Photos by Brandon Long

Words by Sera Jones

It’s always a messy night when Architects are playing in your city, and the brutally heavy UK band’s Holy Hell Tour has been no different. When the band announced their Australian tour in support of their eighth studio release, also called ‘Holy Hell,’ almost every Metalhead in the country got excited. Combining forces with While She Sleeps and Polaris, the excitement of Aussie fans grew and grew, with Architects managing to sell out the Sydney date and earning themselves a second show. With their astounding blend of desperate emotion and music that rips and claws its way out of the speakers, Architects perfectly align the intensity of their music with artful and aggressive live performances. And they just keep getting better. I had the pleasure of attending their show on Thursday in Brisbane, in the newly built Fortitude Music Hall. Not only was I insanely eager to see this insanely good tour, but I was also curious to investigate the new venue.

When I arrived, I was immediately impressed. The Fortitude Music Hall was beautifully designed with a wide standing area, sweeping balcony and bars aplenty, much to the joy of the crowd. When While She Sleeps swept the stage, a bright full LED backdrop lit up behind them, revealing just how state-of-the-art this venue is. While She Sleeps absolutely raged through their set, despite the void left by the departure of their lead singer, Lawrence Taylor. That void was more than filled by SHVPES vocalist Griffin Dickinson. The three songs off their new album ‘So What?’ were received well, with moshpits breaking out throughout the crowd as the band blazed through tracks like Haunt Me and Anti-Social. When the band played the crowd favourite Four Walls, an impressive wall of death formed and hurled into a frenzy of thrashing limbs and heads. While She Sleeps left the stage with regret, and left the crowd wanting more. Their set was over and done too soon, it seemed.

The bars on either side of the standing area filled up with people, and the crowd thickened in preparation for the mighty band from Sydney called Polaris. It was only a brief wait before the band stormed the stage. Jamie Hails, the lead singer, uttered a harsh command before the first riff even began: “Circle pit. Now.”

The crowd was more than happy to oblige, throwing themselves into a churning cyclone of bodies as the band launched into Lucid without another moment’s hesitation. Mayhem ensued for the rest of their set as Polaris smashed through brutal classics including Casualty and Relapse. Jamie Hails was full of a raw and unhinged energy, perfectly befitting the mayhem of the audience before him. The room became aggressively charged as the band played The Remedy, with the moshpits becoming beastly. Polaris put on a fantastic performance that left everyone absolutely shattered, with quite a few people already showing some injured faces.

Nevertheless, we were drunk, sweaty, rowdy, and fucking ready to throw down for Architects.

The wait between bands allowed everyone’s blood to cool, but the odd and humorous choice of songs playing over the speakers kept everyone interested. Everyone took the opportunity to drink more and find their friends after all of the chaos, and soon the venue was packed full with people. It was awesome to see the Fortitude Music Hall at sold-out capacity. Suddenly the LED screen lit up, and a map of Australia, covered in little red hearts filled the screen. We didn’t have to wonder for long, before a man named Richie Hardcore introduced himself to the crowd. He began a no-nonsense speech about domestic violence in Australia, outlining the harrowing details of the statistics in a way that had even the most flippant of people paying attention. He explained that the countless hearts on the map behind him were fatal victims of domestic abuse. By the time Hardcore left the stage, his point had been well received: protect others, and don’t let mates act like rape and abuse is okay. I personally loved the concept of having a speaker like that during a concert. It was a great way to affect change on an already receptive crowd, and it seemed to do exactly that.

Before long, the lights went out. It was time for Architects, and it was about to get rough. The crowd roared and tensed as smoke billowed across the stage and low lighting flickered mysteriously. The ferocious Englishmen stormed the stage with the gravitas of a band who are in their prime. They wasted  no time in galvanising the crowd into barrier-to-sound desk wide moshpit mayhem with the first song off their new album, Death is Not Defeat. From that song onward, the crowd was a furious mess of elbows, fists, feet, hair… and the odd person re-tying  their shoe with a unit of impromptu guards shielding them from the insanity. Crowdsurfers threw themselves in the air and the crowd heaved as the band pounded relentlessly through their set, electrifying the crowd with brutal bangers like Nihilist and the new Holy Hell. Architects threw us an oldie but a goodie with Royal Beggars bringing out some fucking mental pits. When it comes to Metal, Brisbane knows how to fucking MOSH. Gravedigger and Naysayer had everyone moving, while everyone up on the balcony covered back-up vocals, screaming every word back at vocalist Sam Carter.

A Match Made in Heaven was a personal favourite of mine, and I thoroughly enjoyed having a mosh for that one. Before long, Architects left the stage to the sounds of Memento Mori, as well as desperate chants from the crowd, calling the band back for another song.

Of course, the band returned for their encore, but I didn’t expect the song that followed their return. Carter took a moment to remember their fallen guitarist, Tom Searle. He thanked his late bandmate for his time in their lives and his spark that drove the band to great heights, but Carter also reached out to the crowd and dedicated the next song to anyone who had lost someone or who was dealing with grief. I found myself crying alongside many others as the band began to play Gone with the Wind. Having just lost my father to cancer a few weeks ago, I knew the band would take a moment to remember Searle, but Gone with the Wind both took me by surprise and gave me an emotional cathartic release I didn’t know I needed. I know I wasn’t the only one who felt that way as the song ended. Carter showed his love for the fans and his band, thanking everyone for contributing to such a fucking good night, before the band launched into their last song for the night, Doomsday. The moshpits swung into action one last time, as everyone took their last chance to unload their aggression with like-minded folk. The boys in Architects left the stage looking how everyone in the crowd felt: absolutely wrecked. Despite our exhaustion, not a single person left the Fortitude Music Hall without a grin on their face. Holy Hell, Architects, you guys never cease to raise the bar every time you come back to Australia. From the bottom of my heart… Sam Carter, Josh Middleton, Ali Dean and Dan Searle… Thank you. Thank you for continuing to do what you do, despite the odds. We all love you for it.

While She Sleeps