One outstanding element of each Architects outing is that each record has its own unique following , and these followers will defend them forever.
Upon the dawn of Architects’ eighth (yes, eighth) full length release we look at an album that transported them into a new realm of significance. Granted, Architects have themselves confessed an identity crisis of sorts in the past, but 2008’s devastatingly destructive Hollow Crown stands out as a landmark of not only the band’s career, but for the post-metalcore genre as a whole. The ferociously down tuned Ruin (2007), in the year of its release, afforded the band a handful of club sized support slots in the UK as well as a U.S. tour with Suicide Silence, but the Brighton boys decided to strike while the iron was still hot and went into the studio not long after to write a blistering follow up.
“… it’s a testament to its unforgettable influence…”
Whilst recent Architects releases have been protest records, Hollow Crown’s lyrical content was simple – Architects were pissed off. Hollow Crown explored content less political and more human, something which has come full circle on the new record, Holy Hell. These were the days before promoters cared enough to put them up in satisfactory lodgings on the road, and before they could even request a decent rider. Their hunger for playing furious shows however, was ravenous, and they satiated themselves every night as one of the loudest and most memorable bands in the scene at the time. Sam Carter has acknowledged how much his anger reflected on Hollow Crown, but that it would not have been the same record without that very anger.
The pure unadulterated savagery of vocalist Sam Carter’s voice is underpinned by incredibly fast verses, sporadic time signatures and discords that would knock the socks off the most hardened of listeners. This was also complimented with tonal screaming and melodic guitars, a balance which was devilishly hard to get right given the amount of bands who were doing a similar thing at the time. With Hollow Crown, Architects maintained the technical mastery of days gone by, whilst simultaneously procuring anthems whereby Sam seldom needed the use of the mic. The audience knew every single word.
To be certain, Architects are an entirely different beast these days, and they’ve more or less retired all material pre 2012’s Daybreaker. The fact that Hollow Crown’s opener ‘Early Grave’ still finds its way into the setlist from time to time is a testament to its unforgettable influence. It is perhaps most interesting of all that when Architects truly established their long term sound with 2014’s landmark album Lost Forever//Lost Together, there are so many elements on that record which harken back to Hollow Crown.
“Hollow Crown is what the alternative music community needed.”
Perhaps it is important not to overlook the musical landscape of the era as a whole. 2008 saw other UK bands of the same ilk such as Bring Me The Horizon, Your Demise, Enter Shikari, Last Witness and Dead Swans gain notoriety. You could barely go to a show without seeing half the crowd adorned in the merch of these hardcore and metalcore stalwarts. These bands, along with Architects were particularly accessible because they were involved in their local DIY hardcore scene but simultaneously made their way onto academy sized tour lineups around the world.
Upon reflection, Architects’ release of Hollow Crown may have been more than a spectacular record in and of itself. It was so much more than that, Hollow Crown is what the alternative music community needed. The metalcore generation of Killswitch Engage and Atreyu was beginning to fade out, and the young and pissed off people of the era needed new voices with which to vent and look up to as staples of the genre. It is of no great surprise that more than one band of this generation has gone on to headline sold out arena tours and jump on huge festival slots. Although Architects may not have known it at the time, Hollow Crown may have been the early planted seed in something much bigger.
Despite its cult following, When Metallica dropped Ride The Lightning, it is unlikely anybody knew how much of an influence it would have. Only a few years later they were headlining 10,000 capacity auditoriums. In February Architects will embark on the Holy Hell tour, headlining Wembley Arena, two nights at Manchester Victoria Warehouse, and once again, the iconic Alexandra Palace. Take what you will from that.