Let me start by saying, For Those That Wish to Exist is an album I greatly enjoyed. Along with ERRA and Gojira, this record was one of my most anticipated albums of the year. However, after listening, I was somewhat disappointed. Being a fan of Architects for several years, I’ve grown accustomed to their intensity, which was, unfortunately, lacking on this record. Their previous efforts were embedded with massive riffs hitting with such ferocity and connected beautifully with vocalist Sam Carter’s wistful, thought-provoking screams. That blend of severity drew you into the song. Whether it was the lyrics or the music, your attention was firmly in their grasp.
Unfortunately, the British metalcore outfit pursued a different sound, and I can only describe it as just that…different. The change in style isn’t necessarily bad, but it contrasts with what they have been known for. The band moved into a more pop-metal or mainstream rock approach, similarly to Bring Me The Horizon. The use of synths is more prominent than previous records, as well as the addition of your non-traditional metal band instruments. The most pronounced change on this record is Carter’s increased clean singing. Older albums such as Holy Hell and All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us feature clean vocals, but not to this record’s extent. The dual-layered screams that were prominent in songs such as “Death Is Not Defeat” and “Royal Beggars” were barely used on this record. Those melodic, throat-ripping screams were a huge factor in their success. There are moments of heavy riffage, most notably “Animals” and “An Ordinary Extinction,” but it doesn’t last long. After watching Carter perform live, it amazed me how he never blew out his voice. Perhaps the reduced screams and expanded cleans are a way to preserve his voice?
Despite my criticism and longing for their old sound, I was pleased with the record and think their fans will find it enjoyable as well. Most songs do get your head moving and have a chorus that will easily spark you to sing along. My favorite of the 15-track experiment is “Little Wonder” due to its resemblances with Muse. I also like the steady build-up and drop during the bridge. Not to mention, the chorus is very catchy. Speaking of catchy choruses, “Meteor” and “Goliath” grew on me and tended to linger in my head. Having guest appearances from Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall and Mike Kerr of Royal Blood were great additions and worked really well with the song’s flow.
Overall, the change in sound wasn’t necessarily what I was expecting or wanted, but the album is catchy, pleasant, and has several tracks worth revisiting. Will it hold up when compared to their last three albums? Not at all. However, it’s an exceptional record with a change of pace. Hopefully, the band revisits their acclaimed sound on the next chapter of Architects.
Grab your copy of For Those That Wish to Exist here!