Not so long ago, there was a rash of bands playing unbelievably technical heavy metal, constructed with turn-on-a-dime time signatures and atonal guitar riffs, and driven by drummers that had to be as studied in the ways of Buddy Rich as they were in the school of Dave Lombardo. Bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan stood near the top of that pile while a lot of copycats came and went. Following that trend, a lot of metal bands went in the exact opposite direction, tuning their guitars as low as they could and riding single note breakdowns a la Meshuggah, all for an extremely heavy sound devoid of any dynamic qualities. At some point, those two worlds collided, and we were left with what has become the standard for a generation of metal bands.
Architects have taken this a step further, producing an album that fuses technicality with hefty tunings and chunky rhythmic breakdowns and then rounding out the aural onslaught with a melodic element, complete with proper singing to counter the typical coarse screaming of extreme metal. While there are plenty of bands that operate within similar sonic guidelines, Architects’ most recent effort, Daybreaker, is a far more polished and fully realized record than most in this micro-genre of metal, and it marks a return to a sound that the band had abandoned on their last full-length release.
Daybreaker shows a band that has embraced all of their sonic personalities: The melodic, soaring passages are angelic and the heavy parts are equally as jarring and brutal. This is all displayed within the first two minutes of the album’s introductory track, “Truth Be Told”. However, what’s most impressive is not how well the band crafts each individual part, but how well the pieces are put together, forming a massive collage of dynamic metallic mayhem. If any doubt is left about the band’s ability to perfectly meld together atomic grade chunk with undeniably catchy passages, the album’s second track, the aptly named “Alpha Omega”, serves to drive an industrial-sized nail in that coffin by its first sweeping chorus.
Though the album is assembled well, and almost anyone will find the playing impressive, it won’t please everyone. This is not for the metal fans who prefer to compartmentalize their subgenres–those who would rather keep their chocolate out of their peanut butter.
Essential Tracks: “Truth Be Told”, “Devil’s Island”