With having conquered Brisbane the night before, Architects kicked off their first of three sold out shows in Melbourne last night with a consistently killer set, with a little help from Ocean Grove & Gravemind too.
Out of the seven triple j Unearthed winners that were announced as supports for this Architects tour, I was very happy that local deathcore purveyors, Gravemind, were filling tonight’s opening slot. Firstly because I hadn’t seen them live prior to this and secondly because while they aren’t necessarily an original extreme metal band, they do provide some very solid deathcore!
With about a third of St. Kilda’s Prince Bandroom filled up by the time the group’s intro kicked in, and with a short but sweet 20 minute set to follow, Melbourne’s Gravemind provided far heavier, far more brutal tunes than what some punters may have initially expected. Especially with vocalist Dylan Gillies-Parsons (and in full disclose here, he is a good acquaintance of mine) sounding far more demonic and on-point in his vocal delivery than I ever could have imagined.
Even in only having four songs to their tight set, this seriously heavy local outfit also debuted a new song live – ‘Eschaton’ – which sounded absolutely fucking monstrous live! Performing new songs live prior to their official release across online platforms can always be a tricky one, as listeners obviously have no other point of reference or context, but Christ alive, that performance of their more than likely next single has made me extremely excited for what Gravemind will do next. Honestly, you’d be an utter fuckin’ greenhorn to not keep tabs on these guys.
Closing out their solid set with the brutal single, ‘The Death Of Teyolia’ – Gravemind’s best song thus far, by the way – the show’s vibe than shifted from balls-out heavy deathcore to that of the Odd World…
Audience members who were on the ball would’ve noticed that Ocean Grove released their full setlist for this whole tour the week previously, and that’s exactly the game plan they stuck with tonight. Obviously, this set saw the group honing in on the damn fine material from their cracking debut record, ‘The Rhapsody Tapes‘ – easily one of my favourite Australian albums for 2017 – and seeing it live was simply awesome. Armed with the best cuts from that varied, world-beating rhapsody, these Melbourne upstarts brought their fantastic debut album to the stage in all its glory, nailing the performances for the most part and capturing the strong impact and deeply satisfying vibe that that record offered up in droves.
While there was no enigmatic Running Touch present, that didn’t stop songs like ‘Intimate Alien‘, the soon-to-be-music-video-track ‘Stratosphere Love‘, ‘Thunderdome‘, ‘You Know Something We Don’t?‘ (sadly, the only song culled from ‘Black Label‘ featured), and banging set closer ‘Lights On Kind Of Lover‘ from going off! Hell, even a bolstered live performance of the shorter, drum n’ bass “interlude” track ‘From Dalight‘ still went down a treat, and the way they seamlessly flowed from it into ‘These Boys Light Fires‘ was very well done.
Having not personally seen Ocean Grove live since their stint on the Northlane/In Hearts Wake ‘Equinox’ tour last year, this band has come far since that time in terms of their sound, musical quality, set flow, and stage presence (which if I’m being honest, still needs some tighter workings done for it achieve it’s full effect). Yet I’m confident that they’ll continue to improve in every single one of those areas. Their set’s audio was also recorded by triple j – a courtesy that the night’s headliners also received – acting as a nice little follow-up for ‘The Rhapsody Tapes‘ highly deserved triple j feature album spot earlier this year me thinks.
With there no doubt being another headline tour in the works, and with a tasty slot at this year’s Splendour In The Grass, Ocean Grove is indeed going long and far. The sky really is the only limit for OG.
After what was easily Architects‘ biggest, most successful yet also their most emotionally difficult year to date – for reasons we should all be well aware of – there’s been an immense sense of buzz and excitement around the band lately (most so than usual) and that was best exemplified by the fact that this Melbourne show sold out faster than The Offspring post-1999. But, of course, at this point, what do I now say about this band that hasn’t been said before? And what do I say what will definitely be said about the band by many others during this tour’s run?
Because to no one’s surprise, they killed it live! I mean, of course vocalist Sam Carter and co. sounded bloody fantastic; of course the sheer electric energy in the room was livid and was maintained right up until the band departed the stage; of course the sing-alongs and pit calls screamed back at the band from the packed out room were deafening; and of course, the floor section was just abuzz with physical movement throughout most of their set.
This show was, to put it simply, Architects just doing what they do best, in an environment they’re vastly adept in.
Architects have toured Australia many times over the past decade, and to be completely honestly, this show didn’t quite match the pure insanity and the utter moment in time that their 2014 headline show at the Corner Hotel captured and provided so brilliantly – well, not until this show’s very end, at least. But goddamnit was it close, for I can guarantee you that no punter was leaving the Prince Bandroom that night thinking to themselves, “Yeah, Architects are shit live, aye?“.
From the set opening sonic barrage of ‘Nihilist‘, and with Sylosis’s Josh Middleton kindly filling in for the band on lead guitar, Architects ran through a whole host of 2014’s killer ‘Lost Forever/Lost Together‘ and much of last year’s career-defining highlight, ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us‘. And as you can imagine, their stage presence and spot-on performances were consistently firing on all cylinders. ‘Broken Cross‘, ‘These Colours Don’t Run‘, ‘Downfall‘, ‘Gravity‘, ‘ Naysayer‘, ‘Gravedigger‘, and ‘C.A.N.C.E.R.‘ – which since last year has taken a whole new meaning – among other recent bangers, and to reiterate my earlier point, Architects kicked off their three show Melbourne residence in fine form!
However, I think that any of the ‘Hollow Crown‘ diehards and purists in attendance would have left feeling slightly disgruntled, as the material from this set featured only ‘Daybreaker‘ material and onwards. Yep, you read that right, not even ‘Early Grave‘ got a look in. Which was all totally fine with me! For me, ‘Hollow Crown‘ was my first introduction to this band, like many others, but man… it is far from the best work Architects; that award goes to ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us‘, with ‘Lost Forever/Lost Together‘ at a very close second. Also, it has only been within their past three records that this band have seen their biggest album and ticket sales as well as their strongest responses from media and critics (KYS included), so no shit that their current set would then follow suit in the wake of such high praise and solid commercial success.
After hitting the ground running with ‘Nihilist‘ and maintaining that brutal sprint for nearly an hour, all with a truly intense light show behind them, finally came the emotional, sombre moment of the show that we all knew was eventually coming. With a short encore first being detonated with the incendiary single ‘A Match Made In Heaven‘, and with some little banter about his failed wireless mic, Sam Carter then shifts the overall mood of the show from casual and fun to straight serious by discussing and acknowledging the person that’s on everyone’s minds; deceased guitarist, Tom Searle.
“Every song you’ve heard tonight – every riff, every lyric – is all because of Tom” tearily states Carter, adding “The reason we’re all here is because of one man, one man that has changed all of our lives“, which received a wonderfully supportive and defiant roar of cheering from the crowd. There were many lumps in throats during this part of the show, and the ‘thank you’s’ that follow from Carter’s mouth and the sheer humble appreciation from the faces of his four bandmates were all truly genuine. In following such a bittersweet moment and heartfelt mention of their fallen friend, there is only one song that can suitably bookend the band’s shows right now; a song that embodies the thoughts and emotions of Tom’s final years but also Architects’ career over the past 12 months. And that song is ‘Gone With The Wind‘.
Other songs, specifically ‘Broken Cross‘, ‘Gravity‘ and ‘These Colours Don’t Run‘ come close, yes, but it’s within that song’s three minutes and forty-nine seconds that emotions across the stage and throughout the room ran their highest. As the sheer scope of Architects monolithic metalcore sound and what makes it work so fucking well was presented in its full glory. I firmly believe that every band has that “one” song that defines them, and ‘Gone With The Wind‘ is that “one” song for Architects. This was their moment and this was all for Tom and the continual legacy that he’s left behind.
Tom will never be forgotten, not just through the existence of the band’s music but also in part to the remaining members of Architects and the fans he left behind, all of whom are carrying on his name and memory in their hearts, minds and also their ears. Sadly, Tom will be a large talking point for Architects for the foreseeable future, his passing will no doubt impact the themes and message of the music they come to create, and I truly do feel sorry for the band regarding the repeating interview questions that they’ll be asked from here onwards. Yet with such a loyal, passionate and supportive fan base, and with such a gripping repertoire of heavy music to pull from, Architects are in a strong position to face all of the good and the bad head on; all taken in stride of their seemingly unstoppable path towards world domination.
The future is unwritten, maybe, but there is no ceiling to be reached anytime soon, not for these mighty English lads.
Architects have a handful of headline dates left in the country. Most of them are sold out, but hey, here’s the ticket link anyway!
All photo credit here goes to our very good friend, Owen Jones (Digital Beard), and you can check out more of his snaps from the night below.