THE FAMINE
"The Architects of Guilt"

(Solid State)

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

RATING: 7.5/10

On "The Architects of Guilt" THE FAMINE plays Christian death metal. If you're finished rolling your eyes and have wiped the smirk off your face, then you're ready for the truth about this one. It is quality modern death metal with chops and poignant songwriting that may even make the most atheistic among you set aside opinions about lyrical content for the sake of enjoying the hell out of all the shred and crush going on here.

Maybe it's the intensity of their faith or just the Texas extreme metal tradition that runs through the members' veins. Whatever it is, "The Architects of Guilt" is almost as memorable as it is relentlessly savage, two qualities that don't coexist enough on modern death metal albums in these days of speed races and technicality contests. Hold on now; nobody is saying that THE FAMINE is the second coming or that a new death metal dawn has arrived. "The Architects of Guilt" is not without some of the latter-half drag that characterizes numerous other bands that share similarities with the likes of THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER. But comparatively speaking, THE FAMINE has written an album that has enough fuel in the tank to reach album's end without leaving the crowd yawning in unison.

All thanks goes to more compositional diversity than is common among DM bands of this ilk, thanks to well done shifts from the predominant shrieking style of vocalist Nick Nowell — which he pulls off quite convincingly — to low-end growls; a slew of crucifying riffs and leads; and dexterous drumming from Mark Garza that isn't clinically precise to the point of sterility. There is even some variety between the slower paced crunch and speeding blasts that give each song a measure of personality. Whether it is the God plod of "To the Teeth" or the thrash-n-groove infused "Ad Mortem" it is obvious that the Texans have paid attention to detail. It seems they've decided that the worth of technicality should be measured for its contribution to the song rather than force fed with no regard for listener enjoyment. As for that earlier reference to intensity, "The Architects of Guilt" is packed with it, as one will hear on the finely crafted and utterly decimating "Turner Classic Diaries" and "Bigger Cages, Longer Chains!"

Well played and well written "The Architects of Guilt" may just renew your faith in modern death metal, even if it does nothing to get you to change your evil ways. The difference with this album is that it may actually appeal to those death metal fans that would otherwise pass on anything resembling THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER or THROUGH THE EYES OF THE DEAD. This album has a little more going for it.

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