Five years ago, Mental Architects released an album. A year later, they climbed a mountain. On top of that mountain, they wrote and recorded a song which would become the conceptual basis for their next album, Ascend. After nearly three years of writing, they stepped into the studio and live-tracked the album from start to finish and plan on loosing it on the world this month.
Max (drums) tells us that the album is structured like a mountain hike. A driving, upbeat ascent, punctuated by the peak (literally, the song they wrote and recorded on the peak of a mountain), followed by a descent, which is mimicked in the slower, droning nature of the last tracks. Above is a track titled ‘Dyno’, from the “ascent” portion of the album.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that you’ve accidentally clicked on a recording of a practice drill in the first ten seconds of the new track. It opens up with a quickly rolling, regular drum pattern before being intercut by fingertapping guitar. The song is very much an exploration of a motif; a driving, pounding rhythm that glues together a of lower, emotive chords with soaring trips down the fretboard that always seem to return to the same fuzzy tapping riffs.
The raw energy of the live performance shines through, even if, by the band’s own account, it’s the result of a long, arduous process:
Max: “This is definitely the most time we’ve ever spent on working on a record. There was a lot of frustration during that process because we needed to be 100% focused on writing. A few live shows would help us vent out the frustration, but it wouldn’t be enough because we constantly felt that we’re not done. The concept of the record became kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy of internal up’s and down’s that brought out the worst in us as people and hopefully the best of us as musicians. Also the chance to work with Andrew Schneider who has created such great albums with Daughters, Pelican, Unsane & Cult Of Luna really gave us an extra push.”