Brighton’s Architects are a band who’ve never shied away from challenging the world around them. Long lauded as some of modern metal’s most progressive-thinking minds, for the past decade, the Sussex-based quintet have pushed boundaries, redefined genres, and never feared having to question themselves in order for their art to leave its mark on this Earth.
“You always want to make the record that isn’t in your CD collection,” smiles humble frontman Sam Carter. “You want to create what isn’t there, to get that out of your head.”
It’s that simple mission statement that has seen Architects settle for nothing over the course of their 10-year career; in return, nothing less than greatness has been expected of them. Since their explosion with 2009’s third album Hollow Crown, they have been marked as a special band. A band of unparalleled technical ability with a vision to match, who could define a generation. Yet it would come to pass that on sixth album Lost Forever // Lost Together, released in March 2014, they would go on to be thought of as even more than that. The uncompromisingly heavy and unapologetically outspoken record marked Architects not only an band, but an one, too, that spoke out against environmental disaster, called out political corruption and held up a mirror to an apathetic population.
It would lead to unreserved acclaim , awards (scooping the Best Album gong at the Kerrang! Magazine Awards in June 2014) and the biggest shows of their lives. And it would prepare Architects for their defining opus, which now, finally, arrives…
October 2015, and the now five members of the band – frontman Carter, bassist Ali Dean, guitarists Adam Christianson and Tom Searle, plus the latter’s twin brother drummer, Dan – boarded a plane bound for Sweden, and a return to Gothenburg’s Studio Fredman: home to the production team Fredrik Nordstrom and Henrik Udd. It was they who would previously helped realize LF/LT, and it was they who would once again be entrusted to help translate the tracks penned by principal songwriter Tom Searle that past summer into a reality. There, they would chew over some of the biggest questions facing mankind (and whether or not they really push that doomsday button…) and over seven grueling weeks, All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us – released this May – would take shape.
“To me, All Our Gods… is about getting to the root of the dysfunctions and disillusionment that cause all of this mess, be it personal or political or environmental,” begins Tom Searle. “It all comes down to the delusion that we need more. We’re all in a constant state of anxiety and jealousy and want and desire. So many of us are unhappy, and don’t know what to do with our lives. I think a lot of the record is about digging into that. Why are we where we are? Why we cant see the wood for the trees? Why don’t we improve on our lives personally or collectively? We get sick, but then we carry on doing the things that made us sick in the first place. We can all see the world is heading for disaster, yet we do nothing to stop it.”
Musically, All Our Gods… is the work of a band “leaving everything we had in the studio”, as Sam Carter explains. It is the heaviest and darkest work to which the band have ever put their name, both on and below its surface. It challenges and progresses a genre long thought to have stagnated, and embraces its inspirations at a time when many rock and metal bands seek to hide them in search of mainstream acceptance.
Yet it is also borne from considered minds filled not by thoughts of being the biggest band in the world, but of making a difference. Architects are, for that reason, a band like few others; they are five young men who stand for something, and who possess an intelligence, awareness and spirit that informs the very fibre of their band. The quintet all practice a vegan lifestyle, tour with a consciousness about their footprint on the world, and who devote time and energies to environmental causes. Members of the band have protested embassies and assisted in beach clean-up operations. In 2014, vocalist Sam was announced as an ambassador for ocean preservation charity Sea Shepherd, while representatives from the charity regularly join the band on tour to communicate directly with fans at shows.
“I’m so, so happy when I meet fans at shows who are wearing Sea Shepherd t-shirts,” Sam beams. “We are lucky enough to be able to stand onstage and have a platform to talk to people every night, and help spread other people’s passion and work. We’ve all been looking away for so long now. The oceans are still being poisoned, but it’s not on the front page. Why aren’t people up in arms about it? We’re killing the planet, and we should be starting now to affect change. We can’t wait any longer.”
“We go to a museum to look at nature now,” sighs Tom Searle (“And I play football on a fake grass pitch that’s been built on top of real grass,” deadpans Sam). “We look at animals with fear; the only ones we’re not scared of are dead on our plate or on a leash. People need to change their lifestyle and their habits for the good of the planet, for the sake of their own conscience.”
“There’s undeniable apathy,” adds Dan Searle, in acknowledgment of the rage that underpins All Our Gods…. “And I understand that, because I feel powerless. There’s too many people looking the other way for the rest of us to feel like there’s ever a chance of a change. But there can be. There will be a boiling point. Human beings will usually mistreat themselves until its too late, and I’m worried people will do the same to each other and the planet. We’re all guilty, we’re all culpable, but generally people don’t want to do anything until it’s too late.”
The worldwide anger and disillusion encapsulated on these 11 tracks wrestles with contemplations of death, god and faith in search of some semblance of hope for a world increasingly consumed by fear, anger and confusion.
“People may ask where the hope is on this new album,” Tom says. “But confronting the darker parts of life is healthy and positive. It’s a healthy thing spiritually, to let go of trying to control everything. The title of the record is actually alluding to the idea that we now live in such a godless, faithless society that it’s not a good thing, because what’s stepped in its place is consumerism and that constant want of more. There’s a part of us missing. No one looks up at the stars any more. We don’t question what makes us happy, or what true happiness is, and how we can find it.”
“If you let yourself go to the darkness, and discuss these things, you do realize how much light there is in life as well,” adds Sam. “Life is a wonderful, incredible thing. And the most beautiful thing of all about life is the wonder and the questions and the discussions.
“We spend so much time arguing about what has happened or what might happen,” the frontman finishes, “that we lose sight of the moment of .”
And it is in that moment that Architects will make a statement that will echo around the world.