At the beginning of 2010, the Famine, a Texas metal quartet, looked like they were facing lean times. Not only had their vocalist left in January, prompting a line-up change (bassist Nick Nowell assumed the duties, and a bass replacement for him was recruited), but in February, a year before the release date of their second album, their studio burned down with all of their equipment and work to date. How’s that for a sophomore slump and starting from scratch?
Perhaps it is only fitting that the product of such chaos is The Architects of Guilt. With a blistering tempo, it’s a frantic race to the finish. Besides the obvious equipment and personnel changes, the album is an eclectic mix of musical emphasis. “Ad Mortem” sticks out for its end solo, “The Crown and the Holy See” emphasizes tempo changes, keeping you guessing what is next, while “Pyrithion House” is pure power groove. The last track, “To the Teeth”, dials down the speed a notch. The noticeable reduction in speed makes it the only song that can truly be considered slow. The heavy isolated guitar grooves allow you to appreciate the distortion.
However, the same can’t be said for the rest of their tracks. The latest work preserves their debut's drawbacks: too fast, too furious, too frequently. Speed takes precedence over melody, repetition over mixing it up, and while the effort in the shrieking and screaming would make any headbanger proud, the new vocals are certainly not an upgrade and still fall short of the instrumental components. The Famine seem like they’re trying too hard to impress. The Architects of Guilt needs a bit of buildup and anticipation before blasting full-throttle. CONOR MYHRVOLD