The album’s final track, Memento Mori, which is Latin for ‘Remember you must die’, with symbols such as wilting flowers, skulls and hourglasses being used in art as reminders of the inevitably of death. This eight-minute epic is certainly an update of that tradition, with its references to earth and snow and skin and bone, while pondering the questions we should all consider as we near the end of our lives, whenever that may be (‘Was your life worth dying for?’)
In the years since Tom’s death, we’ve lost a huge number of musical heroes, including Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, Keith Flint, Riley Gale and Eddie Van Halen. Their lives ended before they should have, and while they live on in their art, their examples serve another purpose. When we learn that someone we love and respect has died, we celebrate what they accomplished and the legacy they’ve left behind, which inevitably makes us consider our own lives. Are we honouring the gifts we’ve been given, whatever they are? Are we endeavouring to be the kind, generous people it’s within all of us to be? If we knew our time was to be cut short, what would we do differently?
“To pretend that Tom wasn’t at the heart of everything that the band created would be to show a complete lack of respect to the amazing talent that he was,” Dan wrote in the post announcing Tom’s death. “The band will never be the same and there is simply no denying it.” Just as no person is ever really gone in the hearts and minds of the people that love them; no musician, especially one as prolific as Tom, ceases to inspire.
Dan’s statement continued: “We want to carry on, that is important to say, and we will strive to do so, but we will not release any music unless we truly believe that it is something that Tom would have been proud of. Whether or not we can achieve that is something that we will have to discover in time.” Thankfully, Architects have been able to achieve that. Their next album, 2018’s Holy Hell, not only saw them articulate their grief musically, it posthumously featured the track Doomsday, which Tom had originally intended to be on AOGHAU but ultimately didn’t make the final tracklisting.