7 Things We Learned At Architects' Manchester Show

We travelled to Manchester to see Architects demolish a room in the most metal fashion

Photo by Ed Mason

We've been waiting months since the release of Holy Hell to finally see those songs live, and now the time has finally come! We left our safe media bubble of London for Manchester to be down the front on the first night of Architects' UK run, throwing ourselves around like sweaty idiots to some of the greatest metal Britain has produced this decade. But what did we learn from the experience? Well, let us enlighten you...

1. The Holy Hell era is truly upon us

Forget Architects introducing their new album to the live arena simply by ushering in Holy Hell’s singles to their existing set. A whopping eight of Holy Hell’s 11 tracks form the spine of this new set list, with only Damnation, Dying To Heal and - disappointingly - Seventh Circle not making the cut.

2. The pace is relentless

In a packed room reaching temperatures more akin to the Sun than a January night in Manchester, chances to catch your breath are few and far between. Save for the dedication of Downfall to victims of the 2016 Manchester bombing, and band introductions that prefixed the closing Doomsday, onstage chatter is kept to a minimum. It affords the night a frenetic pace, and room for the band to cram in a mammoth 17 songs to their set (if not much of time for anyone to nip to the loo).

3. The production is out of this world

Big rooms require equally big production, and while Architects have ventured into venues far bigger than tonight’s, an explosive blend of lights, video projections and pyro make an otherwise cramped-looking stage feel enormous. CO2 cannons, though, remain the worst thing in live music, capable of smothering the most climatic of breakdowns in one fell ‘whoooosh’. Ban them immediately.

4. The Lost Forever // Lost Together/All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us/Holy Hell hat trick is modern metal gold

One potential nit-picking disappointment in a set of triumphs is the lack of any material from the Hollow Crown days of old (and it’s certainly curious to hear Sam Carter introduce 2012’s These Colours Don’t Run, from the band’s fifth album Daybreaker as “an old song”), but a set that leans almost entirely on the band's three most recent albums certainly asks the question: has there been a better three-album run in modern metal than Lost Forever // Lost Together, All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us and Holy Hell?

5. Sam Carter is British metal’s finest voice

Some vocalists are built for the studio; others for the stage. Few can deliver with such aplomb on both fronts than the man stood in the spotlight tonight. While the growth in Architects’ songwriting in recent years deserves all the praise it gets, the development of Sam Carter’s vocal range, from the deepest guttural lows to controlled, soaring high notes, is an oft-overlooked key factor in the band’s recent ascension.

6. The atmosphere is like no other

The live arena, as both Sam Carter and Dan Searle have explained at length, was vital to the band being able to move forward in the wake of the tragic loss of Tom Searle. It afforded them - and their fans - a space in which to grieve, to pay tribute, to feel sadness and pain and joy and community and togetherness. All of those things hang in the air here, too. Architects shows are a uniquely special event, as a result. Surrounded by perfect strangers, whether screaming the opening lines to Nihilist or wiping away tears during a debut rendition (in part) of Memento Mori, you’ve never felt like so at home with the people around you.

7. Pound for pound, you might just be looking at Britain’s best band, period

And good luck to anyone trying to stand toe to toe with them.

Photo: Ed Mason
Words: Sam Coare

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