Architects: Holy Hell vs For Those That Wish To Exist

British metalcore group Architects released their new album For Those That Wish To Exist on Friday, and with nine albums to their name now could be considered veterans of the scene. Holy and Hell and For Those That Wish To Exist are the band’s two most recent albums and the two Architects albums I’m probably most familiar with. They’re also the only Architects albums to have been released following the tragic death of founding member and lead guitarist and songwriter Tom Searle, and it’s interesting to see not only the difference between the two albums but the direction the band have decided to go down in recent years. Comparison is not always a healthy thing to do, but in this context it can be quite fun. Check out my comparison of Holy Hell and For Those That Wish To Exist below:

Singles

I would like to start off by saying the singles on both albums are really strong. It’s a bit of a cop-out to say that and it would be even more of a cop-out to score this round as a tie…that being said, scoring this as a tie wasn’t even a consideration. Holy Hell’s singles – Doomsday, Royal Beggars, Hereafter, Modern Misery – are actually some of the strongest songs in Architects’ whole discography. Exist’s singles on the other hand give a taste of the softer side of the album, but alongside songs like Doomsday and Hereafter they feel a bit like Holy Hell b-sides. Holy Hell wins Round 1.

Winner: Holy Hell

Opening Track

At 15 songs long I’m not all that surprised the opening track of For Those That Wish To Exist is just an ‘intro’ to the album. It’s perhaps a bit unfair to compare a short prelude to a a full-length song, but nevertheless ‘Do You Dream of Armageddon?’ doesn’t really do it for me, despite its dramatic, atmospheric sound and the fact it leads quite nicely into ‘Black Lungs’. Death Is Not Defeat, however, is a hard-hitting headbanger and actually one of my favourite songs from Holy Hell. Another win for Holy Hell in Round 2.

Winner: Holy Hell

Closing Track

The closing tracks round for these two albums is an interesting and perhaps difficult one…both A Wasted Hymn, from Holy Hell, and Dying Is Absolutely Safe, from For Those That Wish To Exist, are both ballads and in my opinion contenders for the weakest songs on their respective albums. For the purpose of this article though, I would have to say Dying Is Absolutely Safe takes the edge for me. It’s an acoustic-heavy track with a deep message and the pensive vibe feels like an appropriate way to close a mammoth album.

Winner: For Those That Wish To Exist

Other Top Tracks

For Those That Wish To Exist has a slight advantage in this round, given the number of ‘other tracks’ I have to choose from compared to the remainder of Holy Hell (when you take away the opening and closing tracks and the singles)…however, despite having very strong singles, Holy Hell certainly does not rely on them and is a consistently amazing album from start to finish. The riffs in Mortal After All and the title track, just as an example, are outstanding. I actually really like For Those That Wish To Exist too – it’s interesting to see a different side to the band on tracks like Flight Without Feathers, and there are some cool features from Simon Neil, Mike Kerr and Winston McCall, but overall this album doesn’t hit nearly as hard as Holy Hell.

Winner: Holy Hell

Artwork

To finish off the article we end on one of the lighter-touch rounds…artwork. I still stand by the view that imagery, artwork and overall marketing strategy for an album, project or artist can have a great impact, and while neither of the two albums being compared in this article have particularly outstanding album covers…there is one clear winner in my eyes – For Those That Wish To Exist. I haven’t read up about the meaning of the cover/artwork, and I’m sure there is a story behind it – particularly the fact there’s an astronaut standing in the middle of a church – but breaking it down to the fundamental question of ‘which cover looks coolest’ I’d have to go for For Those That Wish To Exist.

Winner: For Those That Wish To Exist


There we have it…3-2 to Holy Hell! The scoring was certainly close, but for me Holy Hell is the clear winner and was the clear winner after listening to both albums side by side from start to finish. I certainly regret not putting Holy Hell in my top 5 albums of 2018 and strongly believe it will one day be a classic. For Those That Wish To Exist is still a great album, and I hope the softer direction pays off for the band, but at the end of the day Holy Hell is the winner for me!


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