Hollow Crown by Architects
Release date : January 2009
Reviewed by Eric Stephens
In early July 2008, it was announced that British quintet Architects had inked a worldwide deal with Century Media Records. That same month at Outhouse Studios in Reading, Berkshire in the United Kingdom, Architects recorded third album Hollow Crown with producer John D. Mitchell (who's worked with such acts as Bring Me the Horizon, and Enter Shikari). Sophomore album Ruin, which previously witnessed a limited release in the United Kingdom and Canada, was reissued in North America during early August - the track “Broken Clocks”, several music videos and a tour documentary comprised bonus material.
As part of the Cleansing the Nation tour package, Architects toured North America from early October to early November alongside Suicide Silence, Emmure, Beneath the Massacre and After the Burial. In mid November, the track “Follow the Water” was made available for streaming via Architects official MySpace page. Early the next month, "Count the Numbers” was made available via the same location. Directed by Adam Powell, who had previously directed videos for past tracks like “Always” and “Buried At Sea”, “Early Grave”'s music video surfaced in mid December. From mid January 2009 to late in the month, the outfit toured the United Kingdon with Misery Signals and A Textbook Tragedy as part of a package dubbed The Hollow Crown UK Tour 2009. Though pencilled in for European issue on the 26th, Hollow Crown's European release date outside of the United Kingdom was pushed back to late February due to “logistical problems at distribution”.
Quite considerable hype and praise has been bestowed upon Architects, though the question is whether Hollow Crown will withstand scrutiny, and live up to such media hype. Had “Early Grave”'s bombastic, heavy inauguration been an initial indication as regards Hollow Crown's musical stylings, then the full length would've been generally great. Unfortunately, Sam Carter's vocals surface. To be frank, the man's vocals draw the listener's focus away from the music's Soulfly oriented technical Metal demeanour. A more vivid image begins to form, and the meaning behind both Architects and Hollow Crown additionally materializes. Courtesy of over the top, screaming vocals, and continual time changes which numb the listener's mind, the album dredges onwards. Spontaneously however, and disguised as a gem amongst “In Elegance”'s middle section, is Carter's wholly different and more likeable vocal stylings. Switching gears, Carter provides some nice, clean and melodic vocal sprinklings which flow in co-ordination with the music itself, spawning captivating moments. Mostly speaking however, Hollow Crown strives to impose a marriage between Hardcore / Screamo, and technical Metal.
Amongst the United Kingdom's Metal press, Architects has received much high praise. Additionally, the outfit's MySpace page boasts quite a number of visitors, with Architect's numbers being streamed upon the page on countless occasions. Unswayed however, this reviewer places blame upon the fact that Hollow Crown isn't this reviewer's cup of tea so to speak. Wishing to be both unique and technical is understandable, but these stylings seem to lose concentration at certain junctures. Carter isn't seemingly blessed with the screaming power to rank amongst the industry's greatest - throughout most of Hollow Crown's duration, his fellow group members steal the limelight. His greatest and most defining moments arrive in the form of clean, melodic aspects upon “In Elegance” and the title cut. Boasting speedy time changes and screaming angst, Hollow Crown seems best suited for listeners who wield an arsenal of scissor kicks, and back flips.