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Architects + Rolo Tomassi + Stray From the Path

(6 Apr 2012: The Academy — Dublin, Ireland)

Architects of their own future.

Architects unceremoniously arrived on the hardcore scene with debut Nightmares—a dexterous display of technical ability, damaged by song-writing naïveté; indicative of the band’s youth. It wasn’t until the caustic throat of Sam Carter replaced the original singer on sophomore release Ruin, that the band aroused the attention of the underground.  Ruin was an uncompromising union of polyrhythmic hardcore, the mechanical bite of death metal and adorned with the symmetrical elegance of Seldon Hunt’s artwork. It amounted to an adrenaline shot in the frail heart of the UK extreme music scene, and dripped with the kind of desperation inherent in those yearning to escape the mundane trappings of modern life.


On third full length, Hollow Crown, Architects honed their craft into an ultimate hammer blow as hardcore nose-dived face first into the post-Meshuggah landscape. This album showcased the talent that existed inside Architects’ walls and earned the respect of not only the hardcore community but the metal scene at large. Upon the release of commercially minded The Here and Now, Architects popularity increased at the expense of the respect they had gained over their previous two albums. The cranium-cracking heft was toned down in favour of simplified melodic, post-hardcore riffage and vocals that sacrificed the lacerating power of old in favour of increasingly saccharine choruses. Architects commercial approach on this album is the main reason why they band are playing the Academy tonight and no longer fighting for their life in a basement venue. In this sense, Architects big break for the mainstream has been a success—evident when comparing the sparse crowd who attended previous Architects shows in Dublin to the increased number of young fans in attendance tonight.


First up are Stray from the Path, who do a decent job at getting the crowd moving with their mosh-friendly hardcore jams. Singer Trey York rallies the crowd who happily respond to the New Yorkers’ positivity on songs such as “Make Your Own History” and “Bring It Back to the Streets”, the latter getting the best reaction due to the appearance of Sam Carter on guest vocals.


There is almost no reaction for Rolo Tomassi who confuse and befuddle the crowd with their spastic Blood Brothers inspired progressive hardcore. It seems as if Rolo Tomassi have not found the right crowd to play for; continuously opening for their friend’s bands instead of touring in front of crowds that would appreciate their obstinate sound. Frontwoman Eva Spence has magnetic energy and her riverdance-in-reverse stage moves suit the angularity of the guitars and the jazz-lounge keyboards of songs like “Titanomachia”. Closing with “Party Wounds”—a jarring mix of wounded shrieks, scattered indie rock and blatant disregard for structure which goes straight over the hair-sprayed heads of those still watching.


Architects arrive on a wave of frenzied cheers from the crowd and lure all into a false sense of security with the sung beginning of “Devil’s Island”, off forthcoming album Daybreaker . The floor erupts as the song chaotically lurches forward reminiscent of the heavier material from Hollow Crown, signifying a swift detour from the increasing mainstream sound the band have previously embraced. The fiery expulsions continue on the jagged “Follow the Water” and “Numbers Count for Nothing”, vocalist Sam Carter screaming and bounding across the stage as if an electrical current was attached to his nether regions; while the rest of the band remain static and musically locked in.


The stronger track’s chosen from The Here and Now make for a varied set tonight and take up a new lease of life in a live setting. From the hook-laden “Delete, Rewind” that has the crowd screaming the track name back at volume, to the brooding Thrice-influenced “Red Eyes” and the post-hardcore of “Learn to Live”; satisfying those who miss the now defunct Alexisonfire. Disappointingly, Architects are not brave enough to start re-introducing songs from Ruin into their setlist again. It is as if they are afraid that the fan base they have now acquired could not handle the heartless aggression of songs like “Buried at Sea” and “You’ll Find Safety”. The setlist is affected by their absence but the crowd is oblivious and get busy creating sizeable circle pits to “Dethroned” and “We’re All Alone”, with only the annoying use of dubstep inspired bass drops detracting from the raging breakdowns of these songs.


Sam Carter is the star tonight and he could not be accused of giving a phoned in performance; his love for this music evident from his passionate delivery. On “In Elegance”, impressive newbie “This Colours Don’t Run” and “Day In, Day Out”, he hits all the right notes from blood-flecked screams to soaring clean lines; all whilst in a constant state of motion. On “Hollow Crown” he impressively conveys the sense of homesickness and loss the track demands, as the instrumentation builds around him and ends in a crushing post-rock crescendo. If the band finished the night on this song—no complaints could be made. Architect have one bomb left in their arsenal as they are joined vocally by Trey York to fire off the post-Meshuggah riffage of “Early Grave”, giving the sweat drenched crowd one more opportunity to lose themselves in the track’s cathartic end breakdown.


Anticipation now builds ahead of the release of forthcoming album Daybreaker. From the two new tracks aired tonight, it’s clear that Architects are making a return to a decidedly more destructive sound. It will be interesting to see whether this u-turn will alienate some of the newer fans and anger past fans that see it as a contrived attempt to rejoin the hardcore slip-stream. But for now, judging by the sweaty smiles affixed on fans faces—Architects can do no wrong here in the Emerald Isle tonight.


Setlist:
1.  Devil’s Island
2.  Follow the Water
3.  Numbers Count For Nothing
4.  Delete, Rewind
5.  Red Eyes
6.  Learn to Live
7.  Dethroned
8.  The Blues
9.  We’re All Alone
10.  In Elegance
11.  Day In, Day Out
12.  Stay Young Forever
13.  These Colours Don’t Run
14.  Hollow Crown
15.  Early Grave

Rating:

Dean Brown is a Contributing Editor here at Popmatters, and a staff writer for The Quietus, Terrorizer Magazine and Iron Fist Magazine. Dean can be found on twitter: @reus85


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