece for consistency and in its lighter moments felt like something of a compromise. It was an important step nonetheless, and after fully rediscovering their mojo, Architects have now finally eclipsed what was once their magnum opus.

Lost Forever // Lost Together is, ungainly title aside, an utterly thrilling experience that is both expansive in its vision and consistent to a fault. It’s also brain-meltingly heavy, and packs riffs and breakdowns that time and again ram your skull into blissful oblivion. Credit must be afforded to producer Fredrik Nordstrom as well as the band for crafting an enormous sound that retains clarity and precision, every note and beat crisp yet crushing. The avalanche of noise that kicks off ‘C.A.N.C.E.R.’; the earth-shaking rumble of ‘Naysayer’s breakdown sections; the transition from a pummelling gallop to an elephantine groove on opening track ‘Gravedigger’; time and time again Architects create a glorious cacophony unparalleled in heavy music.

What’s equally impressive is that they also understand nuance perfectly, and so Lost Forever… is as beautiful as it is vicious. ‘The Distant Blue’ might just be the most ambitious piece of music the band have put their name to, and ends the album with poignancy and primal catharsis. Cutting the track listing right down the middle, gorgeous interlude ‘Red Hypergiant’ ties things neatly together thematically and provides a welcome moment of respite from the sledgehammer-heaviness elsewhere. Best of all is ‘Colony Collapse’, a perfect fusion of dark atmosphere, thundering instrumental backing and haunting vocal performance that might just be the best song of the band’s career to date.

Instrumentally, Architects have never struck the balance between technical precision and addictive musical writing quite as well as they’ve done here. Likewise, vocalist Sam Carter turns in his best performance yet, by a considerable margin. Never has he sounded more powerful and indeed convinced in what he’s singing, ‘The Devil Is Near’ one good example among many of just how good screamed vocals can be. His cleans are used more sparingly than any album since Hollow Crown, but like on that record are employed in all the right places. Lyrically, the band are once again at the top of their game, tackling numerous important issues of the day without once sounding overly preachy or in over their heads.

Rarely does a metal album receive such a unanimous positive reception as Lost Forever // Lost Together has enjoyed, but it’s completely deserved and testament to just how good it is. Matching Hollow Crown blow-for-blow in the heaviness department, Architects have indeed beaten their previous benchmark thanks to improved performances across the board and recognition of the lessons they’ve learned from years of experimentation. It was a difficult journey to get here, but it was very much worth it. This is the definitive Architects record, a statement of just how good British metal can be. Few albums this year will reach similar heights.

Rating: 9 // 10

[Michael Bird]

‘Naysayer’

‘Colony Collapse’

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Architects (UK) Release Video For “Gravedigger” | RichardThinks.Org - June 10, 2014

    […] Lost Forever // Lost Together received a 9/10 score in the official RichardThinks album review, which you can read in full here. […]

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