Architects - Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Believe it or not but the people we watch on our movie screens, TV screens and stages across the entertainment industry are actually human. Call them what you will...iconic...hero...rock star, what everyone is is actually one thing, human. People that have emotions like you and I, people who hurt, who love, who can have off days. Brighton metal band Architects have been at the top of their game for the last year but heartache and grief followed them around with the untimely death of creative powerhouse Tom Searle. Not knowing where to turn or what to do next the band put their creative energies into fulfilling and continuing Tom's vision which resulted in 2018's album Holy Hell and continue to tour the world in his honor. The world is all a stage and the arena's are calling Architects name.
First up on tonight's bill are Australian mob Polaris who immediately get the crowd planted in the palm of their hand with an arm swaying one, two opener of 'The Remedy' and 'Casualty'. Frontman Jamie Hails pumps the crowd up through their short, sharp set, defying their Metalcore roots by slowing things down half way through with as close to a ballad as they are going to get with the creeping dread of 'From Dusk to Day'. Hails feels like the type of frontman who lives what he sings about, someone who's music beats within him. Polaris have just got themselves a new fan.
Beartooth feel like the type of band who have been around for ages, but in reality haven't been around for half as long as you think. Towering frontman Caleb Shomo is not only an adaptive songwriter but also a looming presence in this band and on this stage. Pirouetting around the stage swinging the microphone stand like a crutch Shomo gives it his all with tracks taken from across his bands three album output. 'Bad Listener' is a particular highlight, especially at this volume with its crowd participating "I'm not deaf/I'm just a real bad listener" lyric echoing around the Motorpoint. A drum solo halfway through could quite easily be dropped though. It's a bit puzzling and an anomaly for a support slot, when they headline here one day, we can endure it but with a back catalogue of bangers it would be good to hear a song rather than this.
What can be said about Architects that hasn't been said before. Tonight's headline set is quite frankly a triumph of gargantuan proportions. After giving us a taste of what's to come with a packed Alexandra Palace set last year, their stage show tonight is a sight to behold. Opening with lead track from Holy Hell 'Death Is Not Defeat' is a statement like no other and sets the mood for tonight's gig. One of reflection, one of emotional introspection but one in which each and every one of the 5,000 crowd feel like they are surrounded by family.
It's shows how loved Holy Hell is by the band and the crowd as a whole as eight of the albums 11 tracks are played from it, with 'Modern Misery' next via All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us opener 'Nihilist'. What's also immeadiately apparent is that Architects aren't resting on their laurels but actively upping the production value of their stage. The visuals played out behind drummer Dan Searle's head are akin to anything the mighty Tool can produce. Human outlines chase animals over glacial landscapes and in the one moment where the past is brought up, the band salute their much missed guitarist with a 'T//S' surrounded by a heart. The band clapping and the crowd making as much noise shows he is missed but his presence is still felt on that stage.
Other production elements like CO2 cannons and pyro conclude with a one, two cannon shot of 'Gone With The Wind' with its melodic lyric "A sickness with no remedy, except the one in inside of me" is sung with the fragility it deserves by lead singer Same Carter and 'Doomsday' bringing the gig to a crushing end. A triumph for a band who Carter says have "had a weird few years" but seem to have come out the other end, stronger and more determined to bring their songs the masses. Headlining Download Festival is surely a few years away.