Music

Architects: All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us

Photo: Jennifer McCord

Architects' seventh album is an ambitious, unforgiving wake-up call from a band that's staring into the abyss.


Architects

All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us

Label: Epitaph
US Release Date: 2016-05-27
UK Release Date: 2016-05-27
Amazon
iTunes

“Maybe we passed the point of no return / Maybe we just want to watch the world burn.” Things are not bright and sunny in the world of Architects, the five-piece metalcore outfit from Brighton, UK. And if that couplet in their song “Deathwish” is any indication, things aren’t getting any better.

Recorded in Gothenburg, Sweden, at the tail end of 2015, Architects teamed up with producer Fredrik Nordtrom (Dark Tranquility, In Flames, Opeth) to craft their seventh and perhaps most ambitious album, All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us. Guitars are way up front, but keyboards play a vital role in the sonic landscape, mostly serving as a layer that you usually hear only during the quieter moments (not that there are too many of those). This type of layering works to the band’s advantage and prevents the album from sounding like a one-dimensional screamfest.

This isn’t a band of boozy, metalhead party animals. These are five earnest young men (all vegan activists and vigorously anti-war) who are staring into the abyss and judging by the way we’ve been acting and how we treat ourselves and our planet, we’re getting what we deserve. From "Nihilist", the album's opening track: “I found God clutching a razor blade / He said ‘look at the fucking mess they’ve made' / They’d trade their hearts if they were made of gold / But they’re as worthless as the souls they sold.”

On the surface, the music is noisy, brutal and unforgiving. Vocalist Sam Carter rarely brings his formidable pipes below scream level. This is a deadly serious band that insists on delivering a powerful message wrapped in distorted djent-djent-djent riffs and muscular drum fills. But there is variety, such as occasional sonic cool-down periods (relatively speaking). “Gone With the Wind” is one of the album’s more diverse tracks, with keyboards playing a more prominent role and a sense of melody pervading more than on other songs. It seems to hint at a personal ending to the world’s suffering through an apocalyptic finale (“The weight of the world is resting on thin ice / When the surface breaks, will I find paradise?”), but also seems to find eternal damnation through suicide (“I’d take a leap of faith but I’d lose my nerve / In the end, I’ll get the hell that I deserve”). Nothing is easy, there are no simple answers, but we’ve made our bed and we must lie in it.

The album’s most ambitious track is undoubtedly its closer, “Memento Mori”, which clocks in at just over eight minutes. Industrial keyboard patches blend with drum machines to create an eclectic, widescreen atmosphere. The sound eventually shifts back to Architects’ standard metallic guitar chugging but eventually dials back down to make room for audio samples from the late British philosopher Alan Watts: “You don’t have to try to hang on to yourself / It can’t be done and that is salvation / Memento mori / Be mindful of death.” So death is not necessarily the solution, simply an inevitability.

Musically speaking, All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us doesn’t necessarily offer anything terribly new in Architects’ sonic, well…architecture. It’s not a giant leap forward, but it’s definitely the sound of a band doubling down, taking what they do best and running with it. And while the lyrics seem relentlessly bleak and unforgiving, the unspoken message is perhaps one of self-reflection. It’s a global tough love wake-up call in the most unvarnished way. Look at yourself, look what you’ve done. Is this the destructive path you wish to follow? They provide a list of the symptoms -- it’s up to you to come up with the cure.

7
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Film

Nazis, Nostalgia, and Critique in Taika Waititi's 'Jojo Rabbit'

Arriving amidst the exhaustion of the past (21st century cultural stagnation), Waititi locates a new potential object for the nostalgic gaze with Jojo Rabbit: unpleasant and traumatic events themselves.

Television

Why I Did Not Watch 'Hamilton' on Disney+

Just as Disney's Frozen appeared to deliver a message of 21st century girl power, Hamilton hypnotizes audiences with its rhyming hymn to American exceptionalism.

Music

LA Popsters Paper Jackets Deliver a Message We Should Embrace (premiere + interview)

Two days before releasing their second album, LA-based pop-rock sextet Paper Jackets present a seemingly prescient music video that finds a way to ease your pain during these hard times.

Books

'Dancing After TEN' Graphic Memoir Will Move You

Art dances with loss in the moving double-memoir by comics artists Vivian Chong and Georgia Webber, Dancing After TEN.

Music

Punk Rock's WiiRMZ Rage at the Dying of the Light on 'Faster Cheaper'

The eight songs on WiiRMZ's Faster Cheaper are like a good sock to the jaw, bone-rattling, and disorienting in their potency.

Music

Chris Stamey Paints in "A Brand-New Shade of Blue" (premiere + interview)

Chris Stamey adds more new songs for the 20th century with his latest album, finished while he was in quarantine. The material comes from an especially prolific 2019. "It's like flying a kite and also being the kite. It's a euphoric time," he says.

Music

Willie Nelson Surveys His World on 'First Rose of Spring'

Country legend Willie Nelson employs his experience on a strong set of songs to take a wide look around him.

Music

Gábor Lázár Is in Something of a Holding Pattern on 'Source'

Experimental electronic artist Gábor Lázár spins his wheels with a new album that's intermittently exciting but often lacking in variety.

Music

Margo Price Is Rumored to Be the New Stevie Nicks

Margo Price was marketed as country rock because of her rural roots. But she was always more rock than country, as one can hear on That's How Rumors Get Started.

Music

DMA'S Discuss Their Dancier New Album 'The Glow'

DMA'S lead-singer, Tommy O'Dell, discusses the band's new album The Glow, and talks about the dancier direction in their latest music.

Music

The Bacon Brothers Deliver Solemn Statement With "Corona Tune" (premiere + interview)

Written and recorded during the 2020 quarantine, "Corona Tune" exemplifies the Bacon Brothers' ability to speak to the gravity of the present moment.

Music

Garage Rockers the Bobby Lees Pay Tribute to "Wendy" (premiere)

The Bobby Lees' "Wendy" is a simmering slice of riot 'n' roll that could have come from the garage or the gutter but brims with punk attitude.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.