Speculation has been floating around for months as to what direction Architects would take on their fourth album. Their first two releases showed promise, but Hollow Crown was their cathartic, abrasive powerhouse, solidifying their status in the UK's hardcore scene. Architects were truly a force to be reckoned with.
That being said, it's all the more surprising that the Brighton quintet have decided to play it safe on The Here And Now, and not by sticking to the same formula but dramatically changing it. The guitars are cleaner and succumb to a lot more noodling rather than the deep chugging of their previous works. The vocals are mostly sung rather than screamed in larynx shredding fashion.
This drastic change from piercing metalcore to cleaner pastures doesn't necessarily make The Here And Now a bad album, but it's major pitfall is making it difficult to distinguish Architects from the crowd of generic post-hardcore that already resides in a scene that they used to stand out in. Around three tracks pass on The Here And Now before one song emerges that sounds remotely like Architects, and the softer, muted songs on the album in An Open Letter To Myself and Heartburn are simply baffling coming from the same band that released Hollow Crown not two years before.
I'm trying my very best not to nitpick here, the album's first single Day In Day Out is probably the best display of Architect's new sound, managing to be both visceral and melodic at the same time, as does BTN. Delete, Rewind is refreshing as a return to Architects gut-punching old sound and album closer, Year In Year Out is a satisfying mix of old and new.
As good as The Here And Now's best moments are, it's weaker moments crop up more often than not. These weaker moments blend together to make album unfortunately generic and forgettable. I'm sure there are people that will disagree with me upon reading this review, but The Here and Now will surely divide Architects fans. The Here And Now may be a disappointing Architects album, but on the plus side, it does sound like a pretty good Alexisonfire album