Album review by Seraphim Dibble, photos provided by Architects
Between their last album release, All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us, and Holy Hell, Architects went through a deep tragedy, losing one of their core members. Out of that pain and tragedy, they’ve decided to forge a new path forward with their new album. They weren’t sure they could continue after the death of Tom Searle, but in the words of Dan, “…there were two choices. Feel sorry for yourself… Or let it inspire us to live the life that Tom would have wanted us to live.” They chose the latter.
Holy Hell is uncompromising and brutal. After a relatively soft opening with lots of strings and drums, it dives off a cliff into the crushing riffs and drums of “Death is Not Defeat”. One hope that Architects have is that listeners do not come away feeling despondent about this release, and the tone and lyrics of this song certainly go a long way to get that across. Whether it is the melodic vocals or the raspy, both sound absolutely superb.
Holy Hell is a display of raw emotion and technical skill. The marriage of the two has produced an absolutely stunning metalcore album that is destined to be remembered. Architects have channeled their pain into a message for others, and that message delivers in spades. From the incredible breakdowns to the lofty symphonic interludes in several songs, the tonal range of the music is nothing short of stupendous.
The entire album feels like a message derived right from Dan’s quote about their choice to continue. While there are a lot of overtones of loss and grief, there’s responding lyrics about powering through. “Holy Hell”, for example, implores you to not give up and to find the resolve to continue to push forward. And as much grief as the world delivers to people, its a critical message to remember.
When the single “Doomsday” released, it gave us a taste of Holy Hell. As good as that single was, it is barely a taste of what awaits you in this album. Architects have designed something truly special, displaying a high degree of artistry and awareness of their own talent. Nothing will hit the scene quite as hard as this does for quite some time. Make sure you pick up Holy Hell as soon as possible!