Architects – Holy Hell Album Review
For over 10 years, Architects have established themselves as one of the premiere metalcore bands.
Since the band's formation in 2004, they have received praise from a wide range of publications, and continued to build upon their sound as the years went on. However, in 2016, the band lost their founding guitarist, principal songwriter and twin brother to drummer Dan Searle, Tom Searle. Following his death, the band did not do much in the way of recording.
“In those first months after Tom’s death, I didn’t deal with it at all,” Dan Searle said about the passing of his brother. “I’d ignored it and just tried to cope, but I knew that at some point, I had to learn from it.”
That time to learn from it came and, following six months of recording starting in the fall of 2017, Architects are back with their eighth studio album, Holy Hell. Over the course of the album, the band finds themselves learning to deal with the death of such a prominent member to the group while continuing to evolve their sound.
From the start, it is clear that the band is attempting to move on. The opening track, “Death is Not Defeat,” features the band repeatedly saying, “And I will know that death is not defeat,” a clear homage to their lost member. Although he has passed, he is still with them in spirit and in the music they are trying to create; this is something that is a prevalent throughout, as the band repeatedly sings about their loss. The band never truly lets that define the record though, as they still attempt to paint a light at the end of the tunnel. The closing track, “A Wasted Hymn,” features beautiful vocals, and the listener can feel the grief as the band uses their breakdowns in instrumentals to show their emotions. Tom is lost and they feel that in some way his loss is on them, but they know their time is now and they must look to the future and not the past.
This album really shines in when it comes to production. From start to finish, there are brutal breakdowns, with the guitars and the drums seemingly battling one another for the vocal point. Architects also introduce melodic strings and touches of electronic music throughout. The aforementioned “A Wasted Hymn” does this the best, with the strings lingering through the song, but always present behind the rest of the bands instrumentals. The track before, “Doomsday,” also does a good job of showcasing the band’s range. The song can easily shift between the drums and vocals that pierce the listener's soul to a soothing melody.
More than anything though, this is a band that is grieving. Sometimes the best things to come to people come to them during grief. Although not their original intention, Architects and their grief come through loud and clear on this album and it is something the listeners can truly feel. When they express their feelings of loss, it is the same angry, yet depressed feeling everyone feels when you lose someone close to you. This sense of loss carries the album and will carry the band for the rest of their time together.
David Arroyo is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism