A year from yesterday, the music world lost an incredible sound innovator and influence in metalcore. On August 20, 2016, Tom Searle lost his life after a three-year long battle with cancer, leaving behind a remarkable legacy as co-founder and guitarist of Architects (U.K). Tom’s brilliance was fully personified through his music, having written guitar riffs that make absolute chaos sound like a masterpiece. The list goes on. From his early work on songs like Follow The Water (2009), through fan favorite Alpha Omega (2013), up until A Match Made In Heaven (2016), it seemed as if it was impossible for Tom to produce work anything less than riveting. Tom’s impact has been voiced by many working in the genre, recently being honored by Australian metalcore group, Northlane, in the last song of their record Mesmer that released last March. Northlane’s rhythm guitarist Josh Smith took to Twitter to explain the tribute, writing, “About a week after Tom Searle passed @jondeiley called me a told me we had to write a tribute song for him. I wanted to as well #mesmer” (next tweet) “It was an extremely hard thing to do because we wanted it to live up to his stellar talent for songwriting #mesmer“. For the naturally skeptical listener, such as myself, a main characteristic that wins over the personal love and respect for an artist’s work is originality. How is this individual pushing the boundaries of his genre? Does he strike that ‘Wow, I wish I would have thought of that’ factor? Is he doing more with less? These are the questions that can define an artist’s life of work. Tom composed choruses that flowed perfectly with the vocal style of his frontman, rendered a variety of tapping fashions that were unique to Architect’s signature sound, and created a style that could easily be recognized as his own. The impact he had on his community was clear. In the photos on the right, Kerrang! Magazine quotes other musicians in which they touch on the impact Tom had on their lives. Tribute videos from fans flood Tom’s name search on YouTube, and numerous bands around the world have dedicated time out of their shows to recognize the impact he had on their lives. The 2017 Brit Awards commemorated the significant loss, featuring his name next to legends like David Bowie and Prince in their remembrance video. This is perhaps one of the greatest testaments to Tom’s contribution to music as a whole, as it is rare for late musicians in metalcore to be recognized on this scale. Though his absence has left a massive void within the group, Architects lives on to this day. Having just wrapped up the remainder of the U.S – based All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us Tour in March, Architects continues to tour vigorously and are set to rock gigs at the Leeds and Reading Festivals (U.K) later this week. Tom’s passing has been a colossal loss to music and the metal community, however his works of musical genius and flair will forever stick with his admirers. Below are some of Tom’s finest stamps of individuality and prowess that can be heard through guitar composition.
Hailing from Connecticut and growing as a coeval metalcore influence, Currents released their newest and highly anticipated album on June 16th. In The Place I Feel Safest, Currents unravels a chilling story line while throwing listeners into an orchestrated whirlwind of their signature sound diction. Bands who have risen from similar genre backgrounds and subcategories tend to produce common identifiable themes; fictional tales, a cry for change, even political affairs. Since the addition of new vocalist Brian Wille, the east coast natives have adopted a new motif in their craft. As with their 2015 release, Life // Lost, the new record plunges into the intricacy of individual experiences one goes through in the confines of his own mind. Such experiences are triggered in the record-opener, “Apnea”, which throws its following tracks into a spiral of confusion, hatred, and paranoia. After seemingly watching the rape of a woman, or otherwise falling as a victim of some sort, Currents portrays the animosity experienced by he who witnesses “another life left in ruin”. Wielding a string-slapping style similar to that of Architects(U.K), “Apnea” kicks off with a heavily surreal anthem of hatred for those who ruin the lives of others. YOU’LL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN, the first lines of the bit, are initially used to characterize the state of the victimized woman. The opener concludes with the antagonist’s sure damnation to hell where he, then, will never sleep again. The illustrated tragedy leads its following songs to construe its aftermath; a collection of emotional scar tissue, utter desperation to escape unwanted memories, a cultivation of paranoia comparable to insanity, and finally the struggle to resist raising the white flag of submission. “Night Terrors”, “Tremor”, “Delusion”, “Withered”. What could be better narratives for living in wake of a devastating episode? Currents digs deep into the depths of such psychological journeys in these pieces. BURN IT DOWN AND FORGET, wouldn’t that be nice? This is a desire that many find easier said than done within their own minds, and is the struggle that is delineated in “Night Terrors”. Few bands are able to match a symphony of sound wholly with the emotions its lyrics are set to portray. Dripping with enmity at a pace that gives listeners a harsh whiplash, Currents is able to achieve just that through this track. Frustrations with particular memories and even a wrongdoer’s own self-resentment are exemplified not only through lyrics, but in a configuration of breakdowns and pedal punts that sound like a well-coordinated apocalypse.
A struggle to take back one’s own life is impending, as the album’s combatant is being eaten alive by a fashion of PTSD. As with any individual experiencing something so calamitous, a breaking point is imminent. There comes a point at a cross-roads, where one has a choice. Do I quit? Or do I attack the chance of making things better even though I think I will fail? Currents vivifies this concept in “Withered” in many different ways. Guitars have been a main presence throughout this record, but haven’t spoken so effectively than through this track. Composing a tone relatable to old school Suicide Silence with an interesting twist, Brown and Wiseman curate licks that would give justification for a notice reading “WARNING: Album May Lead To Breaking Your Own Sh*t” slapped right on the cover. THE ANSWERS RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME BUT OLD ME WON’T LET GO OF ME; bold lyrics matched with boundary-pushing guitar composition in “Withered” is a self-defining achievement for Currents, speaking to their unique identity in metalcore as well as their comprehensive talent.
Telling a story, painting a picture, and sending a specific message are all traits that tend to be neglected and seldom appreciated in many categories of music. Currents has found a means to define themselves through such facets and evolve their own sound, using previous albums as relevant stepping stones. I’M STEPPING BACK FROM WHAT I KNOW IS THE TRUTH; the group dives into the peak of being thoroughly swallowed by fear, doubt, and the desire to run away from it all in “Dreamer”. The remainder of the record speaks to issues that plague the lives of those who grow up in unfavorable conditions, as well as the current condition of our planet. In this sense, the tail end of The Place I Feel Safest strays from delving further into emotional impacts deriving from “Apnea”, and is much more of a proclamation of views and values held by Currents. This is a shift that not only changes the tonality of the record and the band’s primary approach to song structure, but reveals Wille’s capability to execute melodic choruses while giving guitars wiggle room to bang out some of the record’s heaviest material yet.
YOU MAY BE YOU BUT I’M NOT ME; Currents concludes their innovative contribution to the metal community all too appropriately with “Shattered”, in which Wille attests this message. These lines epitomize the collection of work that is The Place I Feel Safest, assembling the album’s catastrophe of feelings into eight simple words that convey its overall message clearly.
The legacy of a band can be gauged by many things, however the ability to effectively match a message to sound speaks to volumes to its identity and mark on its genre. The Place I Feel Safest is Currents’ mark on their own territory, solidifying the body as a paradox to cookie-cutter groups. They’ve taken a story, construed it into a range of emotions, and translated such emotions into the chaotic clash of instrumental composition that is Currents. Through it, the group has forged a window in which listeners can witness and experience the intricate cataclysm of the mentally disturbed mind.
CZ TOP 3:
1 – Withered
2 – Delusion
3 – Forget Me
Listen to The Place I Feel Safest and watch the “Withered” music video below!