After what was arguably one of the worst years for metal since it was inundated by an oversaturation of makeup and women’s underwear, I’ve found myself looking forward to a revival in 2011. I’m not about to say that everything that came out in 2010 was total shit, but thanks to deathcore being the new glam, the majority of extreme music releases were exactly that. At any rate, the New Year is here, and The Famine are burning down your blue skies with their new release, The Architects of Guilt.
The Famine hail from Arlington, TX, and their brand of straight-up death metal is a welcome sound indeed. This four piece groove machine formed from the ashes of Embodyment on Solid State Records, a band that I must admit I am unfamiliar with, but have heard much about. I will say that if their music was anything like the subject of this review, then I am very glad that some of their members continue to stay active in the scene. The Architects of Guilt is the second full-length release for the group, and I found it to be very impressive. It shows a band that tries to stand aside from the monotonous breakdown-grind-breakdown formula that many of today’s bands seem to be so fond of. The eleven tracks that comprise the album are an aural assault of punishing, sometimes technical riffs complimented by pulse-pounding beats.
The perfect harmony of guitars and drums grabbed me by the balls from right out of the gate. “The New Hell” proves to be a monster of an opening track, and it effectively ensnares the listener into the wild ride that is The Architects of Guilt. The tasteful variance of the opening riff got my attention right away, the thrashy verse had my juices flowing, and the machine gun chorus gave me the urge to throw things around my living room and drop kick my cat – and I love my cat. It’s undeniably one of the best new death metal songs that I’ve heard in a very long time.
The songs that followed managed to keep things moving along nicely with some discordant chugging accompanied by a spout of odd time signatures, followed by intricate and mildly melodic measures that are capped off with pinch harmonics and a couple of atonal death metal solos. I enjoyed the structuring on the same level that I enjoy Suffocation, just to give you an idea. It wasn’t until “Bigger Cages, Longer Chains!” that I really got the urge to move again, and it pains me to think about what a mosh pit might look like during the beginning of this song. Once the track gets going, you’ll know what I’m talking about – I find it nearly impossible to not bob my head to it as I sit here writing this, reflecting on that particular riff. The last track that truly conveys the same glory I felt in the first song is “A Fragile Peace”, and it’s a damn fine track indeed.
The vocals are worthy of praise for the fact that they fit in with the rest of the package nicely. They alternate between Lindberg-esque shrieks and mid-to-low growls, much like The Black Dahlia Murder. Just like the aforementioned band, I find the screaming to be very nicely done. The lyrics are of the apocalyptic variety, accusing humanity of bringing about its own demise. I feel the theme works well here.
In the end, The Famine have put together an enjoyable, harrowing death metal experience, and they have found a fan in me. I’m not familiar with their past efforts (a problem that I will be rectifying shortly after I finish this review), so I am unable to say how the group has progressed, but I can definitely recommend that fans of the genre put this band on their radar. The Architects of Guilt will be in my rotation for weeks to come. Get into it.
01. The New Hell
02. Ad Mortem
03. We Are The Wolves
04. Turner Classic Diaries
05. Bigger Cages, Longer Chains!
06. The Crown And The Holy See
07. VII The Fraudulent
08. A Pavement Of Good Intentions
09. A Fragile Peace
10. Pyrithion House
11. To The Teeth