“Their refusal to compromise or cater to mainstream tastes makes for a live set that is just as punishing and uncompromising as their studio output.”
Architects’ 2016 tour, in support of their album All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us, is their biggest endeavour yet- seeing headlining venues that would’ve been inconceivable even as little as three years ago. The fact that vocalist Sam Carter and co. have acquired this much of a following while still playing such resolutely uncompromising music is truly a testament to just how talented they are as a band. As I’m sure anyone with a cursory understanding of the band’s music would assume, their refusal to compromise or cater to mainstream tastes in the way some other bands have makes for a live set that is just as punishing and uncompromising as their studio output. So for anyone with an interest in metalcore, this show was quite frankly a must-see, especially when taking into account the rest of the bill.
First up, and playing to a venue that was almost criminally under-filled at this point, were Orange County melodic hard-core stalwarts Stick To Your Guns, who brought those fortunate enough to arrive early a blistering half-hour of pounding hard-core that was far more intense than their comparatively melodic studio sound. Jesse Barnett’s platitudes and stage banter may have lacked the level of response of Bury Tomorrow, but those who enjoyed the band’s set moshed and got involved with a level of enthusiasm normally reserved for only the heaviest parts of a headline set, not the entirety of a half-hour opening slot.
Next up were a band that could, and indeed has in the past, headline the Institute in their own right. Bury Tomorrow are one of the most heavily supported of the current crop of British metalcore bands, and this was reflected in the energy of the crowd. Hardly anyone in the venue could be seen that wasn’t singing along to at least one song during the band’s set, and the electricity in the room was something the vast majority of headline bands struggle to achieve, the now jam-packed venue in almost constant motion from beginning to end.
But then the moment everyone had been waiting for had arrived, and Architects certainly did not disappoint the capacity crowd. From the moment the curtain fell and the band launched into ‘Nihilist’, the opener of their new album, to the moment they triumphantly exited the stage, Architects’ set was an absolute masterclass in righteous anger. Carter’s screamed polemics on topics from capitalism to the destruction of the ocean were answered right back by a crowd yelling with equal passion. Combined with light effects that wouldn’t have looked out of place at an arena show, their set truly was a sight to behold.
However, the occasion was also a somewhat sombre one, given the recent passing of guitarist and lyricist Tom Searle last August. The stark confrontations of mortality throughout their most recent record were clearly very difficult for the band to play their way through given the circumstances, with vocalist Sam Carter appearing to struggle to get through a lot of conversation with the audience.
However, the resulting raw emotion present in the set and the catharsis of fan favourites from the early catalogue mean that these shows will not be forgotten by anybody who attended, perhaps remembered as some of their best. As a celebration of Tom’s life and a tribute to his memory these shows were truly special, and the immense amount of courage and dedication Architects showed in undertaking this tour is truly commendable.