The Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff was one big positivity filled room on Thursday night. One date ahead of their return to Alexandra Palace, ARCHITECTS arrived in the Welsh capital on their postponed For Those That Wish To Exist tour. With a stacked 3-band bill and all of their new material that the majority of the audience would be hearing live for the first time, it instantly had a big event feel with Cardiff welcoming back one of the most beloved bands in recent times.
Though ARCHITECTS playing arenas of this size off the back of a number one album in the UK was the real point of celebration, the two support bands also threw their own parties.
MALEVOLENCE were up first and they instantly kicked off the uniting feeling of everyone just being happy to be there in this moment with these special bands. Their claustrophobic and chaotic shows translate brilliantly to arenas because of their ability to get a crowd onside. In this sense, they’re a perfect opening band for an arena slot in the way they instantly make the arena feel smaller than it is. As expected, they brought huge riffs, devastating mosh calls and even some sing-alongs to the table. Whilst they’ve long been one of the best-kept secrets in heavy music, their newer material is finally seeing them get serious recognition. Their 2020 EP release has massively changed the trajectory of the band but their upcoming record Malicious Intent seems to be solidifying that status as well as propelling it forward. A crowd winner in every sense of the word.
Overall Score: 8/10
The momentum shift of going from MALEVOLENCE into SLEEP TOKEN then ARCHITECTS was always going to be an interesting dynamic. Just by walking around the venue, it was clear how much love there was for SLEEP TOKEN in the building. This massively eased the transition into their slower pacing and more atmospheric material. Though they do have a marmite quality to their music, the passion that came across from them and the crowd was enough to get anyone invested even if they weren’t previously. By this point, SLEEP TOKEN are so defined as a band, that whether you like their style or not, it’s very hard to argue that they aren’t amazing at what they do when presented with it in person. They will definitely win fans over on these dates and draw even more love out of existing fans. Once you see SLEEP TOKEN you will not forget them and that lasting impact has been paying dividends for them since their inception. Special mention to the drummer who is not only a great stage presence but really keeps you at the very edge of every momentum shift which is so crucial to their live show.
Overall score: 8/10
Finally, ARCHITECTS were back in Cardiff and this time around, they were playing to a much larger crowd in the Motorpoint. The most instantly noticeable thing was the difference between this show and the last time they played here on the Holy Hell tour. For Those That Wish To Exist was a record that, though largely positive, was the first ARCHITECTS album in a while that wasn’t met with overwhelming adoration. What is undeniable about the record a year on from its release is that it has been absolutely huge for the band. The noise when Sam Carter asked who in the crowd was seeing ARCHITECTS for the first time was unbelievable for a band nine records deep.
Nine of the 15 tracks on For Those That Wish To Exist have found a home in the setlist and each one went down like a lead single. The opening run of Black Lungs, Giving Blood and Impermanence showcases this with each feeling like a home run in the way the crowd lost their collective mind throughout. Of course, there is still a home for irreplaceable tracks like Nihilist and A Match Made In Heaven which even if you’ve already seen them live, will leave you devastated.
The most impressive part of this era of ARCHITECTS is how all of the material fits so well into one set. There is a difference between the newer material and cuts from older albums but they gel so well together because the band’s identity remains stamped on everything they do. The ability to transition from Gravedigger into Little Wonder is why this band have been so beloved for so long. Gravedigger goes off like a certified metal classic that could be played over the speakers before the headliner takes to the stage and Little Wonder is so different to that musically, but gets exactly the same feeling of adoration with a legitimately festival sized sing-along chorus.
This second run of arenas for ARCHITECTS was about solidifying this foothold and they’ve done that and then some. The last four tracks prove this alone. Closing a set with Gone With The Wind, Doomsday, When We Were Young, and Animals is truly deserving of an arena audience, this is just the level they’re at now. Of course, from a performance standpoint, they’re absolutely stellar as their live reputation suggests. Another thing that goes hand in hand with ARCHITECTS is some truly heartfelt and powerful moments in between the songs themselves. The connection between fan and band is truly incredible for ARCHITECTS and all of the newer fans felt welcomed into the family on Thursday night.
As Sam Carter put beautifully after thanking the crowd for the seemingly hundredth time, ARCHITECTS are just getting started. Any doubts over their staying power in arenas, the new material and their future to push past this stage were silenced. They’re here to stay.
Overall score: 9/10
Photos taken by Connor Morris at the Leeds show.