Holy Hell is brimming with passion and emotion. This disc delivers on multiples fronts. The music heavy, gritty and choking with a dark undercurrent. The vocals are throaty and the lyrics are deep.
With Holy Hell, the Architects continue an intriguing trend where metal core bands soften their sound slightly, add some electronic elements overtop lyrics that are smartly written and have depth. On this record, they successfully follow a pattern set by Bring The Me the Horizon and Asking Alexandria with their own flair.
“Doomsday” and “Hereafter” are perfect singles. They set the tone and help define what the album is going to be about. Moreover, they introduce a spiritual twist that permeates the album. Yes, in my opinion, Holy Hell is a spiritual metal core album. Lyrically, the band again tackles weighty issues surrounding religion. I found the album oddly uplifting, as the band attempts to address a common theme: life sucks but I’ll be okay. Of course this concept is a routine target for bands, however, the Architects assault this idea with a refreshing and focused rage.
I don’t think the lyrics of Holy Hell are necessarily imbued with a spiritual tinge. While they talk about religious topics, they don’t invite the listener to praise any given deity. Rather, they inspire self reflection. When they are combined with some of the atmospheric instrumental arrangements and the range of Sam Carters vocals, the lyrics seem to grow a spiritual coating. The result of any reflection depends on the listener. In my experience listening to the record, any contemplation or soul searching brought me to a firmly humanist endpoint.
The religious language of this album should not put anyone off. Strictly reading the lyrics at face value, I got an agnostic vibe, rather than one associated with either atheism or theism. With this in mind, I stand by my description of the album as “spiritual”. This album isn’t a worship disc a church would play, however, the album is radiating with passion and devotion.
Songs Worth Investigating
As with all good albums, Holy Hell runs deep with potential singles and individual tracks that are worth seeking out. Four songs were released before the album dropped: “Doomsday”, “Hereafter”, “Royal Bergers” and “Modern Misery”. These singles are fantastic. Of these, I like “Royal Bergers” the least, but this is due to the fact that the other songs are simply that good.
The closing song, “A Wasted Hymn” stole my attention and kept cycling through my mind at work today. While the lyrics are dripped with a depressing tone, they are not without hope because, as the songs goes; “all is not lost”. Moreover, this song promotes the reflective atmosphere I mentioned above. The lyrics, and the chorus in particular, urge the read to consider their life and the choices they’ve made: “Is this penance for my sins”, the chorus questions.
And to Conclude…
Holy Hell is a wonderful trip, decorated with depressing notes and a dreary, though thought provoking, atmosphere. In the end, this record attempts to drive you away from the edge, because while life may be ripe with pain and unfortunate events, “death is an open door”.