Mouth of the Architect: Quietly

Mouth of the Architect: Quietly (Translation Loss)

Quietly is an interesting choice for the title of Mouth of the Architect‘s new record, considering the band’s reputation for ear-splitting live shows and noisy recordings.

It’s fitting, though; like its contemporaries Isis and Pelican, the band doesn’t just rest on its volume-knob laurels, opting instead for dynamic and intricate songwriting, highlighted with delicate flourishes of feedback, samples, and noise play usually associated with ambient music.

But make no mistake: this may be art metal, but it’s metal all the same. Keyboardist Jason Watkins and guitar player Alex Vernon share vocal duties on “Quietly,” belting out anguished, sludge-style screams over the ethereal waves of sound.

The pair is complemented by the sultry and lithe guest vocals of Made Out Of Babies’ Julie Christmas on “Generation of Ghosts” and “Pine Boxes.” The pairing makes for a stark but soothing juxtaposition of aesthetics.

On the whole, Quietly is a more focused record than Ties That Bind from 2006, though fans of the genre will likely notice the similarities between this new offering and Isis’ 2002 epic, Oceanic. The dense, atmospheric backdrop, the departure from the overwhelming aggression of the band’s previous releases, dueling male/female vocals, and drawn-out song structure seem right out of the Oceanic playbook.

Though Mouth of the Architect doesn’t do anything new on Quietly, it’s important to recognize that Isis has moved beyond the aesthetic it presented on Oceanic. It seems fitting for Mouth of the Architect to pick up the torch.

And for what it’s worth, Isis also spent many years unfairly living in the shadow of Neurosis — it’s only natural that this niche group of artists would draw on similar signifying sounds. With that in mind, Quietly is a huge artistic step forward for a band just beginning to find its voice.

– Oakland L. Childers

Mouth of the Architect:
Translation Loss:

Leave a Comment