Emocore. Emo-metalcore. Post hardcore. Whatever you want to call it, it's not well liked in the metal community. Diehards regard it similarly to the layer of congealing fat that is to be scooped off and discarded from an otherwise tasty dish. Some hate the "whiny" or "nasally" vocals, others the often generic breakup lyrics and breakdowns. At times it's not the music at all, but the fan base of mainstream mall-walkers that turns off the average Carcass fan. While Architects may not change the opinion of the more stubborn bunch, those with an open-mind may just find themselves surprised at how much they enjoy Lost Forever // Lost Together.
"God only knows why we were born to burn! Blegh!" Chuggahchuggahchauggah. Fuck yes. Is it original? No. As a self-proclaimed metalcore junky in early high school, I hear plenty shades of The Bled, Underoath, and even later Norma Jean. Yet damned if Architects don't repackage and repurpose the usual tropes into a grippingly tight and addictive release. The anthemic qualities of each song are almost certain to lead to some feels. Sam absolutely SELLS that shit with every ounce of conviction he can muster. What they may lack in innovation is made up for in enjoyability for sure.
However, if all one needed to put out an album was passion about something, we would all have gold records by now. So how does the musicianship stack up? Quite well, thankfully. The guitars are often deceptively skillful in their variety of genre-melding. There are your basic chugs, cascading post rock back-ups, complex djent and mathcore picking, and of course the melodeath-inspired alternations and harmonies. More importantly, all of these elements are carefully placed and layered in such a way as to create smoothly flowing, energetic compositions that never feel bloated. With the help of the equally technical drumming, songs often build to epic proportions as on the As I Lay Dying-ish "Colony Colapse."
Trust me, just give this album a chance. I went into my first listen with very few expectations and left confused and aroused. By my second listen I was already singing along to the infectious vocal hooks and air-drumming like a mad man. Between the strong compositions and fervent performances, there is little not to like beyond the genre tags themselves. For those of you who dug Underoath's Define the Great Line or Norma Jean's Meridional, this will be an easy sell. But by no means is Lost Forever // Lost Together something that can't be enjoyed by the uninitiated. While they may not be able to hold a candle to the more technically stirring releases from Every Time I Die or Trap Them, this was my second biggest surprise of 2014 for sure. It's streaming on youtube.
Note: This is a repost of my review on Metal Storm.