Hot on the heels of their last album Results that was released at the start of the year, we now already have a brand new full length album from Starchitect. It seems that they’re not interested in waiting too long between releases.
On one hand, Shift is a lot more condensed than its predecessor, as it’s a good 20 minutes shorter; more so if you don’t count the last track, (which is a remix of a song off Results). On the other hand, the album is also a lot more expansive and exploratory, as the average track length is a little longer on Shift and the focus has shifted, (ahem), a tad.
The band’s core post-metal sound is intact, with the songs being both atmospheric and well-thought out, but this time they’ve opted for a more subtle approach in many ways. The band are obviously keen to develop their style, and I like the longer songs which give the music the room to breathe into its self-created space.
The music is involved and complex, differing in light and shade depending on the needs of the particular part of the music. The band use different moods well across these tracks and they’re never afraid to try something a bit progressive or different to keep things lively.
The vocals are as sparse as ever; more so in fact this time around, which, due to the band’s technical and creative chops, is actually a good thing as it allows the music itself to be the star of the show. I remarked on my review of Results that this quality made me think of Starchitect as an instrumental band in some ways, even though they are not. This is even truer on Shift, as vocals don’t actually appear until track 4, and these are more in the form of short-lived low-in-the-mix background screaming than conventional vocals.
The following track does have vocals too, and is called The Death of Her Money, which appears to be named after the band that the guest vocalist on this track is from; post-metallers The Death of Her Money, (now, rather confusingly, renamed to just The Death of Money, apparently, but I digress…). The vocals on this song are very much used as an additional instrument, with soft, low-in-the-mix cleans adding atmosphere and some equally low-in-the-mix screams adding a jagged edge to things.
So, Starchitect return, with an almost instrumental release that shows them further expanding and refining their sound. It’s an enjoyable listen, and one that should hopefully see them gather further acclaim.
Check them out.