ARCHITECTS – ‘Hollow Crown’

Brighton bunch Architects have evolved with an assured steadiness over the last five years. Their debut bristled and roared but owed a huge debt to legends like Botch and The Dillinger Escape Plan, their second record ‘Ruin’ dropped some of the technicality for raw power and the feral bellow of new frontman Sam Carter, and now ‘Hollow Crown’ has combined the intricacies of old with that crushing intensity for another step forward.

Opener ‘Early Grave’ ratchets up the tension with rare skill until an extraordinary explosive finish, ‘Follow The Water’ too, comes packing raw passion and a big, booming climax, and the entire two minutes of ‘Borrowed Time’ are all about tense and release riffing. And while there are chug-a-longs like ‘Numbers Count For Nothing’ that champ at the bit like Emmure and The Acacia Strain here, this record never settles for their more knuckleheaded tendencies and instead nods to more intelligent post-hardcore types.

If there is a flaw it’s that the album rushes along at a pretty similar pace and tone throughout. Some will argue that we’re just dealing with a truly cohesive album, made to be listened to in one go, but really Architects are still hunting for a way to take their admittedly awesome sound to a genuine next level. Sure, songs like ‘We’re All Alone’ and ‘Dead March’ kick up a little fresh dust and frontman Sam Carter has a wider and finer range here than on ‘Ruin’ but while it gives your ears a beating, no knockout punch ever comes. No huge highlights arrive to make this record spectacular.

‘Hollow Crown’ is a mighty, meaty piece of work then. There’s just no denying it’s also thick, complex, and particularly difficult to digest too. Still, if the Architects’ evolution continues at this pace, their next record could change everything.

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