A perfect evolution, a captivating musical journey, and a wake-up call for humanity.
I’ll start off this review by pointing out that this album snagged #1 on the iTunes album charts in the U.S. the weekend after release, and for good reason: For Those That Wish To Exist is the masterful product of years spent refining a characteristic sound, a willingness to evolve, and a desperate call for our society to take a long, serious look at the selfish and awful way we treat this planet.
You’re also going to see plenty of reviews declaring the band irrelevant and the record trash for not having any BLEGHs and less heaviness, but hear me out. It’s no secret that the metal genre isn’t a fan of change; time and time again, bands are criticized for “going soft” and deviating from the styles of their founding works. Heaven forbid a band’s new singles be labeled “arena rock, anthemic, and stadium-filling,” all but sealing the band’s fate as sell-outs in the eyes of old-school metal elitists (as is the case with this album). I’ve never understood this negativity myself. Without change, there is no evolution, and without evolution, creativity stagnates. An artist can only re-write the same album so many times before familiarity sets in and quality suffers, not to mention the fact that this can be repetitive and unenjoyable from the writer’s perspective.
As much as I loved the heaviness and styles of the last three albums, I can’t deny it was time to try something new (don’t get me wrong, there is no shortage of mosh-ready moments). These djentlemen have delivered captivating musical journey through a dramatic evolution of their sound. This album is nothing like past records, and yet remains characteristically “Architects.” Beginning with 2014’s Lost Forever // Lost Together, the band started incorporating ambience, synths, and orchestral elements to complete their soundscape. These elements are no longer background extras; they often sit at the forefront of the mix as the driving force of melody and rhythm.
With the inclusion of so many new elements, it’s important to note that the band’s typical instrumentals are back in full force throughout the album. Dan Searle is an absolute machine on drums, providing some of his grooviest fills to date in tracks like Giving Blood, Goliath, and Meteor. I’ll admit that the guitar riffs are more simplistic here, but Josh Middleton (lead guitarist) made a good point in a recent interview: “It’s more challenging to write good, simple riffs than the more complicated stuff.” Spoiler alert: these riffs are just as catchy as others they’ve written! Sam Carter has experimented with clean vocal styles in the past, usually sprinkled in interludes and between breakdowns. He’s grown into a phenomenal vocalist, able to tackle his trademark screams with ease while also showing off a higher register of his clean singing, even inching into falsetto range on Demi God. His voice and the dense soundscape blend flawlessly, creating some of the band’s most memorable melodies. The album strikes a careful balance between heavy and calm, both within the same song and across neighboring tracks. The calmness of songs is allowed to speak and build a story, while being balanced with heavier elements that build tension, energy, and emotion.
For Those That Wish To Exist screams (literally and figuratively) in the face of humanity to pull our heads together in order to keep our world from falling apart. Its lyrics are a chilling reminder of the delicate nature of our world, the dangerous influence we (unknowingly) have on it, and the grim future we’re creating for future generations, should we choose apathy.
If you’re an old-school Architects fan, check out Discourse Is Dead and Black Lungs. If you’re looking for new additions to your gym/hype/mosh/break things playlist, see Impermanence, Animals, Libertine, and Goliath. If you want to tread on new ground, try out Giving Blood, Dead Butterflies, An Ordinary Extinction, Meteor, and Little Wonder. If you want your socks to be knocked clean off by the unexpected, look no further than Flight Without Feathers, Demi God, and Dying Is Absolutely Safe. At the risk of sounding like a cliché, this album has a little something for everybody, and is likely a good “gateway album” for people new to the metal genre. Do yourself a favor and listen from front to back to 1) experience this journey the way it was created, and 2) to form a full opinion before your final judgment. Way too much work was put into this 58-minute masterpiece to go unappreciated by long-time fans or unheard by newcomers.
I knew Architects were going to try and push themselves forward, and this is a logical step. It’s still heavy, plenty of groove, all in all some really good songs. My main criticism is Sam’s vocals. He’s no doubt the best metalcore vocalist around right now. His voice is insanely strong and his range seems to have no end. With this record it really feels like he took his foot off the gas a bit. The music could’ve been exactly when same, but if his vocalist were just a little more aggressive (not necessarily screaming), I think the record would be stronger. Also, you have Josh Middleton in this band now. The shred factor should be higher. Overall though, solid record.