Courtesy of Travis Barker’s cultural renaissance and the prominence of artists like Machine Gun Kelly …
Since hitting the scene in the mid 2000’s Architects have worked hard to become one of the leading figures of modern day metal.
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With album number nine, For Those That Wish To Exist being set for release at the end of February, we thought it would be the perfect time to look back at some of the memorable moments in Architects career.
COUNTING THE DAYS:
Formed in 2004 by twin brothers Dan and Tom Searle, Counting The Days, recruited original vocalist Matt Johnson, guitarist Tim Hillier-Brook and Tim Lucas on bass before adopting the name ‘Architects.’
Although many die-hard fans will already be well and truly aware of this one, the groups debut album Nightmares was completed with the ‘Counting The Days’ lineup. With clear influence from groups like The Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge, Nightmares lends to chaotic tech-heavy mathcore rooted time signatures and tempo fluctuations. Even the album cover bears an incredible similarity to Converge’s revered and decade defining album, Jane Doe.
SAM CARTER’S MUSICAL ROOTS:
After being influenced by Travis Barker, Sam Carter started his career as a drummer. Performing around in local bands in the Brighton/Sussex scene, Carter had performed in bands that had earnt support slots from contemporaries Enter Shikari.
It was after Johnson’s departure from Architects, that Carter was recruited for the role of lead vocals. At the time he had been studying percussion at the Brighton Institute Of Modern Music.
He had only been in the group for 6 weeks when they first entered the studio to record Ruin, the group’s second LP. Although Carter had admitted that he felt enormous pressure writing the lyrics in such a short time frame, drummer Dan Searle stated that the lyrical content was much more introspective than their previous lyricist, who had gone on to form Whitemare.
See footage below of one of Sam Carter’s first shows with Architects.
After 2008 saw the release of a split EP with Dead Swans, Architects got signed to Century Media for a three album deal, making them the first British band to sign to Century since Napalm Death in 2004.
Marking a clear stylistic change for the group, Hollow Crown adopted a more melodic approach, with Carter incorporating clean vocals more frequently than he had on Ruin. He also adopted a high-pitch scream as opposed to his lower tones on Ruin.
Hollow Crown, which has since gone on to be ranked in Rock Sounds ‘101 Modern Classics’, also highlighted an experimental aspect that the group would continue to use throughout their career.
Both Searle brothers adopted programming, such as keyboards, synthesizers and drum machines to enhance and build certain moments. Whilst this might be much more common now, especially post the explosion of metalcore, at the time it was relatively unheard of for a metal band to adopt these instruments.
EARLY LYRICAL CONTENT:
Carter has stated that a lot of his early lyrics, in particular on Hollow Crown are written from an introspective account of his everyday life. Some of these songs end up having anecdotes as simple as a breakup or sitting in a car, while songs such as Early Grave, Follow The Water and In Elegance tackle Carter’s increasing dependence on cannabis and him “struggling against his own instincts.”
As Carter reflected in 2018, “I love Hollow Crown because I was a really angry 18 year old that didn’t know how to look after his voice. And that was part of the charm to it.”
THE BATTLE OF ARCHITECTS Vs BMTH:
From the moment Hollow Crown dropped Architects were established as an act to watch. Scoring rave reviews and selling out shows, the fresh faced 18 year olds were on track to spearhead the English scene. But for some reason, the early 2000’s internet forums weren’t having it.
Considering close friends, Bring Me The Horizon had also dropped Suicide Season only months earlier, an album which not only features Sam Carter as a guest vocalist, but also highlighted Oli Sykes donning more of a Carter-esque high-pitched yell instead of his famous gutterals.
So what did the internet do? They started a war.
You liked one or the other, with keyboard warriors going wild about which group was the better of the two. Very few pointed out that the groups were good friends, whilst more decided to hate on Carter for wearing a Dropdead shirt, an obvious sign that he is replicating Sykes’ instead of being sponsored by his clothing line.
Here are some of the best online comments from a decade ago. I don’t think any of these people ever would have expected they both would have become some of the biggest modern day metal groups worldwide.
HELD OPEN AUDITIONS FOR A GUITARIST IN 2013:
That’s right. If you were living in England in 2013 you could have got yourself a spot as the guitarist in Architects. Taking to Facebook to share the post, the group who at the time had released five studio albums and toured the world extensively put out this open invite (below).
Don’t even bother to pretend like you haven’t ever Youtubed ‘Top Ten Bleghs In Metal’, we all have. It’s a badass growl that dominated the early 2000’s metalcore scene and no one loved it more than Sam Carter, who is now seen as one of the driving factors in it becoming such a beloved sound.
It may have become a crowd favourite, but it’s also lead to deep regret for Carter who has publically tweeted, “Honestly I wish I’d never made that stupid noise.”
Outside of that specific trait, Carter’s vocals have been revered as an influencing factor on modern day metal. Although the high-pitched scream had previously been adopted by groups like Norma Jean and Every Time I Die; Carter brought it back, influencing an entire generation of acts such as Polaris, In Hearts Wake, Void of Vision, Invent Animate, Imminence … the list goes on.
Carter even got vocal coaching during the recording of The Here and Now to develop his singing voice.
Much like Carter’s trend-setting vocal styling, Architects riffs have also had an incredible impact on metalcore. Most metal guitarists will commonly use a drop-d tuning as it creates a heavier sound and can allow for easier to play open-note breakdowns. Through constantly playing with tunings and commonly settling in with a C# for a lot of the songs, Tom Searle and following his death, Josh Middleton, not only showcased what they were doing differently, they brought back a level of technicality. Although not as tech-rooted as Nightmares, Searle’s riffs were constantly bounced with the use of gear like Big Sky pedals to draw out sounds. His playing was so influential that there have even been controversies over other acts copying the ‘Doomsday’ riff, you can see his style of playing adopted by the likes of Ryan Siew.
A sentiment even backed by Ronnie Radke (escape The Fate, Falling In Reverse) of all people.
ETHIC AND LEGACY:
If you were part of the Australian gig scene from 2010-2020, you have seen Architects live. In fact, probably at multiple shows, that they weren’t headlining. It was a long time coming before the lads were headlining Unify and shows at Festival Hall. Instead, there was a solid 10 year slog of Architects jumping on any show they possibly could, and every show you’d see more and more comments online saying how good they were.
But it wasn’t just the Amity and Bring Me The Horizon tours that they were endlessly on, with Architects managing to pull off something that not many metalcore acts ever have. They got commercial festival slots.
Playing the likes of Groovin The Moo, Pukklepop, Electric Castle and Provinnsi, not only helped breakthrough the group to fans that were attending the event to see ‘Alt-J’ headline, it helped break through metal as a whole.
Now at the top of the game, Architects are headlining some of the biggest festivals in the world, playing headline shows at Alexandra Palace and getting their songs in Guitar Hero soundtracks. Honestly, it couldn’t be more deserved.
Take a look at this humbling video of Architects in the early days doing their absolute best to rev up a crowd of 20 people. It’s incredible to think they are now playing to hundreds of thousands of adorning punters.