Photos by Joe Sheridan for Musicology.
Architects’ All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us tour was destined to be a difficult, and emotionally tense set of shows for both band and fans. Founding member and creative mastermind Tom Searle very sadly passed away earlier this year, but the band have held to their touring commitments to perform the music he worked so hard on. Thus, with Bury Tomorrow and Stick To Your Guns in tow, Architects hit Bristol for the penultimate date on the UK leg of the tour.
Stick To Your Guns opened the show with Nobody, a strong choice from their 2015 album Disobedient. They clearly had a respectable presence of fans in the audience, as the pit immediately swelled the floor with bodies flying in all directions. The band paid respects to some of their earlier discography in the set, playing a surprising number of songs from 2012’s Diamond. Tracks like We Still Believe struck a chord, with the band being perfectly able to rely on the crowd for a strong vocal presence.
Frontman Jesse Barnett took the time to discuss current issues, predominantly within America. This is somewhat a staple of a Stick To Your Guns set, as the band strongly believe in their responsibility to use the stage as a platform to open a discourse about global issues. Whilst some members of the audience might not have appreciated this interlude, it didn’t detract from the set as the ideology is very much in line with their musical themes. Nevertheless, when set closer Against Them All kicked in, the room was united once more in the ecstasy of heavy music. [7/10]
Up next were Bury Tomorrow, treading the footsteps of Architects as pariahs of the British metal scene. Their recent album Earthbound provided the majority of their set, though that didn’t stop the boys throwing it back to songs like Lionheart. The floor was packed out for Bury Tomorrow‘s set, a reassuring sight for British metal, and the garnered a strong response from the crowd. The majority of the crowd, whether they were singing along or not, were off of their feet and moving.
The end of Bury Tomorrow‘s set was definitely the stronger half, though that’s no disrespect to the first section. Closing songs 301 and title track Earthbound were huge, and as heavy as you like. If the audience hadn’t been warmed up by Stick To Your Guns, Bury Tomorrow had everyone raring for more. Vocalist Dani Winter-Bates is known for his antipathy towards paid meet and greet packages, and didn’t fail to express that here, along with the band’s desire to meet as many people as possible at every show. Providing a powerful set but keeping it personal, Bury Tomorrow were a great addition to this tour. [8/10]
After Bury Tomorrow‘s set, a black curtain dropped and ‘ALL OUR GODS HAVE ABANDONED US’ was emblazoned upon it from a projector, greeted by a cheer from the eagerly awaiting crowd. This meant, of course, that Architects‘ set began with a curtain-drop into the blisteringly heavy Nihlist. It’s what everything had been waiting for, and it was more than clear that Architects are on top, top form. Nihlist followed into Deathwish, the second track from their recent album. Both were performed as if the band had been playing them for years, and the stage show accompanying the set was impressive.
With spotlights flying and CO2 cannons firing, Architects kept their set intense throughout, and in Sam Carter’s screams it is impossible not to hear the pain and anger the band are still experiencing from the loss of Tom Searle. It’s undeniable, however, that the band are putting on performances that pay him the respect he deserves. Architects largely played songs from their recent two albums, but they didn’t miss out the monolithic These Colours Don’t Run with it’s insurmountable breakdown. Hollow Crown also gave it’s fair share, with long time fans screaming back to Early Grave and Follow The Water.
After playing the brutal Naysayer, Architects left the stage… But not for long. With time to kill and some monstrous tracks still to play, the band were back. Launching into premiere album single A Match Made In Heaven which received a massive response from the crowd, pounding out every word. Following this, however, Carter called for silence. It is very rare for any band to have such command as to completely silence a venue, especially one so large as Bristol’s O2. The huge respect the fans have for Tom Searle was evident here, as Carter delivered a difficult, emotionally laden speech about their late band member. Describing Tom as the mastermind of Architects, Carter reminded fans “Every lyric you hear tonight, every riff, was written by Tom.” Some fans stood in stoic silence, fists raised, others understandably shedding a tear. Throughout the room, remembrance reigned.
With this, Carter introduced the final song – Gone With The Wind. Without playing the expansive Memento Mori, this is the most poignant ode to Searle the band are capable of, though he reminded fans that henceforth, every song the band will ever play is dedicated to the man. Gone With The Wind was met with unprecedented reaction, fuelled by the passion fans felt following Carter’s speech. It was a painful, yet triumphant end to a gig; part of a tour that can be described in just the same manner. [9/10]