Hollow Crown, the third release from UK metalcore band Architects, is a confusing album. The band plays a fairly complex blend of metalcore and math metal, occasionally verging into screamo/emo territory. In fact, they do the latter more on Hollow Crown than on any of their previous releases. When Sam Carter stops the screaming and starts the singing, it's immediately annoying and usually seems to come out of nowhere.
It's possible the success of labelmates Alexisonfire's trademark formula has prompted Architects to attempt it themselves, but they should probably just stick with what they're good at. The strange thing is that they are a decent metalcore band; they're all talented musicians and it shows. The good parts of the songs are reminiscent of Dillinger Escape Plan or Throwdown. They use stop-start guitars to great effect, but unfortunately don't have the groove of bands like Throwdown, and instead rely on angularity and technical proficiency. When it does hit, like it does on "One of These Days" and "Left With a Last Minute," it hits pretty hard. Still, like their previous two albums, Hollow Crown is pretty much a middle-of-the-road metalcore album, albeit one with strange lapses into ill-advised and overproduced attempts at singing.