Killed By The Architects develops a darkly familiar atmosphere harking back to 90s indie-grunge on his self-titled debut.
Killed by the Architects is the brainchild of Chicago-based solo artist Jamie Berkes, who has really thrown everything into his musical project. His self-titled album builds a dark yet welcoming world of subtle flows, big drums, and fuzzy powerful guitars suddenly put the track on a knife-edge. This is backed up by my emotionally powerful vocals and lyrics of lost youth, regret and existentialism.
I’m a Ghost kicks off the record, giving the listener a taste of the twisting, pulsating mix of indie rock against synthy undertones. With a flow that reminds of Interpol, the heavy, beat-driven drums perfectly suit Berkes’ emotional and versatile vocal performance. The track has an early 90s grunge edge that builds on the ongoing bass riff before being brought alive by fuzzy guitars against dark malice.
In Your Hands follows in a similar vein, this time with a little more playful energy from the outset. The lyrics show off Berkes mentality against the world-building throughout the record, bringing in ideas of wanting to be saved against a regretful nature: ”You can save me from this world, take me to the promised land, I’m ready for this but I don’t know when.”. It’s all heavy stuff but something many will be able to relate to.
As the album moves onwards, we get more hints of what Berkes’ songwriting is capable of, even if it’s consistently wrapped and fleshed out around an early 90s alt-rock sound. Armageddon slows things down against a rhythmically pleasing flow that Smashing Pumpkins would be proud of. It’s a short and sweet track that doesn’t outstay its welcome. One More Time has a unique, doom-laden charm and psychedelic nature that perhaps could have been developed a little more but still has a charm. Change is a delightful indie romp that hits hard in the chrous and will leave you wanting more.
As we get to the deeper cuts, it does feel at times that the album’s penchant for riffy intros could be switched up a little bit more, but this doesn’t take away from the way each track comes alive in an often unique way. Shatter is a wonderfully chaotic track that feeds off Berkes’ emotional sentiments and powers forwards mercilessly – an album highlight for sure. The record ends with What Do I Know?, a Pixies-esque atmosphere that feels raw and ominous in stature.
The debut album from Killed By The Architects is a deeply emotional ride that relies on haunting rhythms, unsettling sounds and a delightfully monotone atmosphere that builds well. The album works best when the tracks suddenly come out of their shell and pounce on the listener with fuzzy guitars, belting vocals, and malice that’s hard not to love. A little more variety could take it to the next level, but there are some lovely gems in there to get lost in.