Architects have been making quite a name for themselves the past three or four years; touring with big metalcore bands like Parkway Drive and August Burns Red, putting out three albums in four years. Their latest album Daybreaker is by far their most ambitious and epic-sounding piece of work to date, but does that mean it’s good?
For starters, Architects has a rather nice mixture of dynamics on this album. In fact it’s far more than I would have expected them to have, judging by past albums. Songs like “Outsider Heart” have an excellent mix of both loud and quiet parts, alternating between frantic screams and low-key instrumentals that helps the album take on a rather grandiose theme. Vocalist Sam Carter puts on an excellent performance, although I suspect the raspy tone of his voice might be a little too grating on some people. Daybreaker is for the most part heavier than The Here And Now, so you”ll be hearing a bit more complexity than previous albums by the band. The guitars hold up well, creating interesting riffs and enough fretwork to keep you interested; they do a great job at walking the fine line between technical and overwrought, always dialing it back in at the right times and never letting things get out of hand. “Alpha Omega” is a great example of this, creating a nice juxtaposition between the opening and chorus (it’s also one of the better songs on the album). Architects weakest link on Daybreaker is their slower songs; “Behind The Throne” and “Unbeliever” just come off as rather boring and forgettable. The difference in dynamics is great when they take place within the same song, but it can’t hold itself up on it’s own.
It’s a shame than, that the drums are so lackluster on Daybreaker. Through multiple listens, I could not for the life of me remember anything interesting they did. Ever. No interesting fills or footwork, it’s just bland background noise that serves to drive the song forward. It’s Disappointing, especially because of the above average performance of the vocals and guitars. As far as how the album actually sounds, it’s a bit odd. The guitars are front and center in the mix, at times overpowering the vocals. The drums are more often than not, buried under everything else only truly coming out of hiding during quieter toned-down parts of the music. Funny enough, the only times the guitars take a back seat is during clean-vocals. At times this leads to a rather unsatisfying listening experience when the guitars jump from the foreground to the background, and vice versa often during the same chorus.
As I mentioned before, Daybreaker is by far the most ambitious and “epic-sounding” album that Architects has made to date. It’s certainly got more attitude than anything on previous albums The Here And Now and Hollow Crown, which I think is a good thing. Songs on Daybreaker often build up to a rather boisterous conclusion, holding back until the last minute to bombard you with a sonic wall of screams, guitars,and keyboards. Actually, let me mention that; Architects makes great use of the keyboard on Daybreaker. In fact, you’ll almost never hear it. They don’t use it as a crutch like some other bands do (*coughBleeding Throughcough*)* and insert it rather tastefully a few times throughout Daybreaker. It’s great to see the band show such restraint in their music, and it shows that Architects has come a long way since their Ruin days.
So will this be the album to catapult Architects into the top realm of metalcore? Some would argue that they’re already their, but in my opinion not quite. Daybreaker is a good album, but it does have a few key flaws. As much as I hate to hold it against them, the production is awkward and at times just downright bad; this shouldn’t happen to a band that’s put out four full-length albums before this one. The Album itself feels a bit on the short side even though it clocks in at 42 minutes, but maybe that’s just because of the lackluster final track “Unbeliever”. With all that said, this is definitely still an album worth checking out, and it’s honestly one that took me by surprise. If Architects keeps improving at the pace they’ve been, we’re in for a real treat whenever they’re next album rolls around.
* I actually like Bleeding Through, so nobody should take too much offense to that.