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Album Review

Quietly, eh? Not bloody likely! Although quiet passages are certainly part and parcel of Mouth of the Architect's broad musical palette, the Ohio-by-way-of-Seattle post-metal ensemble delays barely two minutes before transforming their third album's opening title track from a sweetly chiming reverie to an absolutely crushing metallic bludgeoning. Fact is, the band has rarely managed to escape the sizeable aesthetic shadow of Isis or Neurosis when dealing in the latter, heavier dimension of their sound, throughout the course of their career (how many metal-gaze acts have?), and instead have staked the bulk of their achievements on stunning atmospheric treatments of the former. Quietly, indeed. Those same strengths and weaknesses are still very much in evidence on this effort, where immediate standouts like "Hate and Heartache" (introduced by a surprisingly politicized spoken sample) and "Rocking Chairs and Shotguns" seduce the ears precisely with their stark, guitar-picked intros or steadily mounting melodic spirals first; their cathartic heavy portions second. It's not that Mouth of the Architect aren't trying new things, mind you. On the album's breathtaking, unsettling centerpiece, "Generation of Ghosts," they enlist Made Out of Babies chanteuse Julie Christmas to coo softly along (none of her harpy-ish screaming is found here), and their song lengths have mostly been shortened from ten-plus to arguably more impactful, seven-or-so minutes ("Guilt and the Like" and "A Beautiful Corpse"), even allowing for brief interludes like "Pine Boxes" (a shimmering piano piece topped with whispered female voices) and "Medicine" (another chiming guitar snippet), in the process. But there's still some work ahead before these changes will help Mouth of the Architect carve an entirely original path all their own; so, for the time being, Quietly is bound to satiate rather than convert hordes of post-metal fans to the band's cause.


Formed: Dayton, OH

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

At the time of their first effort, 2004's Time & Withering, Dayton, OH's Mouth of the Architect featured Jason Watkins (vocals, keyboards, samples), Gregory Lahm (guitar, vocals), Dave Mann (drums), Alex Vernon (guitar, vocals), and Derik Sommer (bass), and followed in the footsteps of Neurosis, Isis, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor in exploring heavy metal's more progressive, trance-inducing reaches. But this lineup splintered shortly thereafter, and Mouth of the Architect almost fell apart completely...
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Quietly, Mouth of the Architect
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