Architects – The Classic Symptoms Of A Broken Spirit

A palette cleaner from the metal core luminaries...

When it comes to Architects, anything is possible; ten albums deep, the heavy titans are still defying expectations. Over the years, the Architects approach has sought to tear up the metalcore rulebook, crafting guttural anthems with mathcore inflections, post-hardcore confessionals and even orchestral movements. True to form, their latest effort continues to push metalcore to its breaking point – with the help of industrial darkness and swirling synths, the ‘the classic symptoms of a broken spirit’ is Architects like never before.

A total palette cleanser of a record, ‘the classic symptoms of a broken spirit’ feels like an important turning point for the metalcore legends. Though less clean and refined than previous work, this is an album thrumming with experimental freedom; right out the gates, the synthetic edge of this record is made clear, opener ‘deep fake’ seeing orchestral grandiosity scrapped in favour of gruelling, industrial breakdowns. And the result is a satisfyingly sharp howl of a track, riling with darkness and impossible to resist.

This feral, jagged grandeur is maintained throughout. Stand-out tracks ‘tear gas’ and ‘when we were young’ are undeniable anthems, somewhat capturing the weightless of previous record’s floating, orchestral sections through their softer, more melodic choruses. This skilled understanding of dynamic balance allows tracks like ‘a new moral low ground’ to thrive, rough verses flowing into a light, space-y guitar solo that is mystifying.

The most glorious track on record undoubtedly comes in the form of ‘be very afraid’. Bursting with life, this track is absolutely ravenous, rumbling in your guts from the get-go. With thundering instrumentals and a selective scattering of deathcore-esque howls (yes!), ‘be very afraid’ is evidence of what a band can serve up if they tear up their own rule book and try something new.

Architects – The Classic Symptoms Of A Broken Spirit

Alongside the record’s exhilaratingly contemporary sonic palette, the topics covered are equally as grounded in the here and now – for better or worse. While previous albums alluded to modern miseries, this release does at times feel a bit too on the nose. Architects have a solid history of utilising sharp, illusory language; if we consider 2021’s ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’, ‘Discourse Is Dead’ unravels online discourse through a veil of religious metaphor, likening the experience of digital echo chambers to that of false prophecy and twisted sermons. ‘the classic symptoms of a broken heart’ seems to strip back the veil of mystique, serving up tracks like ‘doomscrolling’. The title alone highlights the shift – swapping out gorgeous symbolism for cold, strangely 2022 terminology.

However, while the lyrical content may at times feel less embellished, that arguably allows a track to be more universally understood – and Architects have a solid history of making music with an important message. ‘living is killing us’ vitally ponders capitalistic consumption, as well as the constant stress of being alive and trying to do good at every turn. ‘burn down my house’ also serves as a striking reflection on mental health, explores the impacts of depression, and the track poignantly captures that heart in mouth sorrow and pain sonically and lyrically.

Overall, Architects have yet again served up something sharp and evolutionary. While it at times may feel less refined and grand than previous work, the push for new sounds is definitely an exciting change. This is a punchy record sure to spark some vital debates, as well as having a solid slew of crowd-pleasers.

7/10

Words: Emily Swingle

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