When it was announced that Architects were going to be headlining Alexandra Palace it was clear this show was going to be unmissable. With everything the band have been through seeing them headline an arena was guaranteed to be a special moment and they did not disappoint.
Despite having to deal with some horrendous sound during the first part of their set, Counterparts (7) get the evening off to a strong start. They initially seem a little taken back by just how big the room is with this easily being the biggest show they’ve ever played but they soon get used to it. Vocalist Brendan Murphy constantly encourages the crowd to get involved a and judging by the pit that never seemed to stop they were happy to oblige. It’s very clear that Counterparts are continuing to grow in the UK and the fans they have are incredibly passionate. They end their set on a high with The Disconnect which sees the first swarm of crowd surfers for the evening.
While She Sleeps (9) waste absolutely no time completely annihilating Alexandra Palace. One of the UK’s finest metal bands of the modern era, While She Sleeps demonstrate just how hungry they are to reach the level of tonight’s headliners. From the opening note of You Are We the band just sound colossal. Fan favourite Seven Hills results in an insane amount of crowd surfers whilst Brainwashed results in a circle pit going around the sound desk and covering most of the venue. Death Toll makes a nice surprise return to the setlist but it really is the material off of You Are We that sounds most at home in a venue this size. If there’s any justice While She Sleeps will really start to step into biggers venues soon. Based on performances like this and the reaction from the crowd there is no reason why it shouldn’t happen.
As brilliant as While She Sleeps were, this show was always going to be about one band. From the very first moments of A Match Made In Heaven it is clear this is going to Architects (10) crowning moment. When it comes to passion there is no one in metal right now who can match Sam Carter. For an hour and a half he leaves everything he has on stage. The entire band sound flawless but it’s Sam who just drives the whole performance. Drawing heavily from All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us Architects seem to really want to keep pushing forward as a band and not rely on nostalgia. A few older songs off Daybreaker make an appearance with Black Blood providing a brilliant deep cut for die hard fans.
Combined with the absolutely incredible stage show Architects brought along, this really was spectacular. From the insane lighting and lasers to all the pyro and fire going off and the huge screen backing them they really did deliver plenty of spectacle to back up all the brilliant songs. For a band that many seemed to write off as having missed their opportunity a few years back, that fact that Architects came back going from strength to strength to really become the shinning beacon at the top of the UK metal scene really is special. And then of course the tragic circumstances with Tom Searle, tonight ends up being a celebration of his work.
Doomsday brings the main set to am emotional close but this is nothing compared to what happens when Dan Searle delivers another heartbreaking speech, many who attended their Brixton show still aren’t over his speech from then. Gone With The End brings the evening to a tearful close but also serves as proof that this is far from the end for Architects. For a band to go through what they have and come through the other side really is something. This really set the bar for live shows in 2018 and it will be near impossible for other bands to match. Whatever the future holds for Architects tonight really was special.
Architects photo credit – Tom Barnes.