LIVE: Architects, Sleep Token, Malevolence @ Alexandra Palace

By Adam Rosario

In February 2018, Architects played their biggest headline show to date at Alexandra Palace, just months after their future as a band was in major doubt. That show restarted their momentum and lit a fire in them that has seen them go from strength to strength. They’re currently on tour promoting their UK Number 1 record ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’ and we were there to capture yet another memorable night – right back at the iconic Ally Pally.

Opening the night are Malevolence from Sheffield, melding brutal riffs with big choruses. They fire up the crowd well, inciting circle pits at the front of the venue, proving to be a shrewd booking.  After a speech about the importance of mental health, they ask for the crowd to “light the venue up like a Drake concert” before the closing salvo of ‘The Other Side’ and ‘Keep Your Distance’ end the set on a high. Malevolence are a band who deserve to be watched closely – they have a bright future ahead.

The main support slot belongs to one of the most talked about bands of the recent past. Sleep Token have captured the imagination of the scene – shrouded in secrecy, all of the members play in cloaks and masks and there’s no wasted speech throughout. For a band to have zero crowd interaction, they sure know how to firmly keep the crowd’s attention. Airing songs from both of their records, they show off almost their complete artistic palette, receiving a huge reaction to their efforts. ‘Alkaline’ fills the room with riffs before ‘The Love You Want’ switches the set up, eliciting a singalong from the crowd. They close on ‘The Offering’ and tonight that offering acted as a strong audition to be headlining rooms this size very soon. 

The main event for the evening however is of course Architects, who are now very seasoned as an arena band. The first time they headlined this venue, it felt like the celebration of one of Britain’s best bands after a horrible event and since that night, they’ve seemingly used that experience to craft songs that are fit for this setting. They launch into ‘Black Lungs’ and the venue collectively becomes one, full of limbs, screams and circle pits. Sam Carter prowls the stage, egging the crowd on while giving one of his trademark vocal performances. Metal singers aren’t given their due for their talents but Carter’s ability to mix his screaming with growls and cleans shows that he’s one of the most talented singers in the world today. 

The set list leans heavily on the last two albums, with ‘Impermance’ seeing Carter give his best Winston McCall impression during the guest verse while the arena-ready ‘Discourse is Dead’ almost takes the roof off. There’s barely time to breathe throughout the middle of the set with ‘Royal Beggars’ inciting more circle pits, just before ‘A Match Made In Heaven’ and ‘Mortal After All’ lay waste. Carter speaks to the crowd, telling them about his joining of the band & the brotherhood they’ve formed. Having lost Tom Searle, a very key member in their history, these speeches are always very poignant, as is the ‘T//S’ emblem that appears after ‘Gone With The Wind’. 

The main set closes with their finest moment in ‘Doomsday’, which marked their first release after Tom’s passing. This song should never leave their set list, always offering the crowd and band a moment of catharsis, indicating how far everyone in the room has come. The encore sees the start of a new era, with latest single ‘when we were young’ being played. Having already gained prime time radio play, the new single is pushing them into the role of leaders of British metal. More bands will be copying this style of song, and that can only be a compliment. 

The enormous ‘Animals’ closes the show and clangs through the venue, towering above everyone in attendance. With that the show comes to an end, as does another chapter on Architects story. Based on the small sample we’ve been given tonight, the future for this band is just getting brighter. Architects are ready to take their rightful place at the top of festival bills worldwide, following on from the success that the likes of Bring Me The Horizon have enjoyed. “Rock is dead” is a phase which has been thrown around more commonly in recent years, but those that believe it are wrong. Rock is alive and metal especially is thriving. Architects are the leaders of this new generation of British metal and no other band comes close.