Cut the Architect’s Hand deliver 35 minutes’ worth of noisy, chaotic metalcore on their newest full-length, Thus Always to Tyrants.
Active since 2002, this Virginian trio purvey an eclectic style of metal/hardcore that refuses to stagnate. The band’s sound seems to draw influence and embody the best aspects of metallic hardcore/metalcore from the past 20 years or so, while throwing in elements of thrash and sludge to keep things interesting. This results in volatile songs that shift from one style to the next without warning, aided by solid songwriting chops to keep these frantic transitions smooth. With each release the band continue to evolve, incorporate new styles into their mix, and in the process become more vicious. As it currently stands, Thus Always to Tyrants sits at the apex of this evolution.
The record begins by channeling dissonant, angular metalcore on “Draw Your Sword Throw Away the Scabbard”; a two-minute barrage of noisy, disfigured riffs and off-kilter breakdowns. These feverish assaults of atonal guitar seizures and unorthodox grooves can be found peppered throughout the record, more so in tracks like “A Cane in Every Room”, but is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this record. “Draw Your Sword…” then bleeds into “Alone Or Otherwise I Go With Virginia”; a unique punch-in-the-face that weaves stoner metal sensibilities with stampeding crossover. With these two tracks, it becomes apparent Cut the Architect’s Hand refuse to stick to one formula.
The band continue to switch things up as the album progresses. Track such as “Tried By War, Decided By Victory” are rife with melodic metalcore stylings that are characterized by spiraling licks and blistering, emotive riffs. “Surrounded by Ghosts” and “No One Kills Me and Lives to Tell About It” unleash lumbering stoner and sludge metal marches that are displaced by sudden, jarring rhythmic shifts and the occasional hardcore attack. Then there are cuts like the multifaceted “Die a Thousand Deaths” that attempt to combine the stomping sludge, the bursts of chaotic hardcore, and the barn burning thrash into one.
Though the record gets major props for its unique, ever-changing sound and musicianship, its production is definitely a drawback. While music of this caliber isn’t in need of super polished production, the fairly raw sound that Thus Always to Tyrants possesses does have its limitations. There are various areas across the record in which certain intricacies in the instrumentation get lost in the murk, get overpowered by other instruments in the mix, or simply sound flat. It’s not so glaring that it makes the record less enjoyable, but it does make certain areas of the record lose their flair.
Cut the Architect’s Hand have been carving out a singular niche for themselves within the hardcore and metal scenes for quite some time now, and continue to do so on Thus Always to Tyrants.
Release Date: March 23, 2018
Label: Aunt Mary Records
Favorite Tracks: “Draw Your Sword Throw Away the Scabbard”, “A Cane in Every Room”, “Drink From Bloody Streams” and “Mystify, Mislead, and Surprise”
For Fans Of: Coalesce, Nora and Keelhaul