A common question I hear before attending a monster night of music is: “Why do all these metalcore tours have to be so ridiculously stacked?” The answer is quite simple: how the bloody else do you expect it to thrive? I beseech you to name a branch on the heavy metal tree more shat upon than the poor redundant baby brothers and sisters of the core hybrids. Survival is paramount in music as a whole and even more so in metal, and thus here we stand with a tour sporting balls the size of warships. This past Tuesday the 21st of May, Montreal’s MTelus filled itself to the gills in adoration for yet another return of the mighty Architects and company in support of their most recent release Holy Hell.
A bill of nonstop international imports with fun accents lay ahead, and fronting this barrage is Sheffield, UK quintet While She Sleeps. Easily seen as the little siblings of the UK based heavy hitters in the metalcore scene, these cats have seen a stylistic ebb and flow with each passing record, from breakneck to softened and slowing trying to find an in-between of the two. While their performance that particular evening was tight and plenty enjoyable for the new era of WSS fan, a common problem amongst the current run of room-filling acts arose in the form of setlist choice. Yes, sound-wise and musicianship-wise these dudes are bringing it, but with a heavy amount of foreshadowing, I’m forced to exclaim my detest for acts that completely disregard previous works. Six songs were played, all of which were from the previous two releases, and that has made me a grumpy pundit. There, I said it. All I fucking ask for is one goddamn tune off of Brainwashed!
What better meat and potatoes could an evening such as this ask for than the true rumble from down under in Thy Art is Murder. Disclaimer; a few days prior to this performance, frontman CJ McMahon was beckoned home for the imminent birth of his child, ergo nixing his ability to skull fuck a room full of raging Montrealers. Former Molotov Solution frontman Nick Arthur stepped in (as was previously arranged when CJ originally left the band in 2015 and since returned) to fill the kangaroo-sized shoes in a mildly muggy fashion. Those who were curious as to how this would work out got their answer, those who deeply missed the presence of CJ (probably just me) were saddened, however, still perfectly content with the utter violence that is Thy Art. Crystal sound quality, however, not to fault the lad, it’s hard to compare the clarity of quality of the two voices between Arthur and McMahon. Though there were similarities I can’t help but feel that the presence and ridiculousness of CJ tie the band together with both sonically and visually. That said, no tune was spared as bangers from “Reign of Darkness” to recently released “Human Target” waged carnage upon our mortal orifices.
The beloved Carrie Fisher once said: “Take your broken heart and make it into art.” If that is not what the unstoppable force of nature that is Brighton, UK’s Architects has done, then I’ll suck my own fucking dick. Through the loss of key composer Tom Searle we see the perseverance of a band absolutely determined to push forward and conquer in Architects. It should very much be noted that this dinky little city of ours was the first to sell out on this tour and done so in an impressive five days (clap fucking clap). I’ll get it out of the way early for those who tire of my ranting, not a single tune was played prior to Daybreaker and fine that might not bother anybody else but excuse me for thinking maybe a little bit of a tip of the hat to where you came from should ALWAYS be an order. Throw me an “Early Grave” or even a deep cut like “Delete, Rewind,” I don’t care just show some kind of a fuck to give about the fact that some dudes have stood and banged with your shit from the days you were children. Curmudgeon beliefs aside, this performance was an entirely new beast for the band. Though the act has been typecast into the common metalcore stereotype of “it all sounds the fucking same,” frontman Sam Carter seems to be bent on breaking this trend with the first bit of heavy diversity we’ve seen in his voice in years. Moments of unsuspecting low-end use came and went like starbursts of “yes fucking please” and paved way for all kinds of possibilities for fresh sounds from these cats.
Holy Hell may possibly the last release we’ll see containing any of Tom’s writing, but it certainly doesn’t make this an act to sleep on for what the future may hold.
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Danny Donovan
*edited by Danielle Kenedy